For those who are wondering how the teenagers of Parkland, Florida, are managing to make headway on the most divided, entrenched issue in the country, take a look at the teenagers of South Glens Falls.
It’s hard to raise money. Tri-County United Way, which conducts an annual fundraising campaign in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties and partners with businesses so employees can make pledges that get fulfilled through small weekly paycheck deductions, has managed to raise between $800,000 and $900,000 each of the last several years.
The students of South High raised $823,614 last year through the school’s annual marathon dance.
The dance has become such a fundraising behemoth that some adults in the area privately complain it’s hard to raise money for other causes, because the South High teens vacuum up all the spare cash.
But you can’t fault them for the energy, creativity and determination they show in raising money. Good for the students if the region’s established charities have to sweat to match their hustle.
That same sort of determination and passion is what we are seeing now from the young people of Parkland.
For too many years, adults who wanted to do something about gun violence entered the debate that inevitably follows every mass shooting with a fatalistic attitude summed up by the phrase, “Nothing will change.”
But the teens of Parkland believe they are the agents of change, and they have used the aggressiveness and intransigence of the NRA against itself. Good for them.
I support their cause. I want our country to stop allowing its citizens to buy weapons of war.
But I also support their passion in advocating for a cause with intelligence and eloquence. I am heartened by their courage in standing up to the sort of pressure from gun advocates that has weakened the knees of scores of our alleged leaders.
We need new leaders, and this is how we get them, through events that galvanize the illimitable energy of our young people.
With the wonderful, fierce certainty of youth, David Hogg, one of the Parkland surviving teens, said in a recent interview, “We will outlive the NRA.”
Another Parkland teen, Samantha Fuentes, has decided to leave school a few months before graduation to devote her time to speaking and campaigning for school safety and gun control. Fuentes was shot in the leg. Shrapnel that buried itself behind her eye cannot be removed. But she is already up and fighting.
Some of the more horrible human beings in our country have been attacking these teens, peddling the lie that they’re actors or are being coached by their parents or, to top everything, that they are “bullies.”
That is fear talking. They see a challenge to their influence, so they flail about, spewing nonsense.
These young people will not only outlive the NRA, they will outfight and outwit the NRA.
They will outlive all of us who are old and have already done our fighting, and God willing, they will fix some of the problems we decided were too much for us.
Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at