Youths Have Every Business Using Their First Amendment Rights


This letter in regards to a column written in the Cody Enterprise.


Dear Mr. Meinecke,

You say my generation doesn’t deserve to lobby for gun control.  You say that we are immature. You say that we have no idea of what we are asking for, that we are running around afraid of pretend threats.  In fact the words you used were “Chicken little people” to describe us. In my lifetime we have had the worst terrorist attack in history. We have had the deadliest mass shooting in American history and the second worst school shooting in American history.  We have had to deal with the fallout of two major wars; we are not inexperienced. We have grown up in the shadow of very real threats, and we know how to differentiate between a legitimate threat and a fake one. So tell me again that we have no idea about what is going on in our world when we have seen the evil and hatred in our world as far back as we can remember.

You list several recent shootings: Parkland, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas. Two of these are school shootings, a fact which you just so happened to neglect.  So tell me again that we, the “youths,” are not being affected by this.

You say that the “children” who survived the Parkland Shooting are simply puppets of the “Socialist Liberals.”  The idea they shouldn’t voice their experiences and opinions simply because they are under 18 is ridiculous. They may be kids, but they went through a horrible ordeal.  It’s not a liberal agenda. It’s a tragedy.

You generalize.  You don’t address a single news organization.  You simply put “News” in quotes; that’s not real evidence.  You say that “everyone has seen pictures of the Parkland shooter.” I haven’t, and many of the people I have asked also haven’t.  In fact I don’t even know his name. However, I do know that he was 19 not “17.” You couldn’t be bothered to research his age, so why would I expect you to put the effort in to see another point of view?

You cite the Georgia legislature for dealing with Delta’s “unconstitutional stand.”  However, Mr. Meineke, the 2nd Amendment says specifically that the government won’t infringe on those rights.  America has changed the Constitution before.  We have undone amendments before. The government has the right and the power to alter an amendment.

If you honestly believe that we can stand up to the American government militarily, you’re fooling yourself. The United States has enough firepower to make us all a fond memory within an afternoon. Simply put, if the government wanted to enslave us, they could, even if we were armed.

Mr. Meinecke, who are the facilitators, “standing quietly and mostly unnoticed in the shadows”? Who are the ones “who paved the path politically and provided the opportunity for mass murder”?  You never say who the facilitators are. Who are they? Can you give me a specific name or organization?

Often times I see people setting aside their partisan agendas in the wake of a tragedy.  I see news organizations doing their jobs, reporting on a tragedy as it develops. Nowhere do I see people advocating for more gun violence.  Is advocating for tighter regulations on guns and trying to bring about change paving the way for more violence?

I enjoy shooting guns, I enjoy seeing a shot fly true.  I don’t enjoy seeing my peers die meaningless, violent deaths.  I don’t think guns should be banned, but there is a very real, very pressing need for stricter legislation.  We aren’t advocating banning guns. We are advocating for CONTROL. If you can prove that you are using and storing your guns safely and responsibly, feel free to own a gun.  But people are dying by the hands of people who have no business owning or handling a firearm. You cannot tell me that there isn’t a problem with that.

You call us “children”, but since when is it okay for children to die knowing that their deaths will mean nothing?  There are people dying in our schools while people like you sit by, complacently, happily clinging to a way of life that is causing deaths.

Mr. Meinecke, tell me, do you watch the videos of teenagers eating Tide Pods?  Because, I do not. In fact, nobody I have ever met has watched a video of someone eating a Tide Pod.  Somebody must be watching them or else they wouldn’t do it. So, is it you? You obviously think this is representative of my generation, so you must have done extensive research on this.  Perhaps you found thousands of videos of teenagers as you so eloquently put it “eating Tide pods and licking toilet seats.” I have never seen a single video of this, but I have seen videos of your generation beating and spitting on African-Americans who dared sit at a lunch counter.  So tell me, is this representative of your generation? Make sure your generation is entirely composed of Saints before accusing mine of being composed entirely of idiots. I don’t think that everyone in your generation is evil or idiotic based on the actions of a few, but apparently you don’t return that sentiment.

Now let’s see what you say about activism by students: “I’m not ready to accept lobbying by children.”  Some of the most effective protests in history were organized and led by students. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was one of the most influential groups in the Civil Rights Era.  But you’re right, people under 18 have no place in politics, except in that the laws of today will affect the people of tomorrow. We are the people of tomorrow. We are inheriting trillions of dollars of debt.  Our inheritance is a legacy of violence and intolerance. You have the gall to make laws that will only take effect when we are adults and you are no longer alive to see them. You have the nerve to tell us that we shouldn’t care about the things that affect us.  Do you really want an entirely uninformed generation reaching voting age? Why should someone continue to be informed on a subject when people like you want to make it so that all of that information is useless.

Are you saying that we should voluntarily give up our First Amendment rights so that you can remain comfortable?  No, you’re saying that we should have those rights taken away until we reach the entirely arbitrary age of 18. As far as I know, the First Amendment has no age limit.  It doesn’t magically take effect when you reach adulthood. I, for instance, know of many people under 14 who articulate remarkably well, and I also know of several people over 50 who do not.  Neither of those voices should be silenced, as it would be an affront to the First Amendment, which is the very amendment that allows you to publish the article in which you attack my First Amendment Rights.  However, I guess that the only people whose rights matter are the people who agree with you.

You hold your Second Amendment Rights tightly to your chest. You say that what we are doing is an attack on your Rights. So in response you attack our Rights. That’s the thing about Rights, Mr. Meinecke, everyone has them. You enjoy your First Amendment Rights because all of us do. You are proposing entirely revoking our First Amendment Rights on the grounds that you disagree with us. We are begging that some form of control be exercised on firearms so that we don’t get murdered in our schools.

Never forget Mr. Meinecke, you are responsible for what we have become.  You raised us. You brought us up in a warring society. You brought us up in a country torn apart by partisan agendas and violence.  If you are so dissatisfied with us, look for blame in yourself. We are the product of our upbringing.

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Tell me Mr. Meinecke, where does it say that we are supposed to be shot in our schools without any resistance?  Where does it say that because we are under the age of 18 we are supposed to blindly follow those who have proven that they are incapable of or unwilling to bring about change?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

-First Amendment of the United States Constitution


Luke Campbell

A “Youth”