(The featured image will make sense when you read further down)
I’m going to write a bunch of posts, at least a few a day, with #crowdfunding at the top and prominent, so I can get a smidge more attention.
As it stands, I owe somewhere between $1000 and $1200 (that changes due to late fees and such, so I know it’s somewhere in that range… last I checked) and #AUCTION is April 12th. For screencaps of recent messages from them, scroll all the way down to the end of this post.
On to the other topic of this post: Walk Up versus Walk Out. I’ve seen some reasonably well-meaning people on my friends list encourage Walk Up. I’m more on the side of Walk Out. For those who haven’t been paying attention here’s the breakdown of what they both mean:
Walk Out: School kids and teens getting up at a set time and walking out of classes in protest of a severe lack of gun control in this country (and yes, gun control means control of who owns/buys them and what they should have to do before getting their hands on firearms. But this isn’t the debate at hand, pay attention). This is a mostly silent protest. Much like with Kaepernick and others silently protesting the treatment of POC by police and the government in general (systemic racism at its ugliest. No, it was not about the flag, never was). This protest is about showing peaceful resistance to the powers that be that this shit ain’t cool and they need to step up and fix the problems or step down and let someone who can and will make a difference take that office.
Walk Up: Well meaning to some degree. This is about the more popular or vocal kids approaching and even trying to befriend the loners who may be potential shooters. It’s about “walking up” to them and engaging them. I get it, I do. But I’ll state my reasons for it being flawed in a moment.
As you may be able to tell (granted, I already alluded to this above), I’m all for Walk Out. I’m a pacifist (with ptsd… yeah, that’s fun… NOT!!!). I believe in standing up for what we believe in. To make a stand for change when the establishment isn’t listening to the people. Those of my generation (X, if you were wondering) have stood by far too long. We’ve let the establishment walk all over us and those around us. But we have been afraid to engage and lead. We didn’t really have things like school shootings when I was that age. One of the worst things that happened was a custody battle gone wrong between two parents and the father killed his two children, one who was a classmate, and then himself so that his wife couldn’t get custody. Three lives snuffed out because of jealousy and selfishness. But it wasn’t on campus.
We lived in a bubble. Yeah, we still had loners *raises hand* and the popular kids. But we didn’t have the carnage and anger that we’ve seen the last several years. In 20 years, since Columbine, we’ve seen far too many shootings (add some stabbings in there, but those end up with less deaths) in schools and places of business.
I wholeheartedly support Walk Out. And some of the teens from Parkland are stepping up and making sure their voices are not silenced. Making sure change WILL happen, come hell or high water.
So, now I’m gonna play a little Devil’s Advocate.
I kinda wish more fellow students had Walked Up to me and others back in high school. I felt invisible and unknown. I didn’t want to BE part of the popular crowd. I liked just being ME, but I wanted them to see me. To say hello in the halls. They didn’t have to befriend me or anything, but just an occasional hello or “hey, Amanda” would have gone a long way. Especially those who were also in my church high school group.
The difference between that and Walk Up is that the campaign for Walk Up is going about it for ALL THE WRONG REASONS!! It should never be about “well, if you don’t befriend them, they may shoot up the place.” That’s all about fear. It should never been about fear. It should be about community, not fear.
If this action is based upon a fear that the loner kid may be the next shooter, then the action comes from fake concern, not honesty. And please, no platitudes. Just saying hello.
One caveat: If the loner kid creeps you out and you get a really bad vibe… yeah, maybe not the best idea to Walk Up. But there are loner kids out there just like I was who just don’t do well bursting into the crowd and making friends that easily. Trust me, at school dances, if I could have melted INTO the walls, I would have. I was a geek of all trades… still am.
In my senior year, I went on a ski trip the weekend before Spirit Week. My mother had this notion that I’d outgrown my allergy to down feathers (nope) and sent me off with a down ski jacket, down sleeping bag, and down pillow.
I. WAS. IN. HELL.
I was sick most of Spirit Week. On top of that, that trip was where I slipped on the ice and messed up my back. I was 17. I had costumes planned for all the theme days of Spirit Week. I would have NAILED any contests.
But I was sick.
I was finally well enough on Spirit Day, Friday. A half-day, mind you. I went to Econ and ended up sitting next to one of the cheerleaders. Don’t ask me which one. I don’t remember. She turned around and saw me. Mind you, I was still sniffling and I was in pain from the fall a week before.
“Amanda, where have you been?”
“Huh? Oh, home sick.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. We were really looking forward to your costumes for Spirit Week.”
My visible response wasn’t much, but in my mind, I was freaking out. One of the popular kids knew who I was? Knew my name? Noticed I had been out all week??????? OMG!
It was surreal for me. After all those years walking around campus and knowing people’s shoes better than their faces, at least one of the popular kids knew who I was.
It didn’t change a lot for me, but I did start feeling a bit more confident. I looked at faces.
A lot more shit happened the rest of that school year, but I still made it through. Now, I was never the kid who would have picked up a weapon. I hated myself more than I hated my classmates. I had shitty self-esteem and self-worth. I was more prone to suicidal ideation. But, as you can tell, I’m still here.
If Walking Up to someone is out of genuine friendliness and not based on fear, do it. You may just make that loner’s day. But trust your gut. If they seem a bit off… maybe not.
Walking Out. Do it! And then follow through afterward with letters and phone calls to Congress Critters (hey, it’s gender neutral, shush!). Take action with words. Trust me… words are so much more powerful in the long run. Maybe I’ll talk about that in another post.