Some Thoughts Without Prayers

Like millions of people, all over the world, I have been in awe of the kids from Parkland. The grace, thoughtfulness and toughness, that they have shown, in the wake of living nightmare, has been truly heroic. It’s remarkable how articulate and brave they’ve been. But I have to say, I’m starting to worry about them a little. Worrying is my nature, but as a parent, I worry that they are taking on too much. And that too much is being asked of them. And as a member, and observer, of society in 2018, I worry about the lure of fame.

These kids are being thrusted, although willingly, into a spotlight that’s brighter than we can imagine. These are good looking and mostly white teens. The camera loves them. They’re articulate, and not just when compared to the President of the United States. But they’re still teens, and having one of my own, I’m aware of how significant social media is in their lives. And these kids are overnight social media sensations. Emma Gonzalez, gave an impassioned speech just four days after the shooting, now has over 300k followers on Twitter. David Hogg, the next Anderson Cooper (there, I found a way to bring my favorite game of “Next” into this FUBAR situation) has over 110k followers on Twitter, and could probably get an on-air job at CNN next week.

These are still just kids, and now they have a platform. And we damn sure should be listening to them. But that’s why I worry. Marketers are well aware that these kids have a lot of influence right now, and it would be disgusting, but probably effective, if they could be used to promote a brand. These kids have are victims of a crime we’ll never be able to understand, but I fear they could also fall victim to the sharks that are sure to be circling them already. And being part of the demographic that they are, they’re the ideal prey.

I also worry that they are vulnerable to falling prey to their own demons. Now they have to go through this awful experience under the watchful eye of a public, that won’t hesitate to ridicule them for being human. And that’s the disgusting behavior that starts these tragedies I motion.