Teens rally for D.C. gun protest

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Washington is preparing for a massive rally in support of gun control, one that organizers hope will prove that the country has reached an emotional tipping point on gun violence, with teenagers seizing the initiative and leading the demand for change.

The nation’s capital is generally nonchalant about protests, but Saturday’s gathering has prompted more attention and speculation than usual.

Estimates on crowd size are notoriously unreliable but organizers are hoping to draw 500,000 protesters; that would match last year’s women’s march and make this one of the largest Washington protests since the Vietnam era.

“I look at the younger kids and the future generations and I never want them to go through what we went through or see what we saw,” said 15-year old Kayla Renert, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed on Feb. 14.

“We keep saying, ‘Oh this is going to be the last time.’ But there’s already been another time,” Renert said.

Many of the protesters spoke pointedly about how their parents and others of their generation had failed to bring about the changes they are demanding. They present the youth-led nature of the current movement as proof that they will succeed where their predecessors had failed.

“I’m here because previous generations couldn’t do what we’re doing right now,” said Charlie Shebes, 16, another student from the high school. “I want to see safer schools. I want to see changes in gun laws.”