Writing about school massacres feels useless; legislators posture that putting money into arming teachers and militia to protect schools is the answer.

The adults we’ve elected, at least those relying on NRA funding, are not willing to take the organization on in any meaningful way, nor are they willing to arm schools with better-equipped guidance counselors to take on the guts of the problem.

Instead, they get on their bully pulpit telling Americans how they stand next to those parents whose children have fallen, pledging to “fix it” by adding more guns, not fewer, to prove that “might equals right” when it comes to protecting citizens.

I join the kids in saying "Enough."


My view about millennials, and the generation that follows, is changing. I saw them as “soft” and berated them as a “me generation” hooked on participation awards, raised by helicopter parents, needing praise for mediocre achievements like “showing up.”

The movement of young people after the Parkland shooting was impressive and the writings in these papers from young Pearl Benjamin, a 10th-grade student from Camden Hills Regional High, proves me wrong; there is substance in today’s youth. Last week, Pearl wrote about her farming career, about killing the animals she raises; with clarity she explained how one can go from loving and deeply caring for an animal to leading it to slaughter.

This week, I will cede the rest of this column to a proud parent and former colleague, Ken McGovern, of Farmington, Conn., who wrote in his business newsletter a piece called “Who Says Millennials Have No Character.”

Dear Reade,

My family just returned from Vietnam and Cambodia; this was my first trip to Southeast Asia. Each trip to a foreign country possesses remarkable aspects, but the idea of visiting countries as “foreign” as Vietnam and Cambodia came with excitement and trepidation.

As usual, my family covered lots of ground; our itinerary didn’t leave much time for lounging; each region is vastly different. 

Now for the backstory — “why Southeast Asia.”

Our 24-year-old son has been in Indonesia for 14 months, a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English in a 900-student Islamic school. His journey was prompted after two years working as a congressional staffer in D.C. One day he called his mother and me to inform us he wants nothing to do with Washington politics. Our children can be wise beyond their years. Since he’s been gone, we’ve communicated via video through “What’s App” – thank God for technology, but it was time for face-to-face. 

Before you start having visions of luxurious resort locations in Bali, our son lives in the mountainous region of West Java. Exotic, yes, luxurious, no!. Bathing consists of pouring pots of cold water over your head. My son claims he will never get used to this. Without providing too much detail, there are no flush toilets (there is actually a Peace Corps blog called “Poop in a Hole”). All the more interesting, given the strange cuisine he eats; including chicken heads and cow skin. Yum. Oh, by the way, there is no use of “papier hygienique.” Who says millennials are soft!  

While in Vietnam and Cambodia, we ate what most would describe as exotic foods, certainly compared to American diets. My son disagreed, claiming the food was far more mainstream than his daily diet. Come to think of it, he was the only one who did not suffer intestinal distress on our trip. I told you it was an adventure!

My wife and I are not quite sure where our son’s two-plus-year stint in the Peace Corps will lead. We have been assured this is not an attempt to postpone entry into “real-life.” In fact, we are convinced this experience fosters personal growth, as well as being a resume builder, especially for someone aspiring to work in foreign relations. It was great seeing him, and to say we are proud parents is an understatement. I have a newfound respect for him, and his entire generation. Many are fearless and embrace life. They want to be part of the process. Perhaps that’s why he thought Washington was a good place, but discovered he was better served at ground zero, helping people, not writing policy. So, do Millennials have character – you bet. Am I worried about this generation being “in charge”? Absolutely not. My son is not only surviving in a third world country, he is thriving. There’s something to be said for real-life experience, the stuff you never learn in college. All the best, Ken

“When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in yourself then there was before.”

— Clifton Fadiman, editor and critic (1904-1999)


Disclosure: Reade Brower is owner of these newspapers. The opinions expressed in his columns are his own, and do not represent those of the newspapers, or their editorial boards.