March for your lives, but be ready to save your own

'March For Our Lives' in O'Fallon

Hundreds turned out Saturday for a "March For Our Lives" gun control rally in O'Fallon.
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Hundreds turned out Saturday for a "March For Our Lives" gun control rally in O'Fallon.

Grandma Mosby was chopping at the stump in her garden. Every few moments there was another "thwack."

Somehow Julian heard the noise through the mayhem on his Xbox. He got off the couch and went outside to investigate.

"Here, Granny. Let me do that for you," he said and started vigorously chopping. The wood chips flew, but he soon became winded and overheated. "I don't think this can be removed. Its roots are too deep," he said, as he went back inside.

Grandma Mosby resumed slowly swinging the ax.

The March for our Lives protests nationally and right here in St. Louis and O'Fallon, Illinois, were encouraging as we saw the political awakening of a new generation wanting an end to gun violence and school shootings. They may be active at the right moment of history, with nearly seven in 10 agreeing in an AP poll that background checks, mental health and weapon capabilities need legislative attention.

But the weekend events created both cause for hope and cause for concern.

The hope came from the teens linking their protests to a voter registration drive. They are realizing that political power starts at the ballot box, with Millennial and Gen X voters in 2016 for the first time turning out in greater numbers than the Boomers or Greatest Generation.

The concern came from the social media firestorm after former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum dared suggest that the teens look to themselves rather than to others for solutions.

"How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that," Santorum said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Seems pretty close to what another politician said a few years back: "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."

Youthful energy is a great thing, but most of our intractable problems have been solved with self-reliance and persistence. Combine those three, and you've really got something.