Fear in Texas needs a Millennial response

Here’s a way in which people are using fear to scare people into doing things their way.

You’ve probably heard about the mock mass shooting that gun rights advocates wanted to execute Wednesday at the University of Texas at Austin.  This, from the Austin American-Statesman, explains the event:

The Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event will involve actors “shot” by perpetrators armed with cardboard weapons, said Matthew Short, a spokesman for the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com.

“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” he said. He said gun noises will be blared from bullhorns. Other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons.

The event was designed to end “gun-free zones” on the UT Austin campus. It didn’t go on as planned and was rescheduled for this weekend.

Meanwhile, on the same day, and not far away from UT Austin, the campus of St. Edward’s University was locked down because of reports of an armed man on campus. The man reportedly burglarized a car close to the campus, then ran toward campus with a gun tucked into his pants.

Both of these incidents, mind you, happened during finals week for these schools. Kids are focusing intently on finishing the semester with good test scores. The last thing – really, the last thing – they need is to turn their attention to a man with a deadly weapon.

But here we are with gun nuts trying to force their missive onto kids who want nothing to do with this. Using fear, they try to scare these kids into thinking, “Oh wow, they’re right. If everyone had a gun, we’d be safe!”


In fact, gun nuts, if nobody had a gun, we’d be safe.

But the fear will continue. The intimidation will continue.

Fear worked for Baby Boomers, raised during an era of air raids, distant Cold War fears and the soothing ideology of Kennedy and Reagan. For Millennials fear is a turnoff, as it exposes all the horror and blight they’ve been forced to watch for decades. So what the fear does is simultaneously enrage and spark action in “silent majority” Boomers, and quiet and turn away Millennials tired of being intimidated. Thus the rise of Donald Trump and the inability among Millennials to match and triumph his demagoguery.

Luckily there’s still time for Millennials, and that means speaking out against issues brought on by fear. Black Millennials are doing this better than other groups, assembling in places like Chicago to protest killings of young blacks by police officers. But many causes remain untouched by Millennial voices. Will their voices rise above the base fear that has thrived for so long?