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As of Aug 2018, Civics Unplugged has merged with Next Generation Politics and will be changing our name and migrating to https://nextgenpolitics.org/ . Next Gen Politics is a student-created, student-led organization that fosters civic engagement and promotes a culture of collaboration and cross-partisanship within Generation Z. Given the alignment in our missions, and the range and reach of Next Gen’s 15+ chapters, we are enthusiastic to join forces.

A Flipped Roundtable Discussion on Gun Reform in Milpitas, CA

By Shreeya Aranake

On February 25th, the Milpitas High School chapter of NGP gathered to have a flipped roundtable discussion. In the midst of one of the most insistent gun control movements lead by students across the country, it was decided that this was the time to be discussing guns and the role they play in the United States. Chiefly, school shootings were the favored topic of the discussion, as the reality of school shootings is getting increasingly pressed into students’ minds.

All of the members present agreed that gun reform is necessary, however much of the discussion was centered around the implications of school shootings, their individual instigators, and how race has specifically been left out of the conversation.

The discussion began in agreement, and thus a further questioning of the other side’s positions ensued. Most members attempted to fully engage with the view they thought they inherently disagreed with. Was it truly a matter of fear of government tyranny? Are politicians merely after the money the NRA is pouring into their campaigns?

However, soon members began to look at the gun problem in a different light: race. One member brought up the point that many of the recent school shootings have been carried out by young, white men. Yet, mainstream media and the gun debate does not even begin to acknowledge that these mass murders have this one characteristic in common. If the instigators of these school shootings, the same member pointed out, were all of a minority race, there would be an inherent bias forming very quickly in American society and culture.

This idea sparked a controversial debate between whether race should even be brought up in the gun control, and if it is reasonable to even hint at the fact that race plays into the making of a school shooter.

Overall, a seemingly regular session meant to deliberate this issue deviated and turned into a discussion on two of the biggest issues in the United States intertwined in one. Hopefully, it is discussions like these that will prompt young people to understand complicated issues such as gun reform and subsequently make efforts to resolve them in a cooperative, efficient manner.  

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