President Donald Trump listens to Carson Abt, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21, 2018.
Photo: Carolyn Kaster (AP Images)

Dear Teen Activists:

First, I want to say that I admire your work and everything you’re doing to stop America’s idiotic deification of killing machines. Your activism has already impacted this country and will likely save lives. When I saw that Walmart announced that it would allow only people age 21 or over to purchase firearms, I was flabbergasted.


I have to admit that I initially doubted how effective your efforts could be in the war against Murder Incorporated the National Rifle Association, mostly because I think NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre is actually a demon-possessed hobgoblin inhabiting the body of an incubus tucked inside a human exoskeleton that survives by devouring the souls of bullet-riddled babies, so I figured you’d lose the stare-down because ... well ... I don’t think Satan blinks.

I figured, if a Newtown, Conn., elementary school full of dead babies didn’t defeat the NRA, then no one could. But I was wrong! In my naivete, I forgot that the power of whiteness is the only thing more powerful than wheelbarrows full of cash that politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio are willing to accept in exchange for the corpses of high school sophomores. You’re actually changing the world!

But now that it looks as if you are on the path to success, I’d like for you to continue your efforts. Since it seems like America is much more willing to listen with an open mind when white kids say things, I have a list of five things we’d like for you to put on your agenda when you’re finished with the gun laws.


I am authorized to offer you an unprecedented lifetime invitation to the cookout, excluding the annual celebration in Wakanda (I’m sure you understand: T’Challa issued an executive order that’s essentially a white-people travel ban), if you are able to accomplish all five of these goals:

1. Remember how black America acted after the Parkland, Fla., massacre.

I’m not trying to steal your thunder because ultimately, your cause will help black people, just as we believe that our fight against state violence and police brutality will also impact white communities.


But did you notice that black America didn’t dismiss your efforts by asking about white-on-white crime? Could you ask your fellow Caucasians to note how—every time someone mentions gun violence—we don’t bring up Parkland? Or Columbine, Colo.? Or Las Vegas? Or Sutherland Springs, Texas?

Could they at least jot down how, whether we agreed with you or not, we simply addressed the specific issue instead of deflecting?

2. Instead of Glocks, can we get some other stuff?

If they plan on addressing the gun control issue by arming teachers, we, of the black delegation, will pass on the offer. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. But when you look at black communities and the number of kids who have already died from gunfire, the fact that some teachers might have mental issues, the fact that some cops won’t go into a school with a mass shooter but we expect teachers to do so, and the weirdness of my 11th-grade civics teacher, Mr. Heisman ... OK, maybe I am calling it a bad idea.


A really terrible idea.

But since black schools receive less funding than predominantly white schools, we’ll take some books. A nice handgun costs about the same as an inexpensive laptop, and black students suffer from a gap in access to technology, so we’ll take the laptops instead of the firearms.

If you’re wondering how this will make the world a better place, just think how lit Black Twitter will be!


3. If you can force companies to change their gun policies, maybe you can force them to change other things.

I was amazed that you convinced Walmart to change its policy on gun sales. In your next meeting, could you tell them to change their policy on how many cashiers they have working at one time? I’ve been in Walmart on Christmas Eve and they still didn’t have a cashier at every register, which might be worse than Republicans ignoring the fact that guns kill more Americans every year than AIDS, terrorists, “black identity extremists” and Shariah combined.

Delta eliminated its NRA discount but still charges $30 to put my bag under the plane, yet it lets me stuff the bag in an overhead bin for free. It’s on the same plane! How is this not illegal? And, like Wally World, airports never have a full staff of Transportation Security Administration agents. Half the check-in lines are never used!


It’s clear that America needs some commonsense line-control legislation.

4. As long as we’re working on fixing laws that kill people, we have a list:

  • marijuana prohibition
  • cops being prosecuted by people who are essentially co-workers
  • mandatory minimums
  • stop-and-frisk laws
  • pharmaceutical-industry loopholes
  • gerrymandering legislation
  • felon disenfranchisement
  • FDA legislation that allows white people to make potato salad
  • capital punishment

5. Can you never say “All lives matter” ever again?

Again, I applaud your efforts, and would never try to denigrate the terrific work you have been doing. Ultimately, we are all on the same side: the not-getting-shot-in-the-face side.


But I’d like to point out that black and brown activists have been asking for these same proposals for years. We have spoken about the ease of buying weapons, about the lack of commonsense gun laws and how they disproportionately affect black and brown communities.

Even when white America talks about black people’s need to focus on “black-on-black crime” before we are allowed to address any issue slightly adjacent to racism, it never raises the prospect of confronting the terrorist organization known as the NRA. It never attributes the gun violence in Chicago to lack of mental health care or access to firearms.

It is obvious that dead black children like Hadiya Pendleton, who are gunned down on inner-city streets, are not worth as much as their white counterparts who die in suburban schools. But when white America reflexively responds to “Black lives matter” with that bullshit about “all lives,” could you point back to your laudable efforts and explain how the outrage over white lives changed the national conversation, the policies of international corporations and possibly the stranglehold of the most powerful lobbying group in America?


While it might be true that all lives matter, this country’s response to the loss of black lives has never been this vehemently loud and effective.

Not like this.

Never like this.

P.S. While we understand that all of the victims and the activists werent exclusively white, we all know why the country is listening.


You do, too.