The millennial formula for social change goes something like this: read Buzzfeed, get angry, rage on Twitter, join a protest, break a window, wash, rinse, and repeat.
That formula was on full display this week in Stockton, California, as high school students protesting “gun violence” took the opportunity to break car windows and attack police officers.
According to the Stockton Police Department, several hundred students left campus during the protest, and some began throwing rocks at uninvolved vehicles and police cars. When an officer approached the students to force them to stop, the social justice warriors fought the officer and took his baton. A private citizen came to the officer’s aid until backup could arrive and arrest the peaceful protestors.
“We do support the freedom to protest peacefully and freedom of speech,” Stockton Police Department’s Public Information Officer Joe Silva said. “While the majority of the students were peaceful today, we don’t condone the violence which was committed by a small handful of students. It’s unacceptable to batter a police officer and especially to take an officer’s baton.”
One adult female, two juvenile females, and two juvenile males were arrested for battery on an officer and resisting arrest. The adult, Verania Cervantes, 18, was booked into the S.J. County Jail.
“Peaceful protests are powerful and I recognize that it is awesome to be part of a movement,” said Stagg High Principal Andre Phillips. “But some individuals who were not really there for the protest made this something else.”
Cervantes and her crew were members of one of several Stockton-area high school walk-outs protesting gun violence. They carried signs that read “No More Gun Violence,” and chanted to end school shootings.
The protests in Stockton followed the lead of a number of similar walk-outs staged at high schools around the country. Perhaps the most high-profile took place last week in Washington, D.C., where students left class in the morning to spend the day protesting in front of the White House.
They took the opportunity to repeat the same anti-gun rhetoric that has been circulating since before they were born.
“I’m not going to pretend that I know everything about government, I’m not going to pretend to be a lobbyist or anything,” 18-year-old Camille Richter told USA Today. “But we should not have AR-15s, we should not have military grade weaponry circulating in the U.S.”
None of the signs carried by the Stockton students explained how California’s gun laws could be any more strict. The state already bans AR-15-type rifles as well as standard-capacity magazines.