Video clip. Mr. Spock chases an evil monster out of the computer banks of the USS Enterprise. Clever, huh?
Back when the most frightening thing most high school students had to deal with was a math test, March 14 was just Pi Day.
Pi is the number to use to figure the area, or the circumference, or the diameter of a circle. The number is 3.14. Like 3/14. Like March 14. Clever, huh? (Kind of like May 4 is Star Wars Day. You know, May the Fourth Be With You. Clever, eh?)
(Old joke: Pi-r squared? How silly. Everybody knows that pie are round. Cornbread are square.)
The day is often used as a gimmick by teachers, an excuse to encourage everyone to bring, not an apple for the teacher, but an apple pie for everybody. Or cherry. Or chocolate.
Of course, even those of us who majored in liberal arts remember that pi isn’t precisely 3.14, though that’s close enough for most figuring. The real number starts 3.1415926535 and goes on, as far as anyone knows, forever.
One website has thoughtfully provided us with the first million digits, if that’s the sort of thing that turns you on.
But today, March 14, is also one month since the massacre of 17 innocent people at that high school in Parkland, Fla. So it was the day chosen by students all over the country as a day to walk out of class — for 17 minutes — to demand that the greedy, lazy and cowardly adults who supposedly are in charge around here finally do something about the fact that, alone among all the supposedly civilized nations in the world, this country values its weapons more than its children.
With luck, this mathematical coincidence will mean that the drive for sanity in our nation, like pi, will never end.
And, while you are at it, kids, have some pie. You earned it.
— ‘We are these kids’: Hundreds of Utah students walk out of school in somber, tearful tribute to Florida shooting victims — Benjamin Wood and Lillian Reed | The Salt Lake Tribune
... In Utah, the student-led demonstrations are individually organized, largely with the permission or accommodation from Utah’s school district administrators. Groups offered a variety of reasons for joining in, from showing solidarity with survivors to a critique of the nation’s gun laws and calls for enhanced safety measures on school campuses. ...
There is no one solution to the school shooting tragedies. Appropriately, and wisely, the students have focused attention on the importance of gun reform and school safety and reaching out to others who may feel depressed and alone.
— We Stand With the Students — New York Times Editorial
Adults are supposed to take care of children — not only keep them safe, but make them feel safe. Schools are essentially an extension of the home, in that sense, providing sanctuaries of learning, of nurturing and care. But after years of attacks by people with weapons of war, students cannot feel safe and are demanding that adults end years of [complacency] and act. They are not asking for their schools to become armed garrisons. Rather, they want those weapons to be brought under control. And unlike too many adults, the young people leading Wednesday’s walkout at schools around the country — inspired by angry, motivated students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed by a former student with an assault weapon — have had the courage to take on the industry responsible for blocking every reasonable measure to limit access to guns, including those that make it all too easy to commit mass murder.
— In support of the student walkout — Buffalo News Editorial
... Understandably, perhaps, student voices had been missing in the aftermath of the periodic violence breaking out in American schools. That’s changed — permanently, one hopes — and any reasonable adult should find it easy to acknowledge that students’ interest compelling. ...
— Students who participate in March 14 school walkout should not be punished — Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial
... It’s a shame when children feel compelled to speak up because adults have failed them, but sometimes that’s the only way to ignite groundbreaking change. ...
— Student walkout: Protest has a price — Baltimore Sun Editorial
... As for students who may face detention or a similar fate for walking out of class when they were told by school authorities not to do so? Good. As long as the punishment is proportionate to the offense, it is perfectly fine for a school system to impose rules for conduct and then punish students for defying them. And here’s the best part: Students should proudly accept those consequences. They could scarcely be getting a better real-life lesson in what social protest is all about. ...
George Pyle is The Tribune’s editorial page editor. firstname.lastname@example.org