If you wanted to see the divide in America today, the gap between the left and the right, the gun-rights advocates, the teens calling for gun control, there was no clearer scene than the one that played out Friday morning in front of the Kansas Capitol.
Roughly 200 people, including Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and a GOP frontrunner for governor, gathered around the state Capitol steps to demonstrate their concern that gun rights are under attack in the United States amid a wave of anger over mass shootings at schools.
More than a dozen students from the nearby Topeka High School yelled from the nearby lawn, crying out for more gun control on a national student walkout day marking the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.
Kobach talked, the students yelled.
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"I have an idea," Kobach told the crowd, singling out the student protesters. "Instead of walking out of class, why don't you stay in class and spend that half hour studying the history of the Second Amendment?"
The teens, who know all too well about school shootings and dead students, didn’t budge.
"For someone to come at kids, who just want to stop other kids from dying, I think that's very childish," David Escobar, a 15-year-old Topeka High student, told a reporter. "For him to make that comment (is) very childish and it just shows who the real kids are here and who the real adults are."
Kobach said earlier this week that people were exploiting the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., for their own political benefit and to push an anti-gun agenda.
He had called on gun advocates to rally on the Capitol steps Friday morning. The National Rifle Association and the Kansas State Rifle Association co-sponsored the hour-long event.
A-list Kansas conservatives, including House Speaker Ron Ryckman and Senate President Susan Wagle, were there, along with Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann and a slew of congressional hopefuls.
In the crowd were Donald Trump-endorsed Make America Great Again hats and Second Amendment signs saying, “Disarming good people will only empower evil” and “Disarming me won’t protect me, that’s the problem.”
Patricia Ridenour of Cimarron, Kan., carried a yellow sign.
“The government cannot protect you,” it said, with “turn in your guns” x'ed out.
"I think we need our guns," said Ridenour, 75. "That makes us unique. It's a civil right."
Rick Weir, 58, of Salina, Kan., who described himself as a competitive cowboy action shooter, came clad in cowboy-style clothing.
"We need to have a representation of support on our side," he said. "Personally, I think they're using the kids as political pawns. Uninformed, vulnerable people being used, manipulated."
As gun-rights advocates spoke, some heckling the students, the teens sang and sometimes yelled to the annoyance of the largely older Second Amendment crowd.
Abbie Cruse, a 15-year-old at Topeka High School, said she didn’t realize at first what she and her friends were walking into until she saw an NRA sign.
‘“We didn’t know this was actually a pro-Second Amendment rally,” she said.
Cruse held a sign that said “sacrifice the guns, not the kids.”
“Nothing’s going to change until there is gun control,” she said.
Escobar, one of her classmates, shared her cause.
“I think it’s pretty idiotic to be out here protesting (for) something that’s literally taking lives,” he said.
As the conservatives on the steps kept speechifying, the students broke into a chant of “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go.”
Larry McMeins, 75, of Olathe started dancing in front of them in a mocking way, waving a sign in each hand that said criminals love gun-free zones.
Then he gave an ironic bow to the students.
“I was good-naturedly, and in a gentle way, trying to communicate to them that they were being rude by disrupting our meeting,” McMeins said.
After about an hour, the gun-rights rally ended and the crowd thinned.
The high school students started chanting once again, providing a soundtrack for the gun-rights people as they got in their cars and left.
“Enough is enough,” the students chanted.
One of their antagonists walked by and gave them a thumbs-down.
“Children, children, children,” another man said sadly.
Someone else yelled at the teens: "I support the NRA!"
They just kept on rallying as the crowd walked away.