National High School Walkout Day—a protest against gun violence—is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 14. Gun control and gun violence have become fiery controversies ever since the fatal shooting and killing of 17 students and faculty (with an additional 14 injured) on February 14, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Because of this tragic event, Druid Hills High School, as well as many other schools across the country, staged an earlier walkout last Thursday, February 22. Students with signs in hand marched through the bus lane in front of the school, opposing America’s mild treatment of gun control, as well as demanding lawmakers to protect their people by taking this topic more seriously. After witnessing how easy it was for mentally ill Nikolas Cruz, 19, to obtain a gun, students like junior Riley Christian, feel more action needs to be taken in restricting who can and cannot own a gun. “The fact that a senior can buy an assault rifle is ridiculous… The sad thing is, no real change can happen in Congress or any federal level of government because half of the government is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association, and value money more than human lives.”
Instead of focusing solely on the issue of gun control, Druid Hills High School is having its own full day dedicated to activism on March 14. The goal of Druid Hills’s day of activism is to have all students’ voices heard. “…all of first period will be focused on open discussions about solutions dealing with what we can do as children of this nation to implement change and help our local politicians realize our stance on different issues,” said Lisa Medford, who is in charge of Druid Hills’ Walkout Day. Many students are on board with Walkout Day like Christian who said, “The gun control issue has been a thing for a very long time, and it really is a shame it has come to this for real change to be discussed… The walkouts and marches and protests are really having a great impact, and yet our president only offers ‘Teachers with Guns.’” Some students, such as Senior Trinity Burke, do not completely agree though. “The walkout seems like a good idea, but it may not have the intended effect. How will walking out influence what the government does to gun laws?” Burke said.
When I asked Medford how last Thursday’s walkout will be different from the walkout in March, she said, “Last week’s walkout was a little unorganized. The main difference is that we are taking part in the national walkout. We will be getting the entirety of our student and staff population. Then, at 10 o’clock, we are going to walk out together and have a few student speakers and hopefully some other outside speakers come together. It is going to be more official, more organized, and hopefully make more of an impact.” According to Medford, Walkout Day will begin with “discussions regarding the second amendment versus safety, ethics, and moral dilemmas,” during first period, followed by an actual walkout starting at 10 o’clock for all students wishing to participate. Finally, after that, “we will get the opportunity for our seniors and those old enough to register to vote so that we can enable change.”
The walkout, in addition, is geared toward President Donald Trump, who is, unfortunately, very influential in our lawmaking. On February 22, Trump said on Twitter, “….immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!” in an attempt to better combat gun violence. Lisa Medford further spoke on Trump’s statement saying, “[Trump’s] tweet about arming teachers as a resolution to this issue, I find, is terrifying. [Trump] making [his views] public is not something I agree with and something that I find as us going in the right direction if local politicians also view that as an answer.” The types of statements made by President Donald Trump and many of our other leading political figures undoubtedly centralize the lack of common sense utilized when making controversial yet significant decisions for an entire nation.
When dealing with gun control laws, it is important to remember that although school shootings are a problem, general gun violence is a much greater issue facing the US that is seldom discussed. It is not until a calamitous event like the Columbine High School massacre or the Orlando nightclub shooting takes place. We can not and should not wait for an instance of gun violence in order to address it. If we have learned anything from prohibition, it is that outright banning guns will not prevent gun violence. Outlawing all guns is not the answer but neither are our current gun laws.