"Am I Next?" sign made by Burbank High student shows the fear within high schoolers in modern-day America. (Faith Schuck)
South Torrance High School

This is why we walked out

March 14th marked the one month anniversary of the Parkland shooting. Students all across the nation walked out in remembrance of the the seventeen lives lost. My school was one of many that walked out to stand in solidarity with the students at Parkland. However, in honor of free speech, my school also allowed a pro gun rally to go on at the same time.

The fact that the rally existed and the insensitivity of the pro gun rally reflects the issues that plague our society today. People will march to support guns in protest of a walkout that’s aim is to make sure nobody else has to die like the seventeen students at Parkland did.

It’s clear that guns have not only become more protected than people’s lives, but they also more important than their lives, and it’s gotten to a point where school isn’t even a safe place anymore.

Teachers have to take time off from teaching to tell students what to do in case of a school shooting.

Students aren’t supposed to leave for school in the morning not knowing whether they’ll make it home or not. We’re supposed to be scared of failing a test, not getting murdered in a classroom.

We’re not crisis actors. We’re not trying to create chaos. We’re trying to right a wrong that we see. We don’t walkout because we want to ditch class.

We walk out because nobody should die at school.

We walk out because no school should ever have to hold a mass shooting drill.

We walk out because someone with a knife couldn’t hurt as many people as a person with a gun.

How many more people have to lose their lives before everyone will finally decide that enough is enough?

That the problem isn’t the user of the weapon, but the gun itself?

The Declaration of Independence declared that every citizen has the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” At what point will someone’s right to live be more important than someone else’s right to own a gun?


1 Comment

  • Reply Doug Campbell March 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Personally, I think you guys walked out because you don’t have enough facts to reason to a proper conclusion. Emotion counts for a lot, and you’ve stated your emotion; let me now state mine, and add a few facts as well.

    My gun is indeed more precious than anyone who might try to take it from me, just as my freedom of speech, or my freedom of religion, is more precious than anyone who might try to take those from me. All of these rights are so important that our Founding Fathers made them part of the Bill of Rights. As you read through the Bill of Rights, know that a right of self defense is the buttress for all of the other rights in the list.

    Those Florida students so cruelly murdered expected that a law creating a gun-free zone would protect them, and if for some chance that law should be disobeyed, that the policeman would backstop it. Neither of those things happened; a criminal ignored the law, and the police on campus allowed him — yes, allowed him — to do what he wanted for almost ten minutes as they cowered under stairwells and behind their vehicles before responding. These are the very same police the people who led you to protest think ought to be the only ones defending you. They failed miserably, and so defenseless people died needlessly.

    In Florida, the police had multiple chances to charge the shooter with a crime before he became a shooter. But because of protocols designed to protect youth who are of color or are illegals from being arrested and thus getting a police record, many instances at Stoneman Douglas of violence and threats went unreported to the police; and when the gunman threatened violence at his own home, the sheriffs followed the protocol and did not arrest him. The laws allowing confiscation of firearms only come into play when a person has been found to be mentally or criminally incapable of owning one; this man’s record was spotless.

    During the riots in the aftermath of the acquittal in the trial of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, the LAPD completely abandoned Koreatown to the rioters and withdrew to make a perimeter outside of its boundaries — presumably to defend more valuable properties. The people in Koreatown had no choice but to band together into an armed militia and to defend themselves and their property from rioters who hated them and wanted to take both if they could. They were successful. No rioters died, but the ability of the militia (formed spontaneously from individual gun owners) to use lethal force if needed diverted the rioters from the neighborhoods being defended. Those places where the rioters were king are still blighted places twenty years onward; Koreatown is not among them.

    In this aftermath, the call is to ban people under the age of 21 from owning a gun. Well, if people under the age of 21 cannot be trusted with a gun, then they certainly should not be allowed to vote, nor to drive cars, nor to pilot airplanes, nor to spread fertilizer on farms, nor to join the military, nor to have any voice whatsoever, because all of these are things which ought to be reserved for wise adults. Do you see where an age limit on any right takes us — if one can do it for one right, one can do it for them all. And, of course, such age limits are meaningless when a 64-year old was responsible for the mayhem in Las Vegas.

    A firearm affords every person who owns one an ability to defend themselves from those who would take what the person has, including her life. A firearm is a standoff weapon which gives the small person the ability to defend themselves against a far larger person. The individual right of self defense was written into our Constitution for a purpose — so that no government could take it away. Once, the saying was, “When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away”; now it reads, “When seconds matter, the police may decide not to come at all even if they also are only seconds away.” So why would you take away my right to defend myself in that instance?

    Firearms can be used for good or for ill, just as cars, trucks, airplanes, and fertilizer (all things used in mass killings) can be. Any attempt to confiscate any of these would not go well with the majority of the electorate without a finding that the person who’s property was being confiscated posed a threat. In fact, that “not go well” is why President Obama, backed by both houses of Congress being Democratic, never even tried; if Democrats, who are the vanguard of those desiring to confiscate firearms, could not do it when they held overwhelming power, it is not going to happen.

    There are literally millions of guns in the United States, and the vast majority will never ever be fired in anger or to harm another person. Some will be — for good or for ill, just as cars are used for good or for ill. So for you to say that the gun, not a person, is the problem is to speak with such hyperbole as to render your statement meaningless. Certainly nobody wants people to own certain classes of firearms, such as automatic weapons, hand grenades, and nuclear bombs, and nobody wants crazy or criminal people even to own firearms, but there are already plenty of laws on the books preventing same; perhaps it’s time to enforce them diligently. And for those rare cases where something (like a bump stock) would convert a gun into one of the kinds we don’t want civilians to have, well — make a new law. But know always that laws are obeyed only by those who are not lawbreakers, and lawbreakers will never see a law they find meaningful. Which is why a right of self defense exists.


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