How Many Lives Will Be Taken Before Enough is Enough?
by Lily Lin
As many of you are aware, today is April 20th, National Weed Day. However, today is not just a celebration of the legalization of marijuana, but also the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. The Columbine High School massacre occurred on April 20, 1999 in Jefferson County, Colorado. During the shooting, 12 students and one teacher were killed while an additional 21 people were injured. The two perpetrators were 17-year-old high school senior Dylan Klebold and 18-year-old high school senior Eric Harris, who were both attending the school at that time.
Like other mass shootings in the United States, the massacre at Columbine sparked controversy over gun control and the ease with which individuals can obtain automated weapons in this nation. In 2000, state and federal legislation was passed that required safety locks on firearms and banned the importation of high-capacity ammunition. Additional laws were put in place that made it illegal to sell firearms to criminals and minors, but there was immense backlash against perceived restrictions on the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms.
While the media has more widely publicized the school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an abhorrent amount of additional shootings that have taken place. School shootings in the United States go as far back as 1764 when one teacher and nine students were killed, with another two injured, in Greencastle, Pennsylvania; this school shooting is more formally known as the “Enoch Brown school massacre.” There have been more than 290 school shootings since the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which took place December 14, 2012, and at least 18 school shootings just since the beginning of 2018.
Students across the United States are encouraged to walk out of class and protest for better gun control in reaction to the culmination of mass school shootings in the United States. Those who choose to participate in the walkout will leave class at 10:00 am and will not return to school afterwards. At the beginning of the walkout, a moment of silence for 1 minute and 13 seconds will be held in memory of the victims from the Columbine massacre. Whether you choose to be involved in this walkout to celebrate National Weed Day or to take a stand against political ineptitude over civilian safety, you will be marked as truant by the school.
National walkouts like the one today or the walkout hosted on March 24, 2018 to commemorate the victims of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas showcase the reach and power that ordinary students hold. Anyone, including you, can stand up and advocate for change. As the “mass shooting generation”, it is up to the youth of today to stand up for the future of gun control—our future.
image: Lorie Shaull