OPINION – Teens’ “March for Our Lives” Protest Reveals Distance Between & Passion Among Americans

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OPINION – Teens’ “March for Our Lives” Protest Reveals Distance Between & Passion Among Americans

Ted Frascella, Reporter

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OPINION/NEWSROOM – In the month of March, various “March For Our Lives” protests took place in many different cities across the U.S.  Thousands of students poured out into the streets to protest current or absent gun laws in the wake of the school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Great Mills, Maryland.

Some of the most-attended protests took place in large cities, such as Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and New York City.  Thousands of students, activists, and celebrities utilized their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of protest to advocate for change in a time when school shootings seem to have become the norm.

Many students and young activists from local communities attended the march that took place in New York City on Saturday, March 24th.  According to USA Today, nearly 200,000 protesters took to the streets to demand action on gun control.  Many protesters were brandishing creative signs advocating for stricter gun regulations, many of which featured guns alongside children’s school supplies: an obvious reference to the multiple school shootings that have occurred in the past few years.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) was also a target of scrutiny among protesters, many of whom blame the organization for being an obstacle to their goal of achieving stricter gun laws.

While the 2nd Amendment remains controversial, it is notable that for many people it represents the most basic right of self-defense, self-reliance, and a kind of  cultural touchstone that may be difficult to understand in other parts of the country.  Law enforcement isn’t moments away in every place in America, and training in firearms and work with and alongside guns is second-nature.

What made this protest significant was the instrumental role that students played in its organizing, advertising, and demonstration.  Since the school shooting issue is one that primarily affects high school students, it only seems right that they would be the ones to spearhead this protest.  As a result that one of the major protests was held in New York City, many students from local schools in Connecticut and New York decided to make their voices heard and attend the rally.

Katie Turk, a junior at Greenwich High School, shared what compelled her and her friends to attend the march,

“It is unacceptable that school shootings, as well as gun violence in general, occur so often in our country.  Something must be done to prevent future incidents.”

The heart of the matter is what that “something” might be.  Repeal the 2nd Amendment? Unlikely but written about in the New York Times.  Banning of assault weapons?  This requires a definition of what makes an assault weapon an assault weapon, and the measurements, handle, calibre, magazine…all create legal twists.  Raise the age for firearm purchase?  This seems to have some backing- although it must be the first time in human history that teenagers (in a form of rebellion) are arguing for a restriction – or delay- of their own rights.

Obviously, these issues are important enough to many young people to the point to warrant a protest of this magnitude.  This kind of thing can only be accomplished by a significant amount of people all sharing a common resolve to make a change that they deem necessary.

Katie explained why it is important for students to come together and protest.

“During times like this, gun violence is not a topic that should be brushed away but should be the center of attention.  It also reminds lawmakers that we are the next generation of voters and can vote them out if they continue to receive money from institutions like the NRA.”

Katie’s final thought sheds light on a significant outcome of these protests.  Even if little or no change occurs on the legislative level as a direct result of these protests, many of the teenage demonstrators will be able to vote within the next few years and have a chance to influence and alter legislation.  Perhaps future politicians were in attendance who might run prospective campaigns based off of these gun control sentiments.  Learning and witnessing how these protests will affect future developments in gun law will definitely be something the public will have to pay attention to.

Story by Ted Frascella, Reporter

Edited by Maeve Sebold, Editor-in-Chief

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