One Year After “the March for Our Lives”

By Caroline McCarthy

One year ago, on March 14, 2018, students participated in a nationwide walkout to stand in solidarity with the students and faculty members who lost their lives in the Parkland shooting. Rutherford High School did not exempt themselves from the protest. Many students, horrified by the recent events, joined together to take a stand against the terror of gun violence. Key figures such as Ciara Kelly spoke to our administrators in order to involve the entire student body in the walkout. “I cannot and will not allow another child, teacher, human being become a victim of gun violence and neither will the schools across the country in which brave students and teachers band together to show that in a dark time, change can blow the clouds away for a ray of hope,” (Kelly, 17).

Kelly was quoted on this directly after the attacks, in an effort to raise awareness and unite students together. Now, one year later, I’ve spoken to her about the progressions and regressions she has seen in our country in terms of gun safety.

Q: It has been exactly one year since the March for Our Lives. In what ways do you feel our country has progressed in terms of gun control, and where would you like to see improvement?

A: “America has made small progressions, such as the bump stock bans but the country has a long way to go. To feel safer in schools, I would love to see more improvement with background checks. “

“Bump Stocks” are classified as machine guns. Federal law has now banned these weapons from the United States. People in possession of bump stocks are forced to destroy them or surrender the weapons to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives law enforcement unit (ATF.) However, this does not prohibit citizens from possessing handheld weapons.

Q: Why did you feel it was important that Rutherford High School in particular participated in the walkout?

A: ” I felt that because so many students were wanting to participate but were also fearful of getting in trouble for walking out, someone had to email Mr. Morano to make him aware of the situation. I also believe that as an American it is important to practice civil disobedience, no matter what age. It’s important for students to realize the importance that they hold, especially those who are turning 18. Gun violence greatly affects American schools, so why not protest it? “

Kelly took initiative in 2018 to reach out to school administrators, requesting the walkout be a school wide event. The original purpose of the walkout was to draw Washington’s attention to the potential victims-children. As young adults we are gifted with the ability to speak our minds, and yet rarely have a platform to stand on. By organizing a nationwide protest, it would be impossible for lawmakers to not hear our plea for stricter laws. However, as administrators became involved in Rutherford’s role in this assembly, the walkout became less of a protest against improper gun laws, but instead a memorial for the 17 victims. The students were asked to treat this walkout with respect to the attack, not as a political platform. Therefore, there were no signs, no speeches, and no cry for help.

Q: Do you feel the country has normalized attacks? We don’t hear about them in the news as often as we did in 2017, yet the rate of attacks has significantly gone up.

A: “Yes, I definitely think that America has normalized attacks. While in Europe this Summer I asked numerous students about school safety. They did not have lockdowns or fears of school shooting. When I told them about what occurs in America’s schools, they were horrified. We are so numb to these shootings that it’s not shocking news if minor gun violence occurs in schools, which is very sad and scary.”

As stated by CNN News, the United States has 57 times more school shootings than all other industrialized nations combines.

Read more:

Ciara Kelly concluded the interview with a message to all students and administrators who stand by the phrase, “Never Again.”

“Though the months following th Parkland shooting were amazing for pro-gun control activists, the mojo has clearly slowed. Never again, happens again. “Not my school” becomes your school. “This could never happen to me” becomes you. As a student body and country, we need to keep the same determination to create a safer country without another Parkland from happening. All students aged 18+ or on the cusp of adulthood should register to vote and be active citizens”