The Lion's Tale

Stand in solidarity

Josh Diewald, Reporter

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In the wake of the tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, hundreds of high school and middle school students in the Montgomery County area staged walkouts from their schools on Wednesday, Feb 21, to show support for gun control laws.

Students from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville were the first to leave their school at 9:30 a.m. to go to the US Capitol, and many other students followed suit. Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Montgomery Blair students followed suit and the number of students participating began to rapidly increase.

The marches have mostly been planned over social media and are not just reaction in the heat of the moment. The students participating in these marches all feel strongly that gun control is the answer to these mass school shootings, and rightly so. There have been 18 school shootings so far this year and while not all of them are as big as Parkland, that is still a very real and scary notion.

There are some misconceptions about school shootings that need to be cleared up. While they are extremely scary, they are not happening at an increased rate, as many people are led to believe. There have been around 60 schools shootings each year since Sandy Hook in December of 2012. This came as a shock to me because I had been told that school shootings are on the rise and that they are an increasing problem, while in fact, they are consistent.

While some people may see this as a reason why we do not need to change policy, it is not. A steady amount of school shootings is not okay. There should be no school shootings, and the fact that lawmakers and citizens are not fixing the current situation is sad and frightening. There obviously needs to be something done about it, and students are paving the way toward change through school walkouts.

There are two main things that need to be solved in order to prevent these school shootings. First, assault weapons such as the AR-15 that was used at Parkland should not be able to be purchased and obtained by teenagers, let alone anybody. They are not of any use for anything besides being killing machines and should not be on the streets or in our schools.

There also needs to be more attention paid to troubled teens going through tragedies and all teens in general. In the aftermath of school shootings, there are clear warning signs that could have been observed by people around the perpetrators. This is not putting the blame on the friends and family of the killers, but rather asking people to be honest about signs of depression and violence that they see in people around them.

When I heard the news of the walkouts in my community, I started to feel like there is a possibility of change in this current system that is a repetitive circle of violence followed by what might as well be silence by people in power. I feel proud that students in my community are taking action and trying to make a difference.

While it will be a long road to the prevention of school shootings, the voices of young people will be too loud for lawmakers to ignore and I am now more confident than ever that there will be change.

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