Students say it's time to end fear

Posted

Students are scared of a shooter entering their school and are demanding authorities do something about it.

That message came across loud and clear Saturday as students held the spotlight and people of all ages came by the thousands to support them at the Rhode Island March for Our Lives held on the steps of the State House.

Coventry High School junior Tyler Alexander, the first in a series of youthful speakers, recalled how the state has been a leader in so many movements starting with religious freedom, adding, “We are falling behind in gun control.”

Alexander told of how his school went through a lockdown drill last month that was followed shortly afterward by a power outage caused by a storm. Students and faculty didn’t know what had happened, whether it might have been caused by a shooting incident.

“You wonder if a gunman is going to kill us…we shouldn’t have to live in fear every day,” he said.

“We have the natural right to life. How are we to pursue happiness when we’re paralyzed by fear every day?”

The Rhode Island march was one of scores held across the country in coordination with the march at the nation’s capital organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman using an AR-15 assault rifle killed 14 students and three faculty members.

To cheers, Alexander called for universal background checks on those buying guns; raising the legal age to purchase all firearms to 21 and for a 30-day waiting period between application for and issuance of a gun permit.

Halima Ibrahim, a 10th-grader at the Islamic School of Rhode Island, opened her remarks contrasting the capabilities of firearms when the U.S. Constitution was written and what they are capable of today.

“Since gun technology has changed, how about changing our gun rules, too,” she said.

Ibrahim rallied the crowd with her plaintiff and demanding cry to “wake up.”

“More guns will do nothing to help – wake up; to allow more guns is to allow more deaths. Wake up…do not allow this to become normal. Wake up.”

The crowd joined in, chanting, “wake up.”

“Like you, I’m sick of gun violence,” said Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Deliberately, Raimondo kept her remarks brief, but she encouraged the young demonstrators to sustain their efforts. Referring to prior gun control efforts, she said, “This time it feels different because of you. We are listening. Keep going until assault firearms are banned.” She also called for a ban on concealed weapons in schools.

“Keep pushing so we can do the right thing,” she said.

“We need to all get on board with trying to find a solution to this problem. That means Republicans, that means Democrats, that means older people, that means young people,” said Toll Gate graduate Nathan Cornell. “I want to live in a world where I do not come home or wake up and find out that there has been another school shooting. We cannot let school shootings become a new norm.”

Nina Gregg, a Rhode Island School of Design sophomore and a 2016 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduate, said those who lost their lives in the Feb. 14 shooting were her neighbors’ sons, daughters, husbands and dads. She called for action in November.

“As you have undoubtedly learned, some lawmakers are not ready to protect us,” she said. “So we will gladly use our voting power to protect ourselves. Guns have no rightful place in our story.”

Sophia Capalbo, a junior at Johnson & Wales University and organizer of the Rhode Island march, in opening remarks, which were cheered, said, “People underestimate the power of young voices…we will act like adults when adults are acting like children…today is the beginning of change.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse urged the audience to “remember how you feel today in November.” He said not to underestimate the power of money in Congress, adding, “We’re one election away from making a very big change.”

Comments

10 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
TermLimits

Send them to North Korea, Syria or Venezuela to learn what real fear is. Go clean your rooms .

Wednesday, March 28
davebarry109

They have a 1 in 600,000,000 chance of being a victim of a school shooting. It's an irrational fear. It's irrational to call for a ban on weapons that are used in less than 3% of all shootings. (So called 'assault weapons', aka rifles).

The worst school shooting remains Virginia Tech. Pistols were used. But let's not let facts keep the anti-gun crowd from demanding the confiscation of rifles that have 'scary' features and LOOK like military rifles. Let's make laws based on emotions and not facts.

Wednesday, March 28
Kammy

No one is trying to take your gun away. No one said to ban all guns. Now that right there s an irrational fear. What they want is this:

Universal background checks on those buying guns

Raising the legal age to purchase all firearms to 21

30-day waiting period between application for and issuance of a gun permit

How does that take away your right to bear arms?

This issue concerns them because they are indeed a target. They have lost friends and loved ones due to gun violence. Telling them to sit down, shut up and grow up won't get you very far. They are in fact poised to change the entire way we handle government and added many young people onto the voter rolls than ever before. If Mr. Trump was able to be elected and stay in office, you can bet your bottom dollar these kids are going to shake things up in the very near future.

I am proud of my daughters generation. They are surrounded by strong, courageous, smart and passionate people. They are listening, learning and on fire. Not a single snowflake or tidepod -eater among them!

Wednesday, March 28
RISchadenfreude

Just what I need- advice from children who think responsible adults should be disarmed, but think eating a Tide Pod is a good idea.

About ten percent of the 200k (+/- 15%) participants were children, the rest just acted like children.

Children who weren't even in the school that day are being called "victims" or "survivors" allegedly including the pinhead Hogg.

Kammy, you're mistaken- a retired Supreme Court Justice just said to "abolish" the Second Amendment and several journalists have finally admitted their ultimate goal; you can be uninformed, but don't expect the rest of us to be naive.

If non-NRA Members would stop shooting up schools, there wouldn't be a problem.

I guess if I'm bitten by a stray dog, I get to demand that my neighbor have all his dog's teeth removed.

Thursday, March 29
Kammy

Actually RISchadenfreude, I was referring to the comment that davebarry109 made regarding the students. I didn't mention the former supreme court justice or other media. These students are not demanding to ban all guns. If you want people to respect your point of view, you must be willing to respect their point of view as well. Change only comes about when people are willing to see both sides of an issue. I do not support a ban on guns. I support safety measures put in place so that people that are not mentally stable are not able to legally purchase a gun. I think that someone with a history of violence should be red-flagged in the system so that they are not able to have easy access to a gun. If you believe that those measures infringe on your right to bear arms, then what about another’s right to live? Does your right supersede their right?

Students that attend schools where a mass shooting has occurred are victims regardless of if they were in school that day or not. Friends were lost on that day, the entire atmosphere in the halls has changed. They will be forever marked by the actions of a man and his weapon. The students at Sandy Hook were too young to put words into action. The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are able to put their fear and anger into action. They are challenging the adults to step up and do something that will put a stop to the unnecessary violence. Hopefully, this time we will listen.

Thursday, March 29
RISchadenfreude

Congratulations to the Beacon's photo editor(s) for choosing a photo with the F-word on a homemade sign just above the "It Could Have Been Us" sign near left center.

Thursday, March 29
SCOT63

This is why they are called the NINCOMPOOP generation!!!!!!

Friday, March 30
Cat2222

By all means people, keep feeding the beast! The more fuel you add to the fire, the more burn you will feel because these "children" and "NINCOMPOOPS" will be voting as early as this year. I can't wait to see the changes that happen because of this one group of stupid children. One teenager got a talk show host to apologize and off the air for 1 week because of lost advertisement. This generation knows how to use technology to their benefit. LET THE GAMES BEGIN....if you can keep up!

Monday, April 2
RISchadenfreude

Cat2222, I'm not overly concerned by the kids- it's the money behind them that's organizing them; we need to focus on the right thing, which is disregarding the mouthpieces who can't get into college and whose actual presence at the school at the time of the shooting is questioned. They're being used and enjoying the attention, like any child. When they're no longer useful, they'll be discarded like a broken toy. I imagine that when they crash and burn like child celebrities, we'll probably be blamed for that, too.

We need to focus on the message and ask the hard questions whose answers didn't come with their talking point index cards and paper slips given to them by their handlers.

Tuesday, April 3
Flo5582

@CAT2222 - such amazing insight

Monday, April 9