By LANCE JOHNSON TOWER staff writer
The word tragedy best describes the start to 2018. With more than 10 school shootings all taking place within the first three months of the new year, it has people across the country concerned. Parents and now students are calling for more gun control to keep the schools safe, while others are shouting just as loud that we need less control for the very same reason. Politicians’ views on this subject are split right down the middle as well. Most are calling these shootings “avoidable” or “preventable” if we just had more laws restricting access to these high-powered rifles that are being used in most of these incidents. While at the same time, other politicians responded by explaining that those proposed laws would not have done anything to change the outcome of what happened.
The first mass school shooting of the year didn’t come until January 23rd in Marshall County, Kentucky. At a local school, a 15-year-old male shot 16 people in the lobby of his high school, ultimately killing two students as a result. The most recent shooting was in Parkland, Florida. In Parkland, a 19-year-old former male student shot students and staff alike with a semi-automatic rifle. As a result, he killed 17 people and wounded 14 more. Making that the largest death toll of a mass school shooting since December 14th, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
In the wake of this tragedy, schools across the nation have taken up the mantle of standing up for their right to feeling safe and secure to be protected. In protest, the majority of campuses and high schools have elected not to attend classes until the Government has initiated some sort of action to change the status of gun control and limiting ownership. A movement that has sparked out of this is one called “March for Our Lives,” which was recently created by students from the Parkland School shooting who want the country to do something. They believe that the time is now to start marching to the beat of their demands.
On March 24th, March for Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC. Their goal is to show that their lives and safety become a priority to the politicians. This movement has gained a lot of momentum and can be felt right here on Bethany’s campus. Some students have very strong thoughts on control just like the rest of the nation. And some have the same thoughts and ideas as the March for Our Lives as well, Evan Byrne being one of them. “I personally think we need reform, obviously there have been many mass shootings”, talking about his view of gun control laws in this country. Continuing saying, “We have addressed that there is an issue, so we need some sort of reform. I’m not necessarily sure what that would look like”.
Thus, he has organized a trip to Washington, DC to join the movement. Seeing this event on Facebook sparked the idea for Evan to see if more people would be interested. Saying, “I was really interested in going and then I was like, ‘I bet there would be another student who is interested in going’”. Being inspired by them that’s when Evan brought up the March For Our Lives event at a meeting and people were interested. With his position as Student Activities Council President, he could actually make this happen. The only thing that would be an issue is getting it approved by the school. As it turns out, as Evan says, “There wasn’t too many obstacles, kind of just like a normal travel policy and form”.
Gun control is a very heated debate throughout America. From the very top of our government to the backroads of West Virginia. Everyone has an opinion on what should be done, and how to handle it moving forward. And Bethany students will also make sure that they are a part of that progression.