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Letter To The Editor

Why I Walked

On April 5th, myself and hundreds of other students walked out of class and lunch at Niwot High School to protest the epidemic of gun violence and school shootings that permeates across our country.

Students had a variety of reasons for their action. Recently, the school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, provided an immediate catalyst for a walkout. These shootings have become not alarmingly common, but eerily pedestrian. Too often, these tragedies are discussed not as horrible, terrible crimes against humanity, but as if they were weather events, simple facts of the day.

Students at the walkout used many words to describe the acute pain and mundane terror we have learned to live in - fear, anger, tiredness with authority that refuses to act.

I’m frustrated. I am not the most radical of anti-gun Americans or teens - I’ve shot rifles, I’m not against the 2nd Amendment, and am against any radical disarmament effort some have proposed the government take against its citizens.

However, I am disgusted and disturbed by the norm these massacres have become. By the inaction of our government - especially by those politicians and pundits who would rather turn our schools into fortresses or blame LGBTQ Americans for the latest bloodbath than tackle the issues at hand.

The fact that a gun is easier to acquire in our country than a car speaks to a fundamental problem in our society. I do not want the government to come for our freedoms, or for anyone’s weapons. But waiting periods, mandated training, titling, and licensing - along with strengthened and universal background checks would undoubtedly help make the armed citizen of this country a better, safer American. And would make schools the temples of learning they are supposed to be, instead of the places of tragedy they have become.

This is not the weather.

This is not normal.

It’s time for our democracy to listen to its students and parents and not the gun lobby.

It’s time for change.

Oliver Fowler (17), Junior, Niwot High School

 

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