I’m a high school student in Alabama who didn’t walk out to protest guns – here’s why
Students across the nation walked out of class for 17 minutes today – one minute for each victim in the recent school shooting in Florida – demanding that Congress pass gun control legislation.
The protest was organized by the youth branch of the Women’s March, which claimed that students were calling for universal background checks, restraining orders to disarm people who display signs of violent behavior, and a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”
This movement is popular among high school students and many walked out of their classes.
I was not one of them. Here’s why.
I have been raised in a conservative household and have conservative views. I am also a devout Christian who holds a biblical worldview — interpret that as you may. I believe that the Second Amendment is as important today as it was in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was added to our constitution.
I also believe that the walkout was nothing but an act.
Some said it was simply to honor the victims. I’d have participated if that had been the case, but the group organizing the protest was capitalizing on the death of 17 innocent men and women to pass their political agenda … and they used our nation’s youth as pawns to reach their goal.
Many of my peers blame these shootings on the gun but not the person who made the conscious decision to pull the trigger. A gun, on its own, isn’t capable of killing anyone, though. It’s just a tool in the hands of the man who chooses to wield it.
Students believe that by protesting and lobbying Congress that somehow the violence in our schools will change, but I am afraid they are mistaken.
We cannot rely on Congress to legislate morality and we cannot rely on it to prevent another mass shooting like the one in Parkland.
The true power lies in the hands of the students. I firmly believe that my peers who walked out to protest can indeed cause a true change if they choose to address the root cause.
And the root cause is … our own selfishness.
Most students who engage in mass acts of violence are typically social outcasts with circumstances that drive them to commit mass murder out of a need for revenge or attention.
So if you want to act to prevent the next school shooting, look around you.
Do you see the student sitting all alone? Go sit with them and build a friendship, it might be tough but it can make a difference.
Do you know the student who lashes out in class seeking attention? Engage them, ask to help them with the assignment or ask for their help.
Do you see a student being bullied? Stand up for them and offer your friendship!
If you truly want to fix our schools, look up from your phones and look around for someone needing your help.
We accomplish nothing by walking out and averting our eyes from the problem.
So instead of waiting on Congress to act, let’s bring about change by our own hands.
Andrew Staton is a senior at Virgil I. Grissom High School in Huntsville.