The snowstorm yesterday that closed Portland Public Schools today for clean-up didn’t stop students from participating in the National School Walkout protesting the failure of elected officials to take any action to restrict gun use and help prevent more mass shootings from happening – again and again.
Today marks the one month anniversary of the murder of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day – last month. About 3,000 schools all over the country joined to protest the inaction of elected officials to take legislative steps protecting them from those who should not possess “killing machines.”
Although the opportunity to join the National Walkout today was canceled because public schools were closed due to the third large snowstorm in two weeks to hit the Portland area, students from Portland High School and King Middle School decided they’d rather be part of the official Walkout than wait for tomorrow for the postponed event here. (See previous post for details on that.)
Portland High School freshman Mikeal Vanmierlo said: “These shootings keep happening and there are no major changes to assist us.” (See above left photo.) Siri Pierce said: “There is something really powerful about standing together at the same time across this country and we wanted to be part of that.” (See right photo below.)
Numerous students took turns reading statements from the top of a mound of snow at Monument Square in downtown Portland early this morning.
One of those students was Tenley Flint, who said: “This is the second amendment. This is the justification for many people to keep semi-automatic weapons, even though they are a threat. But these people don’t stop to think about what the amendment really means. Simply put, it means that well controlled, prepared and trained civilian groups can have guns if they use them correctly. In my opinion, a mentally ill person firing a semi-automatic weapon in a classroom is not a well regulated militia.
“Lawmakers have not changed our gun laws despite how much our guns have advanced since 1792, when the amendment was approved. But can we really trust that the lawmakers who are being paid off by the NRA or national rifle association would want to restrict guns? I don’t think we can,” Flint continued. (See above left photo of Flint.)
“It’s not okay for a mentally ill person to own a semi-automatic weapon to kill 17 people and the government is doing nothing about it,” said Oliver Hettenbach, a student at King Middle School (He’s in the above right photo on the left.)
Mayor Ethan Strimling who watched the Walkout at Monument Square said: “I’m very proud of these students for raising their voices. I hope the adults will listen.”
“It’s critical that we listen to the courageous young people who’ve written to us to say they are terrified that gun violence will come to their school as it did to Parkland, FL last month. We want Congress to do and keep them safe. It shouldn’t take thousands of lost lives or young people walking out on their schools for Republican leaders to pass commonsense gun reforms, but I am hopeful the efforts of these young people will inspire meaningful action from the grassroots to the Speaker’s office,” write Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME.) in a press release just issued by her office.
Congresswoman Pingree joined with other members of Congress for a Walkout in front of the U.S. Capitol today.
Please visit previous post herein for more background information on the National School Walkout in Portland.