Editor’s note: Shelley Dean is a senior at Hazen High School.
On Saturday March 24 my friends and I joined the March for Our Lives event in Seattle. The march was a sight to see. With more than 10,000 people,there was a sea of orange, black, and signs of every color.
The signs — which were made with tape, markers and lots of hate toward the NRA — were the most interesting part of the march. They read everything from “I wish your guns were as well regulated as my uterus” to simply “Not One More.” The passion in the people who attended the march was truly astounding.
Before the actual march began, speakers took the stage to share their personal experiences. The students who organized the whole event shared how much this meant to them. U.S. Senator Patty Murray even spoke and reassured the crowd of her efforts to make Washington as safe as possible. With every statistic thrown at us of the horrifying truth of gun violence in the county, our signs lifted and the crowd roared. The anticipation grew for the march to begin.
From Cal Anderson Park to Seattle Center, we could feel the resistance to gun violence grow. As we chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go” and “No more silence, end gun violence,” the sense of community grew stronger.
This was one of the many reasons I decided to attend the march — to meet others who are just as passionate about reform as I am.
As a student in high school, this issue involves me now more than ever before. As most of the recent news coverage regarding gun violence revolve around school shootings, my fear has heightened. I should be worrying about the English paper I have due on Thursday, not the best place to hide if an active shooter entered the building.
I marched because my mom works in a school and is just as vulnerable as I am.
I marched because I have friends at more than 10 schools around me.
We are tired of feeling helpless. The march was an outlet for us to not feel that way.
At the march I registered to vote because even little old me can do something to rectify this huge problem. Like it said on the sign I carried: “Ballots Can Stop Bullets.”
Although very important now, the issue of gun violence has always been prevalent to me because I don’t think it gets enough attention. Every time a shooting occurs, the media mostly covers the shooter and not the victims or what could have been done to stop it. We need to stop humanizing the shooter and dehumanizing the victims.
After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, my friend and I sat in a room with our government teacher to figure out if there was anything we could do. We were tired of getting notifications of a shooting that is followed by thoughts and prayers, then silence. We want change, we want a safer state and nation.
We came to the conclusion that we could participate in marches, walkouts and write to our senators. Since then I have done all three.
We are asking for reform, not for all guns to be banned.
The problem is not guns, necessarily. It is the type of guns that are easily attainable. What I would like to see going forward is a reform on the types of weapons that can be sold. A ban should be put on semi-automatic rifles and accessories. No one needs such powerful and harmful weapons.
Additionally, the minimum age for purchasing a firearm should be raised to at least 21. I am still in high school; I should not be able to purchase a gun that could kill my classmates. These reforms could save lives. “Lives that are more important than your guns,” as another sign I spotted at the march read.
I believe we can all work together as a nation to make our children feel safe in school. The issue is making groundbreaking progress ever since the Parkland shooting. Like the students there say, the NRA messed with the wrong school. They are coming for the guns that took their classmates lives and they are ruthless.
I think we could all take a lesson from them.
As Emma Gonzalez said at the March on Washington, you need to “fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”