Why the walkout was neeeded


Students stand in a circle on the March 14th Walkout. The walkout was held to memorialize the lives lost in Parkland.

Alexis Mearkle, Reporter

Wednesday, March 14, Big Spring and many other high schools across the country, held a walkout for the lives lost in Parkland and other school shootings.

Big Spring students who signed up left their classes at 10:00 for a memorial in the gymnasium. A circle was formed where students stood shoulder to shoulder, and on the far side of the gymnasium student organizers held up pictures of the victims. They said a short description about who the victim was, and then had a moment of silence for each person. After that, students who felt comfortable enough went outside for an additional moment of silence.

Every school who participated in the walkout did it for different reasons. Other districts had their walkout to put pressure on Congress to pass better gun legislature. The ease of accessibility to guns is what caused many of these shootings, specifically the most recent mass shooting in Parkland. The shooter was able to legally purchase his guns despite his erratic behavior that led to expulsion, an FBI report, and a lengthy record with the local sheriff’s office.

The Washington Post reports that there have been at least 130 school shootings at the elementary, middle school, and high school level since 2000. Add an additional 50 to that number if counting colleges and universities. While looking at these facts, there is no denying that this is a major issue. What the masses can’t seem to agree on is what we, as a country, should do to put an end to them.

Opponents of the walkout instead proposed to have a walk-up. The idea behind the “Walk Up” is that instead of walking out of school in memorial, or protest, walk up to 14 students and 3 teachers and get to know them or say something kind. While being a meaningful idea, the problem with this is that students should strive be kind every day, not just on March 14.

The previous idea also seems to be wide spread by those who promote victim blaming. There is an idea floating around that school shootings could be prevented if students act nicer. The reality is that bullying never played a role in the motives of many shooters. If anything, they were often found to be bullying other students and displaying unacceptable behaviors that caused their outcast status. The Parkland shooter, for example, threatened and harassed his peers, bragged about killing animals, and took disturbing photos with guns.

In addition, it is a common narrative that these shooters suffer from mental illness. However, the American Psychiatric Association published in 2016 that only 1% of mass shooting perpetrators can be considered mentally ill, so that argument isn’t necessary credible.

The truth is, that agreed with or not, Wednesday’s walkout definitely got a lot of attention. This sends the message that students and educators feel very strongly about this, and will not go away. The series of protests and memorials across the country seem to be putting a lot of pressure on schools and congress to take action.

After reading this, check out the video that Reporter Noah Blessing made about Wednesday’s walkout.