By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS EDITORIAL BOARD
On Mar. 14, thousands of students nationwide, from elementary school to college, participated in the National School Walkout. The event was a protest against gun violence and was organized by student survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The event proved controversial, with some schools banning students from walking out of classes, and alternatively, other schools creating large scale events to recognize the walkout and memorialize the victims.
Several student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting have also organized the March For Our Lives, which will take place on Mar. 24. The organization has obtained a permit to march in Washington, D.C., with “sibling” marches taking place in many major cities throughout the country and worldwide. As of publication, the March For Our Lives website listed 738 officially registered marches internationally.
The March For Our Lives website states that “the mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”
On Mar. 2, an email was sent out to all UMW students through OrgSync regarding the march. Due to popular demand from students, charter bus rides to Washington, D.C. for the march will be provided to UMW students.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other school shootings before it have struck fear in the hearts of students worldwide. Students should not be afraid to go to school and get an education because of the possibility of an active shooter. Stronger gun laws must be passed to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from getting access to semi-automatic weapons intended to inflict mass casualties. AR-15 rifles, like the one the shooter used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy, serve no purpose other than to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. There is no good reason for individual citizens to have access to a military weapon.
The editorial board of the Blue & Gray Press stands with the students who walked out of class today and supports their right to freedom of speech, and also encourages students to participate in the March For Our Lives. While registration for the bus rides closed on Mar. 12, students seeking transportation should not be discouraged and should work together to carpool with each other to Washington, D.C. They also can participate in the local Fredericksburg march being held on Route 3 at William St., just a short walk from campus. Students should feel empowered to stand up for what they believe in and exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly.