Time for Change


Walkout flyer for gun control February 27

Adrion Folse and Emma Mackey

Wednesday the 14th, at 2:20 p.m. an Uber was taken by Nikolas Cruz to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the former student opened fire with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. This attack resulted in 17 deaths and 14 more injuries. Those who lost their lives include; Alyssa Alhadeff, Martin Duque Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet, Jamie Guttenberg, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, Peter Wang, Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, and Chris Hixon.


Fifteen of these deaths were in or around the school campus, while the other two died at a nearby hospital. There is no doubt that there has been a staggering increase in mass shootings in the United States in recent years. From the Sandy Hook shooting, to the Las Vegas attack, and now the Florida school shooting, these three attacks have resulted in 102 deaths and 562 non-fatal injuries.


Since the Columbine High School Massacre, the number of mass shootings in the U.S. has experienced a sharp increase. The country is left mourning once again and  wondering yet again what is causing the increase and what can be done to put an end to these attacks. Who or what is to blame for these deaths? Many people think that gun control will solve the problem, but this may not be the case. 


There is something mentally wrong with these attackers that needs to be addressed first. There are signs that these people are troubled. In the case of the Florida shooting, there were reports of a YouTube account under the same name as the shooter saying, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” and there was also an Instagram account under the same name showing pictures of guns and dead animals.  The shooter was expelled from his school, his mother had died, and he was known to have a history of violence and a short temper. All of these things were red flags but still nothing could be done to prevent this attack.


One week after the attack, the influence of an attack this large is being felt across the nation. According to reports from CNN, 56 “copycat” incidents regarding students who have made similar threats or brought weapons on to campus have occurred since February 14. From 11-year-olds passing notes containing threats just a town away from Parkland, Florida, to 17-year-old students concealing guns within the pockets of their jackets in Houston.


Even closer to home and more recent, Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colorado, arrested a student who posted threats to Snapchat February 20th. Also on February 20th  another student made a “joke” threat against Dakota Ridge and Columbine High Schools. Even earlier in the week, three students in Jefferson and Mesa County were issued charges related to their threats.


Many of these students have been charged, which usually results in jail time and will go on permanent records. Having been charged with a felony, a person will have to reveal that information to prospective employers and colleges, impacting the futures of many students who were perhaps simply “joking.” There is nothing funny about this and threats are not a joke. 


Students at Poudre High School here in Fort Collins felt very connected to the Florida shooting, compelling them to stage a walkout in protest of all the violence and in support of the students at Marjory Stoneman. On Tuesday the 27th at noon, students at Poudre High School have planned to walk out of their school, join students from Polaris and finish the march in Old Town Fort Collins. They encourage students all across PSD to join wherever they can, whether that be at Poudre at noon or simply meeting at Old Town Square around 1:00 pm. Organizers of the walk out are encouraging Rocky students to wear their Rocky gear to show the different PSD schools coming together. 


Allie Holton, a student at Poudre High School, shared her own reasons for helping to organize the protest saying, “We went into a lockdown drill at the same time as the Florida shooting was happening; a lot of us didn’t know it was a drill and were getting notifications of a school shooting. No parent, child or teacher deserves that.”


American kids are fed up. People like Holton are following in the footsteps of the Parkland survivors by bringing attention to the issues that are plaguing this generation.