VOICES FROM THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES IN WAUSAU, PART 2
Kristin Conway, the organizer for Moms Demand Action (MDA) in the Wausau area, reflected on the mass killings in recent years. A few months ago, MDA began with two people. Thirty-five people attended the meeting after the Parkland shooting.
Moms Demand Action provided a table inside the Wausau Mall with literature, voting information, and postcards. Participants wrote messages on the cards that were then sent to Congressman Duffy’s office.
Marchers solemnly marched to Congressman Duffy’s empty office.
“Now we ask for some silence and mindful thoughts or prayers, as we read the names of students and teachers that died because Congress has continued to do nothing:
Alyssa Alhadeff; Martin Duque Anguiano; Jamie Guttenberg; Chris Hixon; Luke Hoyer; Cara Loughran; Gina Montalto; Joaquin Oliver; Alaina Petty; Meadow Pollack; Jelena Ramsay; Alex Schachter; Carmen Schentrup; Peter Wang; Jaelynn Willey; Aaron Feis and Scott Beigel. And all the victims, survivors, family, friends and teachers going back to the first large scale shooting in recent history in Jonesboro, Arkansas.”
As each name was read, a student placed a white rose in front of Congressman Duffy’s office. The mood was somber. Marchers hugged one another as they walked away.
I asked two questions of the Marchers: Why are you here? What gun safety reforms do you want to see enacted?
Will came to support the students’ efforts. He wants students to be protected and safe while in school. Will supports additional funding for school safety and training.
Lexie, a UW-Stevens Point student, believes it is the students’ right to be safe while in school. Lexie supports additional mental health services for students.
Terry said, “Enough is Enough!” Terry supports an assault weapons ban.
Gene wants to see an end to gun violence. School kids need to be safe. Gene supports a ban on assault style weapons and the ammo that is used.
Lanore is “sick and tired” by the use of “guns of war” to end the lives of so many. Lanore wants a ban on semi-automatic weapons as well as the ammo.
Keith, a “Hunter for Change,” states the NRA needs to change. Keith supports banning large capacity magazines, bump stocks, assault weapons, and the ammo.
Julie, “Real Hunters don’t need the NRA,” joined the March because she doesn’t want kids to get killed anymore and supports background checks.
Jerry, “Books Not Bullets,” a teacher, wants to support the cause of the young people. Jerry wants a ban on semi-automatic weapons and the ammo.
Adam, with his young daughter, said “Enough is Enough.” Adam wants an assault weapons ban. Ammo must be purchased through a licensed shooting range.
Maddie, a student at D.C. Everest High School, came to sway the public and lawmakers for the need of stricter gun laws, universal background checks and mental health services.
Lizzie, a student at DCE High School, doesn’t feel safe in school. Lizzie described a lockdown at the Junior High. The janitors led everyone outside, then inside, while the teachers were on the roof. Once inside, the students huddled down for two hours.
Wes says what is happening is “insane.” He spoke about the gun violence and the suicide rates. Wes wants a ban on assault weapons, the ammo, and universal background checks.
Steve, a former teacher in Chicago, remembered his students who were killed in Chicago. Steve sees the need for mental health services for students in all grades.
Steve and his mother, Carolyn, were part of the Cease Fire Movement in Chicago.
Jonathon, a student at Horace Mann, held a sign: We the People Want Gun Control. Jonathon wants a ban on automatic weapons and high capacity magazines.
Jonathon’s dad, Kent who is a hunter, wants to see real change. As a hunter, he knows that it only takes one bullet at the most two. He doesn’t see the need for a semi-assault weapon or the ammo.
Dr. Ernest E. Moore states, “The AR-15 is designed to kill as efficiently as possible. I am a trauma surgeon, and I’ve seen what an AR-15S can do. There is no reason for civilians to own them.”
Maddie, from Wausau East, wants to be safe in school. She is sad that it has come to this. Maddie wants universal background checks and to expand the wait time.
Ka came to support the students. Ka wants sensible gun safety legislation.
As of March 24th, 73 teens have been shot to death since the mass murders in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
As of March 26th, there have been eight school shootings this year. Details about the shootings can be found at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5581283/school-shootings-2018-us-america-how-many-florida-parkland-shooting/
Shootings are now the third leading cause of death for children in the U.S.
A study published in the journal of Pediatrics showed that an average of 5,790 children are treated in the emergency room for gun-related injuries in the United States each year. The study found that 1,297 children, on average, die each year from gun-related injuries.
Anna Kleiber, one of the student organizers for March for Our Lives, asked this question: “…how many more kids need to die before we do something about stronger gun laws?” The students and their supporters are still waiting for an answer.