• Marty Mc'Clarkey

Why I Didn't Walk Out

I'm a high school senior, and for as far back as I can recall, gun control has never been a more heated issue in my life than today.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a massive #MarchForOurLives protests across the United States, and more people are taking to social media to either ‘destroy the NRA-brainwashed pigs’ or to ‘savagely roast the liberal snowflakes’ in fierce gun control flame wars. Not to mention their have been numerous walkouts at schools across the country after the infamous Parkland shooting. My school had one too.

Some schools either accepted the walkouts or blocked them from ever happening, but on March 14th, Manhasset High School, my school, went one step ahead of the former. Being in a pretty well-educated and liberal area, my school hosted the walkout, and allowed all students to participate. Lots of students and friends of mine participated in the walkout ... but I stayed in school.

Having a free period at the time the walkout was taking place, I stayed in the high school library ... and prayed. I stood there praying for a solid 45 minutes, through all of my 3rd period, while the walkout was taking place. Some other students who didn't participate just did homework or chatted with each other, but I prayed. Afterwards, I thanked the librarian for allowing me to demonstrate, and headed on to lunch.

Now, if you are a gun-control or #MarchForOurLives advocate, you might be thinking, "What the hell! Why didn't you go out on the walkout?

Two reasons, actually … and neither of them are actually concerned with gun control (though I have my thoughts against it, which I will talk about in another post).

One, I didn't like how the school was the one hosting the demonstration, as it was, in my mind, violating the whole point of civil disobedience. If I wanted to go on a walkout, I would prefer getting in trouble with the school over it rather than just going out to town for 17 minutes with friends, which is pretty much what happened with Manhasset’s walkout.

Two, mass shootings, as horrible as they are, are just a bad way of looking at the need for gun control. Sure, you can argue we have more than other countries and that we should do something about it, it pisses me off when somebody stands on tombstones and manipulates people’s emotions so that they can “do something” about the problem without really giving a solution. If I wanted to support gun control, I would have wanted a rational, sincere debate where data and statistics could be compared, not some emotional verbal smackdowns between students and NRA advocates.

Other than that, I wanted to pray specifically because it didn’t seem fair to just sit around third period. There are other ways to demonstrate, and you can do so right in your own school, not just outside of it.

So for anyone who wants to support gun control, I want to give you this idea. If you want to walk out of school the next time ‘National Walkout Day’ comes around, but your school bars you in … just pray. You don’t even have to be religious to pray. Just being there demonstrating is good enough, because as I stated before, there are other ways to demonstrate.

As for those who are against gun control, feel free to voice your concerns as well. No one, not even the most regressive leftist, should shut you up based on your political views. Just as the Parkland kids walked out of school to demonstrate, you too should use freedom of assembly to your advantage.

In the end, I’m proud that more high-school kids like myself are getting into politics, but we should all just remember that we should “agree to disagree”. We all have different ideas of how to fix the epidemic of gun violence in America, and gun control is just one of those ideas. So, to the fellow high school students out there, feel free to demonstrate, and don’t let anyone put you down, no matter what you believe.

As stated before, I’ll go into detail on my thoughts around gun control in another post, but for now, just keep what I just said in mind for March 12th next year, since it might come around again.

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Marty Mc'Clarkey

Washington, DC