‘Enough is enough’

Students across US join walk-out against guns

By COLLIN BINKLEY

Associated Press

Declaring enough is enough, tens of thousands of young people from Maine to California walked out of school to demand action on gun violence Wednesday in one of the biggest student protests since the Vietnam era.

Braving snow in New England and threats of school discipline in places like Georgia and Ohio, they carried signs with messages like “Am I Next?,” chanted slogans against the National Rifle Association and bowed their heads in memory of the 17 dead in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“We’re sick of it,” said Maxwell Nardi, a senior at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico, Virginia, just outside Richmond. “We’re going to keep fighting, and we’re not going to stop until Congress finally makes resolute changes.”

Around the nation, students left class at 10 a.m. local time for at least 17 minutes — one minute for each of the dead in Florida. At some schools, students didn’t go outside but lined the hallways, gathered in gyms and auditoriums or wore orange, the color used by the movement against gun violence, or maroon, the school color at Stoneman Douglas.

Over and over, students declared that too many young people have died and that they are tired of going to school afraid of getting killed.

“Enough is enough. People are done with being shot,” said Iris Foss-Ober, 18, a senior at Washburn High School in Minneapolis.

Some schools applauded students for taking a stand or at least tolerated the walkouts, while others threatened punishment.

Protesters called for such measures as tighter background checks on gun purchases and a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the Florida bloodbath.

As the protests unfolded, the NRA responded by posting a photo on Twitter of a black rifle emblazoned with an American flag. The caption: “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.”

Walkouts interrupted the day at schools from the elementary level through college, and at some that have witnessed their own mass shootings. About 250 students gathered on a soccer field at Colorado’s Columbine High School, while students who survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack in 2012 walked out of Newtown High School in Connecticut.

In joining the protests, the students followed the example set by many of the survivors of the Florida shooting, who have become gun-control activists, leading rallies, lobbying legislators and giving TV interviews. Their efforts helped spur passage last week of a Florida law curbing access to assault rifles by young people.

In Washington, more than 2,000 high-school age protesters observed the 17 minutes of silence by sitting on the ground with their backs turned to the White House as a church bell tolled. President Donald Trump was in Los Angeles at the time.

The protesters carried signs with messages such as “Our Blood/Your Hands” and “Never Again” and chanted slogans against the NRA.