NRA advocacy versus a persons life

NRA advocacy versus a person’s life

The sound of your alarm clock rattles around your head and all you can think about is how much you want to go back to sleep. You drag yourself out of bed and walk downstairs to the smell of breakfast, a meal your parents make you every morning. You pull yourself together, say goodbye to your parents and catch the bus just like any other ordinary day.

You get to school and see your friends before heading to first period. An echoing “good morning” fills the hallway, you quickly turn around and see your best friend as always. You gradually walk to class together just like any other ordinary day.

What you didn’t know was that this wouldn’t be just like any other ordinary day.

Your typically tedious English class ended up being interrupted by the sound of pelting gunshots ringing your ears. Thoughts are chasing around your mind because you have no idea what to do. You frantically reach for your phone and sprint out the door, not looking back or knowing what will happen next.

Once you reach the parking lot you hectically call your parents, letting them know you’re okay, but that there has just been a school shooting.

This is what has happened to more than 20 schools in 2018. This is also what happened to 1,369 high school students at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky on Jan. 24. There were two students that lost their lives that day and opinions on gun control started to heat up.

Because of an incomplete attempt to rid of mass shootings, especially in schools, this video explains the reason behind them.

On Feb. 14, there was another school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida which resulted in 17 deaths. This event caused a chain reaction of government proposals, rallies and media coverage of students’ voices being heard for the first time.

The perception of school shootings becoming “normal” angered students all around the nation and they began to organize rallies, marches and walkouts and many state governments turned to the drawing board. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is taking a lot of heat for profiting from these shootings. The NRA gives Kentucky legislators money which encourages them to keep their ties and opinions along the lines of the NRA. The legislators who receive money are James Comer ($4,950), Andy Barr ($2,000), Paul Rodger ($2,000) and Brett Guthrie ($1,000). John Yarmuth has an F grade from the NRA, receives no money and is in no fear of getting voted out of office. He even wears the F proudly on his chest for everyone to see.

The NRA is being supported by powerful political figures and country leaders. President Donald Trump has been outwardly supportive to the goals of the NRA.

Donations from the public to the NRA have tripled since the Parkland shooting. This gives them even more money and resources to give politicians and promote new politicians who endorse them. Because these politicians are the majority, it is difficult to pass laws that support gun reform in the United States.

“The NRA especially disgusts me because their actions go against the safety of the public and often the wishes of their majority constituency,” Marshall Washington (12, HSU) said.

Hundreds of students in JCPS participated in a nation-wide walkout on March 14 in which students would leave class at 10 a.m. and stay silent for 17 minutes, a minute for each Parkland student who perished. Click here for a recap of the event. 

Because talk about gun control has been encouraged and after being hit close to home, the Kentucky government created Senate Bill 103 which would allow public school boards and private schools to tap teachers or staff to serve as “school marshals” and allow them to carry a gun on campus if they have a concealed carry permit. This bill did not get passed and there has been no more talk about it.

Motivated by the amount of student participation and government action, India Smith, a duPont Manual High School junior, started a plan to have a city-wide march for students to rise up and speak out against the injustice regarding gun laws. On March 24, citizens of Louisville were invited to fill the corner of Brook and Witherspoon at 1 p.m. and then to march on towards the steps of Metro Hall.

“I didn’t know why more people weren’t using their voices to overcome the people in power. School shootings are not a joke and adding guns is simply not the best option,” Smith said. “We allow the NRA to influence our elected representatives. Our march didn’t have to be as big as D.C., I know it made a difference.”

The entirely student-led march brought almost 1,000 people with signs and their voices to downtown Louisville in the freezing cold rain. The rain didn’t drown out the sound of people yelling chants like “this is what democracy looks like” and “ain’t no power like the power of the people ’cause the power of the people don’t stop.”

When students reached the steps, it started with the chants, but speakers eventually came on and gave various types of speeches.

duPont Manual High School senior Marshall Washington was also part of the organization of this event. At first, he wasn’t planning on speaking, but the other organizers recommended he emcee the event which he happily obliged.

“I’m going to keep protesting and speaking my mind until I see some change and some results,” Washington said. “The march and protest gave me a lot of faith in my peers. Everyone coming together to show what they care about and unity on the issue was incredibly powerful, especially from people so young.”

One speaker at the march was the duPont Manual High School’s girls’ lacrosse team head coach Dean Walker. Over the past year, Walker has lost both of his children to gun violence. On March 19, 2017, his daughter Savannah was shot to death during a concert. A few months later on October 6, 2017, his son, Nathaniel Walker, had the access to a gun to play Russian Roulette with himself, even though he had suffered from a mental illness for years.

In his very touching speech, Walker addressed his experience in the past year with gun violence is a series of chapters, one for his daughter and one for his son.

“What I am compelled to do: to work for gun sense in our community and out country. Common sense legislation for responsible gun ownership in my goal,” Walker said.

His son, a man who was almost 28-years-old who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was able to buy a new gun without a license within two hours of knowing his sister has just been shot and killed.

“To help provide training and information to foster responsible gun ownership is what I commend,” Walker said. “Kentucky ranks 50th in regard to the amount of money it spends for mental health services, the worst in the United States and my son took the fault for that.”

John Yarmuth, a U.S. Representative for Kentucky, donated 300 shirts to students who attended the event and spoke about his failing grade from the NRA. He mentioned how many students don’t fully realize how involved the NRA is in every government. Yarmuth also emphasized the importance of youth activism and their importance in government, even though they can’t run for office.

This explainer video unravels the reality of why the NRA is still present in society and politics.

Feature image by Sam Frey.

About the Contributor
Maddie Gamertsfelder
Maddie Gamertsfelder, Co-Editor-in-Chief, 2019-2020
Maddie Gamertsfelder was a co-Editor-in-Chief on Manual RedEye for the 2019-20 staff. You can catch her on the lacrosse field, at a Y-club meeting, at Blaze Pizza. or hanging out with her friends. You can reach her at [email protected].
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