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Seniors organize walkout against gun violence in response to tragic Parkland shooting

Enough is enough! Enough is enough!

These words echoed around the campus of Dripping Springs High School on Wednesday, February 21, as students gathered their belongings and walked out of their classrooms in protest. Why?

Because students are tired of participating in the most disgusting waiting game we are all forced to play…

Waiting for the next mass shooting. When is it going to happen? Where is it going to happen? Will it be near home or in a place I’ve never heard of? Is it going to be a domestic terrorist or a foreign one? Why? WHY? WHY?

But I digress. I spoke my two cents on this problem less than two months ago in the My DSHS News December issue, where we covered mental health and the tragic mass shootings of Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs.

It is unfortunate to say that the issue persists, and the story still holds true in light of the recent events in Parkland, Florida.

Instead of me simply reiterating myself, if you are interested in my thoughts, visit http://www.issuu.com/mydshsnews/docs/mydshsnews_december_2017 and see Page 16.

This story, though, is not about my thoughts. A group of Dripping Springs seniors from the Young Democrats club, led by Mia Haraguchi, took it upon their shoulders to host an Anti-Gun Violence walkout at the flagpole, during which they honored the victims and heroes of the Parkland shooting, as well as other victims of mass shootings.

They also took the chance to urge students to be active in the fight for stricter regulations on guns by informing seniors who are of age to vote of upcoming elections, and by encouraging those who are too young to call their representatives and have their voice heard.

Being that this is Dripping Springs, a historically conservative area, it was no surprise to anybody that there was opposition to the walkout.

Seemingly led by Jackson Waight, many conservatives sported their MAGA gear and homemade pro-gun clothing and had no issue stepping to the front of the enormous crowd to oppose the Young Democrat leaders.

Some stated that Waight’s “hijacking” of the walkout to push his pro-gun narrative was disrespectful and ill-mannered, considering the event was slated to be a peaceful protest against gun violence and a memorial for those who passed in the Parkland shooting.

But when it came down to the nitty-gritty, the students were able to overcome their political differences to hold memoriam for the lives lost with a silent prayer for the victims and for safety in the future.

There’s a lesson in that. Look past the vanity on both Fox News and CNN. Look past the extremes that preach hatred for their opposition. Look past such surface level differences like politics, and remember that we’re all humans.

Because, regardless of the legality of the tools they use, and the work that needs to be done regarding that matter, remember what makes us different from the monsters we so abhor who make us grieve a different shooting every month.

Remember that we are all human.


Seeing that this is an extremely divisive issue, I saw it fit to let some of DSHS’ most adamant and vocal supporters from both the left and the right wing discuss why they support what they support and speak on the importance (or non-importance) of the walkout.

First and foremost is Mia Haraguchi (pictured below). She was one of the chief organizers of the rally itself and was one of the eight women who stood aside the flagpole and spoke to the audience.

“It’s often very divisive [in Dripping Springs], but to have this show of unity and have this many people who feel passionately about [gun violence] come out and demonstrate that they too want change, I thought it was very powerful,” Mia said when asked about the support for her opinion that stricter gun regulations are needed.

“I think it’s just the idea that enough is enough. It has been happening so many times. There’s that statistic of 18 school shootings this year. This keeps happening, and nothing seems to be changing. People are just getting tired of it,” Mia said.

Mia, along with others, has been a part of the Young Democrats Club since its inauguration, and the walkout is only the most recent political statement from the group.

“The 19th anniversary [of Columbine] is coming up in April, and just last week we have this [the Parkland] shooting. It’s as though everything has stayed the same in the last 19 years, and I think people are frustrated,” Mia said. “Regardless of the situation, we need some kind of change, because this can’t be allowed to keep happening.”

Mia and I also had the chance to briefly speak of the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to bury a proposed bill that would ban assault weapons.

“I think its disgusting. With what happened just last week, the fact that we’re still refusing to acknowledge that it’s a problem is just disgusting,” she said, “This would have been a perfect time to show solidarity, and to refuse to do that is just reprehensible.”

Next up is Jackson Waight, a senior who was the most vocal about his pro-gun opinions during the walk out.

Armed with his homemade t-shirt, complete with the phrases “Guns Don’t Kill People, Idiots Do”, “Second Amendment Supporter”, “Trump, MAGA”, and lastly, “Liberals, Get Help”, Waight took to the front of the crowd to make sure his voice was also heard.

“I thought initially that [the walkout] was about raising awareness for the kids that died. So that’s why I came, but I wore my pro-gun shirt to

support what I believe in [just] in case it was about guns, which it was, so that was false advertising, but I thought it would end up being about guns so I wanted to be involved,” Waight said when asked about his initial thoughts after hearing about the walkout.

Waight stood front and center throughout the entire event, often standing on the same platform as the eight organizers of the event to preach his pro-gun thoughts.

Many thought his behavior was antagonizing and rude, considering the event was to commemorate the lives of the Parkland 17, but Waight didn’t think so.

“I just wanted to be involved, you know, see what they had to say. It wasn’t about going in there trying to be bigger or trying to argue, I was trying to be respectful,” he said.

Regardless as to whether or not you agree with Waight’s pro-gun viewpoints or his arguably aggressive methods in speaking his mind,  Waight, just like the other side, deserves a chance to speak his mind.

“I just think that they [Democrats] are looking at the wrong viewpoint with guns. I don’t think guns are the issue. Obviously, guns were used in the thing [referring to the Parkland shooting], but it’s not the gun.It’s a mental health issue,” Waight said. “Guns are not the problem here. They’re blaming this on the gun which makes absolutely no sense. At a bombing, you blame the bomber, not the bomb.”

Written by Jaxson Power-Thornton, Editor-in-Chief

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