What you missed at the March for Our Lives in Wilmington Saturday

As America recovers from yet another school shooting, Headlines are dominating the March for Our Lives movement as gun violence remains an ongoing issue.

WILMINGTON (DE): While Tens of thousands gathered at a “March for Our Lives” rally in New York City on Saturday and held a moment of silence to honor 17 people killed during a school shooting in Florida just last month, hundreds of students, parents, leaders, local politicians, and the community came together in front of the Howard School of Technology in Wilmington to join one of thousands of sister marches worldwide to demand better gun control.

The deadly school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida has ignited national outrage and calls for action on gun reform. While certain policies may help decrease gun violence in general, it’s unlikely that any of them will prevent mass school shootings, according to James Alan Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern.

While a national outcry was under way for better gun control, America reels in yet another school shooting. The latest at Great Hills H.S. in Great Hills, MD.

Initial reports suggested that Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, the resource officer at Great Mills High School, in Great Mills, MD, might have killed the shooter, 17-year-old Austin Rollins.

Hundreds of people assembled at the March for Our Lives protest and rally at Howard H.S. of technology in Wilmington, where they marched to Rodney Square chanting and carrying signs as police blocked off traffic along the march route.

In a statement issued by the St. Mary’s County sheriff’s office, it was said that evidence indicates that  on last Tuesday, after Rollins fired a single shot that hit one student in the head and another in the leg, he was confronted in a hallway by Gaskill.

Rollins, however, then “fired one fatal shot to his head; simultaneously DFC Gaskill also fired one non-fatal shot, which struck the weapon in Rollins’ hand,” it said.

One of the two students hit by Rollins, 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey, died two days later after being taken off life support. The 14-year-old with the leg wound survived.

“People always want to know ‘when does it get back to normal?’” said Frank DeAngelis, who was the principal at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in 1999 when two students gunned down 13 classmates and staff members. “And unfortunately, it does not. You really have to redefine what normal is.”

Like Parkland, FL students, Delaware students, parents, teachers, leaders, politicians, and communities are fighting back and standing up to what they believe is the right thing to do because they’ve had #ENOUGH, and they #NEVERAGAIN want to see another school shooting.

The march started at Howard H.S. of technology in Wilmington where hundreds gathered and eventually marched to Rodney Square chanting “Ballots, not bullets!”, “No more silence! End gun violence!”, and “Enough!”, as police blocked off traffic along the march route while protesters marched chanting and carrying signs like “ENOUGH heartbroken grandmas”, #NEVERAGAIN, Actions not prayers”, “No more children need to die, regulation NOW!”, No more silence, end gun violence”, “Do we have to wait until it’s your kid”, ‘You don’t need a gun to feel powerful”, among many others.

Many well-known politicians like Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, Senator Tom Carper, and Dennis Greenhouse marched along with an estimated 400 others towards Rodney Square, briefly stopping at the J.C. Boggs Federal building where organizers made a few remarks before marching on.

Many other politicians such as Governor John Carney, Senator Chris Coons, and Wilmington mayor Mike Purzycki made remarks at the rally, but the most inspiring one was former Vice President, Joe Biden. Biden, a Greenville native made a surprise visit to the rally. As he approaches the podium and begins his remarks he says, “I was supposed to go to the biggie, but I wanted to come home.” He goes on to say, “Folks, I want you to know a couple of things. First, we can beat the NRA, I did beat the NRA”.

“Too many people are dying, too many children are being hurt. Here’s the deal. You guys…you know you talk about how you’re gonna change things, you are going to change things!”

“You’ve got to register, you have to register, you have to go out and help people at the polls, you gotta help candidates, because folks, there’s no place to hide!, there’s no place to hide!”

“This is about money, this is about greed, this is about the manufacturers, and this is about you putting an end to it! Don’t stop! Don’t stop!”

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The Wilmington event was organized in part by the same students that led the school walk out on March 14th along with Youth Caucus of America, which works to promote youth advocacy and youth rights in the United States.

“Bullying is not the root of the gun violence problem. The root of the gun violence problem is easy access to guns”, “I believe that limiting access to guns will result in less gun violence. It makes sense. Less guns, less people killed by guns”, says Sofia Rose, co-organizer, who also organized the March 14th Delaware walk out of school day, where students all across the state joined a national walk out of class day for 14 minutes. One minute for each of the students killed in the Parkland, FL school shooting.

“We want all gun sales to be checked and those with criminal histories rejected”, shouted Wyatt Patterson a Sanford student at the podium.

At just 11-years-old, Nekayla Stokes, who represents the Stop the Violence Prayer Chain Foundation, said, “Enough is enough to tell our local, state, and government officials before responding to the gun control issues, think about your decisions, think about us”

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki Issues Statement in Support of March For Our Lives Events Locally and Nationally, “Today Americans across the country are demonstrating for stricter gun laws to serve as bulwarks against acts of gun violence, especially in our schools. Current generations have been too faint-hearted when it came to standing up to the gun lobby. Now, we look to our children to show us the way. The very least we can do is to stand with them against those who exist by peddling fear. We can be uplifted by the courage of this amazing generation of our youngest voters. Let us be emboldened by their example.”

According to March for Our Lives, “Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of an assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.”

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