Breaking News: West Continues Their Fight For Gun Control

By Lexi Lee, Staff Contributor

Orange tags with “$1.05” written in large bold letters dangled from the wrists of Niles West students as they joined the rest of the nation in the fight against gun control. “$1.05” emitted a powerful message, symbolizing the amount politicians receive from the NRA for every student enrolled in Florida.

All over the country, students walked out of their schools in memoriam of the Columbine High School Massacre, as April 20 marks its 19th anniversary. Recently on March 14 of this year, there was another national walkout where students protested for more restrictive gun legislation.

Sophomore Hope Barkov participated in both walkouts and explained the difference between the two.

“Nineteen years have passed since two gunmen open-fired Columbine high school, killing thirteen people and then themselves. We have not forgotten and we have not stopped fighting for justice. Columbine, we have not forgotten you,” Barkov said on the purpose of today’s walkout. “Please lie or sit down for the next thirteen minutes of silence, each minute honoring a victim of Columbine.”

As each minute passed, Barkov could be heard reading the name of each victim. Following the 13 minutes of silence, senior Sofia Dekhtyar continued the walkout by thanking those participating and explaining her experience meeting students on the Southwest side of Chicago.

“The planning for this walkout was much different. I became more involved with the issue at hand,”Dekhtyar said. “Some of us say we live in Chicago, even though we live in Skokie, but really they [students on the southwest side] live in Chicago. Talking to them about what it’s like to live there was very eye-opening. We are so lucky that we have places to hang out after school We are so fortunate that we do not have to doubt in our mind that we will see our friends the next day.”

Junior Kyle Ardelean did not play a part in organizing the walkout, but he made his own mark with his poster which stated: “Guns don’t kill people/ people kill people.” This caused a debate amongst the original organizers and Ardelean on whether or not guns were the problem or people.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about guns and a lot of people think that banning weapons will solve the problem, but it will not,” Ardelean said. “The issue that we have now, is that we have people, like from Parkland, going up on stage and saying that it is easier to get a gun than it is to make plans with your friends over the weekend, and that is completely and utterly false.”

Eventually, Ardelean and the organizers came to an understanding and ended the walkout with a handshake of solidarity.

The organizers hope that, as a society, we can continue to engage in conversations so that we can understand each other better and ensure the safety of more lives.

Continue the fight against gun violence Sat., April 21 at 12:00 p.m. by joining students of Brighton Park, Gage Park, and back of the yards in a 153-minute silent protest because sometimes “silence is louder than words.”