One of the most vehement arguments against gun control and the national school walkouts is the #WalkUpNotOut movement. Basically, this promotes the idea of kindness among students, so as to prevent future school shootings. Of all the stupid, derailing thoughts to come out of this debate, this has to be one of the most poorly constructed. The basic premise is that students should be nice to each other and that in and of itself will prevent any and all school shootings.
This completely derails the point of the walkouts. While yes, it is important to always be kind, kids can be mean. They are young and often don’t know better and will make mistakes. This movement places the blame on students, so if a shooting were to occur, it’s because the students weren’t nice enough to the shooter.
Since the Parkland shooting, people have been doing their best to blame it on anything besides the obvious cause: guns. I find it so unbelievably insulting that people insist that bullying is a cause of school shootings, and this is coming from someone who was bullied from first grade through junior high. I was bullied for my appearance, for the way I talked, the way I spoke, the way I dressed and yet I never felt the urge to get a gun and shoot up my school. Was I unhappy at school? Yes, but I never wanted to retaliate against my bullies; I just wanted to get away from them. I wanted them to leave me alone. But I didn’t want them to die.
If we really want to talk about bullying in the school system, if we really want to fix it, we can do that. But the focus shouldn’t be shifted from the current problem at hand. Bullying is a problem. Just like education funding is a problem. Just like teacher pay is a problem. Just like outdated class materials are a problem. There are many problems in the education system. We can’t suddenly start caring about bullying because we don’t want to focus on gun control. This is a multi-faceted problem, and if we’re going to take it one step at a time, we have to start with guns.