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Monmouth College die-in protest

March 16, 2018

Lily Guillen / The Courier

This time feels different. By now, the pattern has almost become a part of the culture: mass shooting happens, the adults hop onto various news stations and bicker, some solutions are proposed, and none get adopted. For years, activists, parents, and observers have expressed frustration, sadness, and outright disbelief. From former President Barack Obama’s constant demand that the shootings never become “normal,” to the downright toxic nature of the gun debate, we’ve done this dance before. For all we were warned, these moments have become normal.

But in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida, what was once normal might just be changing. It certainly seemed so on Wednesday, March 14th. Across the nation, high school and college students walked out of their classrooms and places of work in solidarity with the people who have been killed as a result of mass shootings. This time, though, the activism was centered on and led by students. Inspired by the response from the students who survived the Stoneman Douglas shootings, a national day of activism reached the hearts of a few members of Monmouth College. At exactly ten o’clock in the morning, in front of Wallace Hall, a group of students held a “die-in,” in which students laid on the ground as if they were victims themselves for 16 minutes. The length represents the over 1600 mass shootings that have occurred in the US since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 27 victims, not including the shooter.

Overall, the response from the participants was positive. Junior Psychology major Jamie Donahue was hopeful, but kept her thoughts focused squarely on the victims, saying “it was a good way to show solidarity to the high school kids who are most affected by the shootings.” Meanwhile, high schools across the nation showed the same solidarity, and colleges like Monmouth put out statements saying that students who participate will not have the resulting discipline held against them in admissions. Senior Sociology and Anthropology double major Becca Mills took a similar approach, saying that “silent protests like these, especially when they are nationally organized, show that people are not alone.”

Though the protest itself was silent, it certainly wasn’t passive. Students were looking to show solidarity with a distinctly social movement for concrete change. It is, of course, a tragedy that it has come to this, something the participants on Wednesday certainly were aware of when they arrived. But since Stoneman Douglas did become the latest tragedy, students in Monmouth, Parkland, and across the nation are dedicated to making sure that this will be the last one. And if these voices are heard, and this time really is different, then Parkland just might be the last time an article like this has to be written.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

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