Archive for Saturday, March 24, 2018

Thousands in Lawrence and Topeka join March for Our Lives protest

Free State High junior Ruth Gathunguri finishes speaking to the crowd at South Park before the March For Our Lives along Massachusetts Street, Saturday, March 24, 2018.

Free State High junior Ruth Gathunguri finishes speaking to the crowd at South Park before the March For Our Lives along Massachusetts Street, Saturday, March 24, 2018.

March 24, 2018, 10:38 a.m. Updated March 24, 2018, 7:32 p.m.


On Saturday morning, more than 1,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Lawrence calling for an end to gun violence. Not even an hour later, several hundred gathered on the steps of the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, some 30 miles away.

Lawrence students and community members take part in the March For Our Lives on Massachusetts Street, Saturday, March 24, 2018.

Lawrence students and community members take part in the March For Our Lives on Massachusetts Street, Saturday, March 24, 2018.

The protesters in Lawrence, Topeka and across the globe were speaking out against gun violence and advocating for stricter gun control measures as part of the March for Our Lives movement, which arose in response to February’s school shooting at Parkland, Fla., and other recent mass shootings around the U.S.

Organizers said around 1,700 people gathered at Lawrence’s South Park to show support for responsible gun legislation. The group then marched north along Massachusetts Street, holding signs and chanting slogans such as “Enough is enough” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, gun violence has got to go.”

The Lawrence march was organized by local high school students and representatives of gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action.

Students and local legislators spoke from the South Park gazebo before the march, urging citizens to push for tighter gun control legislation.

Free State senior Sandhya Ravikumar told the crowd that mass shootings have become so common that she and her fellow students have become desensitized to them. She said the march was part of an effort to change that complacency and urged the teens in attendance to register to vote when they turn 18.

And in her remarks, Free State junior Ruth Gathunguri also asked the older attendees to take action.

“Ninety-six people will die a day — every single day — because of gun violence,” she said. “We came here today to say enough is enough. If I could vote, I would vote. I ask you all to get out there and vote so no more lives have to be lost.”

Lawrence legislators Barbara Ballard, Boog Highberger and Marci Francisco, all Democrats, said they were trying to advance responsible gun legislation despite strong opposition — backed by the National Rifle Association — in Topeka. Highberger said he was a supporter of the Second Amendment, but not as the NRA defined it.

“They want the wild, wild West,” he said. “But the wild, wild West had gun control. They made you check in your guns in Abilene.”

And Ballard said she grew up in a home where guns were kept locked and out of children’s hands until they were old enough to be taught how to safely hunt with them.

“That’s common sense. That’s how you keep safe,” she said. “When we go to school, we should be safe. When we walk down the street, we should be safe.”

The marchers walking down Massachusetts Street on Saturday echoed those sentiments.

Twelve-year-old Michael Leonard, who carried a sign reading “Thoughts and prayers do not save lives,” said he thought the march could be a first step toward change.

“There have been so many school shootings and nobody has done anything,” he said. “It feels like this is a start. There’s a lot of support in Lawrence to do something.”

And marcher Kylie Smith was hopeful that the national movement could send a message and make schools safer for kids, including her 10-year-old son, Skyler.

“My son should be safe when he goes to school,” she said. “I have always been opposed to irresponsible gun laws. I hope this time we can make a difference.”

Nevertheless, Free State student Grace Porter reminded attendees the march was only the beginning and that it would take a lot of effort to reform gun laws.

“We can march, we can make posters, but what are we going to do next?” she asked. “We have to get involved. We have to vote. We have to contact our representatives. We can call our senators and sit down and have a conversation with them. These things are accessible to us. We have to use the tools we have to be a part of this democracy to make the changes we want to see.”


Some local high schoolers also took their fight against gun violence to the Kansas Statehouse on Saturday.

Among the crowd of more than 700 protesters at the Statehouse were more than a dozen Lawrence High School students who had traveled to Topeka for the occasion, braving the blustery wind and chilly temperatures during what was one of their last remaining days of spring break.

Noah Ginsberg, a junior at LHS, said he had been “criticized” by some of his friends and peers for his decision to attend the rally. He’d been warned that he could become ostracized on social media for it, he said. But Ginsberg, 17, feels “there’s no reason not to let your voice be heard,” especially on an issue that he feels should be nonpartisan.

“You’ve got to have that courage and you’ve got to believe in the process,” he said.

Civic involvement was a major theme of Saturday’s protest, with multiple speakers calling on young people to become actively engaged in their government. In her remarks from the Statehouse steps, Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla encouraged young protesters not to be discouraged by those who say teens are not old enough to voice their opinions on gun control.

“We have heard from great leaders that we have government for the people, by the people,” she said. “And never once in our Constitution does it say that because you are not of voting age that you don’t have a voice.”

Barry Grissom, who served as the U.S. attorney for Kansas from 2010 to 2016, said politicians have been slow to pass even the broadest gun control measures despite constituents being largely in favor of relatively small reforms. Grissom cited recent poll results that he said he’d had trouble believing at first — that around 90 percent of Americans now support universal background checks on firearms.

Polls that CBS News and Quinnipiac University conducted in 2016 and 2017, respectively, both hover around 90 percent. Several other polls taken within the last two years also reveal broad support, give or take a few percentage points, for such measures.

Grissom, a self-proclaimed responsible gun owner, said his generation had failed in pushing legislators to pass common-sense gun reform, but he sees hope in today’s teens.

“As I stand here today and I see the energy, I see the commitment on the faces of these young people, I know my generation has passed the torch to these folks,” Grissom said.

“I know the folks behind those doors, they’re going to be listening come Monday,” he later said, gesturing toward the Statehouse entrance.

Students seemed to respond to that message. Later, when Grissom called on the crowd to promise each other to call their legislators on Monday, chants broke out from the teenagers gathered at the bottom of the Statehouse steps: “Time for a change! Time for a change!”

Julia Howell, a senior at Topeka High School who helped organize her school’s March 14 walkout, called on adults to practice a little empathy when dealing with young people. Howell said she was born in 1999, the same year that the deadly Columbine High School shooting took place in Colorado. Since then, she said, school shootings have become “normalized,” an accepted fact of life for a generation born and raised in the aftermath of Columbine.

But it shouldn’t be that way, Howell argued. It wasn’t that way for her parents, she said.

“This is our time now,” she told the crowd. "And we are calling BS!"

Sami Turner, a sophomore at Lawrence High, said she attended Saturday’s rally because she wants — and hopes — to “see change” in Kansas laws, including stricter background checks for those purchasing guns.

Earlier this month, the Kansas Senate passed a bill prohibiting people convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery from possessing firearms. Turner sees the bill as “a good start,” she said, “but we need to go further.”

“It definitely doesn’t stop here or on April 20,” Turner said, referring to National High School Walkout Day, planned for the anniversary of the Columbine massacre. “We’re going to keep going.”

Jim McHenry, a Topeka resident who spoke at a gun control rally earlier this month at the Statehouse, visited with Turner and her peers Saturday morning and offered some words of encouragement.

McHenry is among the survivors of the 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas, where gunman Charles Whitman killed 14 people and injured 31 others from the observation deck atop the school’s Main Building tower.

“I’m just so heartened by the response of young people,” McHenry said.

The students said they would work to prevent the kind of tragedy McHenry lived through so that future generations won’t have to live in fear.

Signs carried by student protesters that day asked questions of those in charge, inquiring “Why are we making our children be braver than politicians?” and “Am I next?”

Others ditched the earnest pleas and instead issued a warning to lawmakers. One young woman’s message:

“Watch out!” her sign read. “I’m registering to vote today.”


Richard Heckler 2 months ago

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Thousands of guns melted down into rebar - Washington Times Aug 13, 2014 - Thousands of weapons collected through the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's "Gift for Guns" program have been melted down into rebar at a steel mill.

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Council member suggests APD retired weapons could be melted ... Video for retired weapons melted down▶ 3:02

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Guns melted down at ArcelorMittal steel mill - Daily Local News Sep 29, 2015 - Sgt. Rodger Ollis takes a picture of guns loaded into a truck by the Coatesville Police outside the police station in Coatesville on Tuesday. The guns from the city, along with some from Parkesburg and Baltimore police departments, were melted down at the ArcelorMittal steel mill. LUCAS RODGERS ... Missing: retired

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Clark Coan 2 months ago

Great crowd and inspiring speakers in South Park. Not many high school students though. Maybe they went to Topeka.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Angry bitter clinger Gun-Nut bullies, rallying across the country, not realizing, their ideology is why there is the 2nd Amendment.

Bob Reinsch 2 months ago

Maybe we can get the Bobs to address a gathering of victims' parents to explain why these kids should be seen and not heard, much like silhouettes at a shooting range.

Daniel Kennamore 2 months ago

Of course they wouldn't...they can't afford the plane ticket to get to Lawrence from Russia.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Russia wants armed America citizens why again?

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Exposing their congenital Liberal behavior is a good thing.

It beats tattooing a cobalt blue cursive letter L on their foreheads.

Ken Lassman 2 months ago

There goes that pesky devil puppetmaster gene, with the howling laugh and the insidious mask, controlling the movements of its puppets like they are automatons.....get past your overactive amygdala, Bob. Just breathe.....or take a flying leap.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

IN DC, there were dozens of good men with guns protecting the march. Amazingly, the irony was lost on the spokesmodels of the children's crusade.

John Kyle 2 months ago

And not surprisingly, you don't get it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

You have to love the acceptance by conservatives that the murdered children are just collateral damage. They will bring up the gang violence (by the way, the protesters are addressing that too), but then they don't want to make it harder for the criminals to get guns.

They want to make it easier for road ragers to have a legal gun to shoot the person who cut them off. They don't want to take the guns away from people who are obviously crazy, until that person commits a crime.

They don't want to require training and licensing, because poor people couldn't afford it, but they don't mind that poor people are going out and buying arsenals, instead of feeding their families (but they better not buy a birthday cake for their kids, using food stamps).

They want to have guns laying around their house, so if someone breaks in, they are ready, but then a nephew comes over and kills someone. But don't require them to have liability insurance, if that happens.

All of these deaths are worth it to them, so they can have their guns, so they can fight corrupt government, then they vote in one of the most corrupt presidents we have ever had. How many lawsuits does Trump have against him? How many lawyers has he gone through? How many lawyers does he need? Are we paying for all of these? No one told him how complicated governing is? No he likes recessions, remember. "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy," Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University, answering a question about "gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash."

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Why do you and your congenital type, give sanctuary to MS-13? Why do you give sanctuary to murderers, rapist, druggies and criminal trespassers?

Bob Smith 2 months ago

Dorothy-World is a strange and mysterious place.

Gary Stussie 2 months ago

President Trump gets the job done with half the country, the main stream media and all the former Obama administration constantly attacking and obstructing him. Your guy couldn't get the job done with all you guys fawning over him.

DO you realize that no matter what the subject is, you offer your opinion and then tie in a slam or two about President Trump.

Andrew Applegarth 2 months ago

What about those people who are alive today because they defended themselves with a firearm? Why do you wish them dead? Who are you to say that the lives of those put in danger by "no defense zones" are more important than those who are alive today because they defended themselves? It's an inconvenient truth, but when you call for gun control you are telling those people "I wish you were dead!" It's kind of hard to believe you have any 'high ground' when you are calling for the needless deaths of those willing and able to defend themselves while doing NOTHING to actually protect those you claim to be so worried about (while preventing them from defending themselves or even being defended by others).

No, your position is simply an attempt to grow the pile of corpses with more needless deaths that you can use to promote your agenda.

That doesn't even touch on the blatant dishonesty in your post where you misrepresent your opponents' position because you can't argue against the truth. I don't expect any better of you and you fail to surprise me yet again...

Richard Heckler 2 months ago

The majority want stiff new regulations for private ownership of weapons.

The majority approve of the currently standing WELL REGULATED MILITIA aka USA Armed Forces. It appears "WELL REGULATED" IS THE DRUG OF CHOICE AS OPPOSED TO ZERO REGULATED.

Law enforcement KNOWS damn well assault weapons and open carry places them and all of us in harms way to a greater extreme than ever before.

NO one is asking that registered guns for hunting be taken away. THE NRA is merely misconstruing the situation. The NRA lies.

BTW who is supporting the massive spending behind the NRA PAC that misconstrues the issue and donates to political campaigns? Memberships are not generating this big money.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

"...NO one is asking that registered guns for hunting be taken away..." The Second Amendment isn't about hunting. Has the NRA replaced ALEC as the target of your daily 2 Minute Hate, Richard?

Andrew Applegarth 2 months ago

The militia and the armed forces are not the same thing. If you were smart enough to read and understand history, you would know that the militia and the 2nd Amendment were deliberately created in opposition to a standing army.

You keep saying the NRA lies but the only lies I see in your posts are what you say, not what the NRA has said.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

"...It was more irritating than anything else. The virtue signaling over one’s disagreement with “A March For Our Lives” reached fever pitch with the culmination of Saturday’s event. Yet a trend across social media seemed to be playing out. If someone criticized David Hogg, Alex Wind, or Emma Gonzales there was an immediate lashing out in response. These teens and two of their comrades appear on this week’s cover of TIME magazine. Two weeks ago they traveled to Dubai to be part of an international symposium on education. They have sucked up nearly every available second of possible air time on CNN & MSNBC (while obviously avoiding actual journalism.) They’ve also had ample amounts of cash and exposure thrown their way. Saturday’s march was to be the pinnacle of this outrage movement that has largely been propped up by false pretense. These young people—immediately thrown into one of the most manipulated controversies of our time—are angry, opportunistic and—just a month after their classmates were needlessly lost—now instant celebrities. Even though they have little more than a junior high level of education under their belt. The political left, driven by a leftist media, and financed by uber-rich and hard-left celebrities are willing to use them, and to continue to use them to advance their socialist utopia ideals. (One of the primary ideas of which has always included disarming the masses.)..."

Richard Aronoff 2 months ago

n the midst of all the virtue signaling over gun control, what has been missing is a discussion of proximate cause. Proximate cause is a legal term that can be described as "but for X, Y would not have happened." So let's consider the proximate cause facts. The FBI dropped the ball twice. In spite of many complaints about Cruz, local law enforcement did nothing because the department was hobbled by the Promise Program. Indeed, when the woman who took Cruz in called the police to report that he had held a gun to another child's head, the police did nothing. That was not brandishing. That was felony assault. The psychologist and social workers who gave Cruz a pass despite the very disturbing things he told them failed in their duty to the community. It was reported that as soon as the shooting started, there were students who knew who must be doing the shooting. BUT FOR these many failures, this tragedy would not have happened. While there were many proximate causes, the gun and the NRA are not among them.

Richard Heckler 2 months ago

I encourage all voters to NOT vote for any candidate regardless of party affiliation that accepts money from the NRA or ALEC or any ALEC Affiliates. Our system does not need radical right wing fascist thinking government representatives.

BTW who is supporting the massive spending behind the NRA PAC that misconstrues the issue and donates to political campaigns? Memberships are not generating this big money

Bob Smith 2 months ago

There you've hit your daily double. Good show! BTW, just because you disagree with the NRA it doesn't mean that they misconstrue issues.

Richard Heckler 2 months ago

The NRA misconstrues the issue through implying that all guns are at risk of confiscation which is NOT true. Thus the NRA is dishonest.

Andrew Applegarth 2 months ago

There are people calling for the banning and confiscation of all guns so the dishonest one is you, not the NRA.

Gary Minden 2 months ago

Last Friday, March 23rd, I walked into an elementary school in a KCMO suburb. I went to talk with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students about careers in engineering. They had great questions and engaged in conversation.

As I walked into that school, I looked. I looked for how to protect the students in the class I was visiting. I looked at the doors, did they open outwards or inwards? I looked at the tables in the classroom. Where would I huddle the students and where and how would I build a barricade?

Visit a school. See what it is like.

Only until you have been there, can you speak.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Congenital Liberal logic 101

A nut with a gun kills students. Liberal students react by wanting to make ALL Americans defenseless against a nut with a gun.

Michael Kort 2 months ago

Everybody likes to protest .

Now comes the hard part .

Get your birth certificate and whatever else needed and register to vote and vote them out in State and Federal Elections .

Don't be fooled by slick commercials from billionaires looking for the next tax hand out ......don't let their media tricksters fool you !

Encourage like minded people to register and vote .

Listening you to DEATH, is a learned mental disorder and means of their own $ survival in Topeka and Swampington, District of Colusion ( D.C. ) .

Hit the reject buttons until you get a good one....and if your friends don't vote find better company than slackers .

Flush that political toilet.....because we all know that it Is the same old same old .

Michael Kort 2 months ago

I often wonder how many of the people on this site are machines, professional trolls, etc., who are out to control the vote by discouraging people from caring or voting their beliefs or who figure out believable fears and play the public over them mercilessly .

As Cambridge Analytica executives implied it is not about the truth but all about believability.....

Look up Cambridge Analytica on YouTube and skip the adds and go straight to the under cover video investigations.........and do get registered and vote .

Michael Kort 2 months ago

I tried the above link and it doesn't work for me so just go to YouTube and look up Cambridge Analytica or surf the web on them and realize that these people have most of the American publics " numbers " and do pull their voting chains quite well for purely mercenary purposes .

They even invented the Crooked Hillary Disinformation Campaigns that Trump mouthed on stage .

Bob Smith 2 months ago

Giving myself a Godwin flag. This was just too appropriate to not post.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

"...Jesse Hughes, the Eagles of Death Metal singer and survivor of the 2015 terrorist attack on Paris, went off on young gun-control advocates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Monday, calling them “disgusting vile abusers of the dead.”...“Long Live Rock’n’Roll … and may everyone of these disgusting vile abusers of the dead live as long as possible so they can have the maximum amount of time to endure their shame … and be Cursed,” Hughes wrote, according to a report in Rolling Stone. Hughes’ fled for his life at the Bataclan concert hall three years ago when terrorists opened fire with assault weapons as part of a city-wide attack that killed 130. In his postings, he argued that stricter gun control won’t do anything to stop such carnage. He also said the young protesters were “exploiting” their fallen classmates. “Obviously … The best thing to do to combat chronic abusers and disregarders of the law (like the law against Murder) is to … pass another Law,” Hughes wrote, about the students, who attended the Florida school, where 17 classmates were shot dead in February..."

Brock Masters 2 months ago

It is interesting that students demand change to make schools safer but when a school elects to require clear backpacks to make it more difficult to conceal weapons the students cry foul.

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