‘Something needs to be done’

Hundreds rally in Edmonds for gun-control reform
By Brian Soergel | Feb 22, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel Participants raised candles and placed flowers around a memorial at College Place Elementary School.

It seemed appropriate that Edmonds-Woodway High School was the backdrop for the start of a rally in support of reducing gun violence, which has claimed too many young lives on school campuses.

“We shouldn’t have to go to school each morning fearing for our lives,” E-W sophomore Quinlon Merrin told a crowd of several hundred people – of all ages – who marched from the high school to College Place Elementary on Monday, Feb. 19.

“We shouldn’t have to wonder if we’ll make it home alive or if a gun is about to stop our future story. A group of deaths at school is not something we should have to worry about.”

Merrin was referring to the mass murder of 17 students Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooter used an AR-57, which, according to Wikipedia, is produced by a company in Kent.

“The shooting was a horrifying eye-opener,” Merrin said, standing on the back of a pickup and holding a megaphone.

“That could have been us, any day or anytime. Any of us could die for no reason, just because politicians care more about money from the NRA than the safety of our citizens.”

Monday’s event, "A Rally of Hope: Together We Will Reduce Gun Violence," was hosted by the Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition. The group’s Facebook page states that it’s nonpartisan, but its “About” section reports that “Edmonds NAC is a neighborhood-based resistance group formed to protect and support communities targeted by the Trump administration.”

The event was organized by Georgia and Ciara Leckie, as well as Courtney Wooten and Jane Weiss, the latter whose niece, Veronika Weiss, was killed during a 2014 shooting rampage in Isla Vista, California.

All spoke at Edmonds-Woodway, as did Edmonds City Council member Mike Nelson and former TV anchor and reporter Bob Throndsen.

Many in the crowd held signs, including some that read “Not one more,” “Gun reform now,” “Moms Demand Action” and “Sticks & stones may break my bones, but bullets should never hit me.”

Edmonds resident Sierra Noble, a freshman at Western Washington University, held a different sign, this one honoring three Kamiak High School students – Anna Bui, Jake Long and Jordan Ebner – killed by a shooter at a Mukilteo house party in 2016.

Noble graduated from Kamiak High School last year.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what political party you’re from,” she said. “We all want safety for our friends and family. And gun safety is extremely important and relevant today.”

Noble said she has spoken to friends at Western about starting a club dedicated to helping to end gun violence. “A lot of people are talking about it already, so I think it would be an amazing thing to start now,” she said.

Sierra’s mother, Diana J. Noble, echoed many of the participants, who agreed that ending gun violence should not be a partisan issue.

“I’m sick of the bickering,” she said. “I’m tired of pointing fingers. I just want to do something positive, or figure out where we have common goals. And the common goal is to keep each other safe, to care for each other. Something needs to be done.

“No one wants their children murdered at school. Or the workplace. Or a concert. Or anywhere else. It takes collaboration, listening, understanding of others’ positions. We don’t do that very well. When we find out someone comes from an opposing view, we shut down and start pointing fingers while getting angry.

“And then there’s no more conversation. We need to take legislative action we can agree on. There’s got to be something. This is not an impossible issue.”

At College Place, where participants laid flowers and held candles at a makeshift memorial to the 17 killed in Florida, Elliot NyQuist drew applause for his impassioned speech.

NyQuist, 12, is a seventh-grader at Meadowdale Middle School who reminded the crowd that there have been almost 300 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in December 2012.

“Thoughts and prayer are not enough,” he said. “Please get educated about legislators and guns laws. If they don’t vote for them, vote them out. I need you to protect me and my fellow students. Speak up. If no one seems to listen, scream louder.”



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