“Mental health, mental health.”
Survivors of the STEM School shooting in Colorado stormed out of a gun-control rally Wednesday, saying that their grief was being inappropriately politicized.
The event was billed primarily as a vigil for Kendrick Castillo, 18, the student killed in the attack Tuesday in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. However, speakers at the school’s packed gymnasium were mostly politicians and activists who urged Congress to pass more restrictive gun law.
After about 30 minutes, hundreds of students walked out in anger and tears. They shouted: “This is not for us,” “Political stunt,” and “We are people, not a statement.”
Gathering outside the school building in the cold rain, students held up their cellphone flashlights and chanted “Mental health, mental health.”
Some teens pushed and yelled at journalists who were taking photos. A number of them said they had pledged not to speak to the press.
The rally was organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which invited reporters to attend. Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jason Crow, both Colorado Democrats, spoke about the need for federal action.
The STEM School students’ protest stood in contrast to the gun-control movement launched last year by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The March for Our Lives spread nationally with backing from liberal activists, politicians, and journalists.
However, even then, some students from Parkland and elsewhere spoke out in favor of the Second Amendment.
Polls show that millennials support gun rights more than their parents’ generation.