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Despite sideshows, students stand tall during walkouts

Students from surrounding schools gather at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan to mark one month since the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida and to demand an end to gun violence on March 14, 2018 in New York City. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, thousands of students across this nation tried to make their voices heard in the halls of government. They walked out of classrooms in hopes that lawmakers would hear their pleas to make their schools and society in general a safer place. They are imploring those in charge to employ some common sense and take reasonable steps to help lessen the possibility of another Columbine or Parkland. And how were they answered?

The NRA posts a picture with the caption “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.” The NRA argues that 18-year-olds have their rights violated by being prohibited from buying a military weapon whose sole purpose is to kill humans. If it needs to be pointed out, constitutional amendments do not promise complete freedom.

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As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes indicated, “You are not free to yell fire in a crowded movie theater.” If we really are to make America great again, then we must work to promote safety for all. The solution to a gun problem is not to add more guns. You do not extinguish a fire by starting another fire.

To make matters even worse, that some politicians use the tragedy of these school shootings for political gain is horrendous. We are talking about the lives and future of our children, not pawns in a political power structure.

Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to dodge the issue with more empty rhetoric, while the head of the Chicago Republican Party Chris Cleveland stated “it seems that the school district (Chicago) was coercing students to take part in the demonstrations.” Does Cleveland really think that students are that shallow that they need to be coerced into taking action to help protect themselves from violence?

Mr. Cleveland, believe me, it appears these students have a much better grip on reality than you ever will.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

Parents felt fear of school shooting over Northwestern hoax

I appreciate your coverage of the March 14 school walk out and incident involving “swatting” that caused a lockdown at Northwestern University. It was a particularly harrowing and emotional day for parents and teachers in the Evanston community.

We spent our morning supporting, processing and participating in a powerful protest at Evanston Township High School, elementary and middle school activities reacting to gun violence, and a community gathering.

Then, just as school was about to let out for the day, all Evanston parents with children in public (and some private) schools were alerted to a lockdown due to reports of an active shooter at Northwestern University.

While the event was ultimately deemed a hoax, as parents, we experienced the first-hand anxiety and helplessness of school gun violence. It was an exceptionally horrible day — ENOUGH!

Megan R. Abraham, Evanston

Real African representation from phony corporate giants

With all due respect to the good intentions of the Rev. Otis Moss and his enraptured testament to “Black Panther,” the phenomenal film sweeping the world, and bedazzling the black American community, I am writing to say that I am underwhelmed.

As an 84-year-old black woman, I cannot generate any appreciation for this film that goes beyond it being a well-made, action-packed production about super heroes set in a nonexistent, high-tech country. Why? Talk about manipulation! Publicity for this picture was carefully programmed to captivate black people’s minds. Weeks before it opened, there was all of the hype leading up to its release, including advance tickets sales. There were the trailers planting ideas in the heads of its targeted audience, feeding their hunger for validation and their ongoing need to romanticize Africa; images with subliminal messages and codified catch phrases about “characters who look like me.” Playing right into the hands of Hollywood’s money-making machine were black spokesmen lending their endorsement of a picture which is little more than escapism entertainment.

But let’s keep it real. Gullible black masses caught up in the “Wakanda Forever” mania have been exploited. None of the huge profits generated by the amazing success of this picture will trickle down to the communities of those who have literally bought into this fantasy. The impact of this comic book extravaganza will be minuscule when it comes to the multitude of problems facing the black community. Yes, the film provides a fix for African Americans craving on-screen heroes. Sad that white corporate giants Marvel Comics and Disney studios have to be the ones to supply it.

Connie Bradley, Maywood