Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Discussing gun control at Austin HS

Hart, Tami, Susana and I were happy to be able to table a second time this year at Austin HS. As we waited at the entrance desk for our ID badges, we looked over copies of the school newspaper, "The Maroon" and were pleased to see several articles that related to the themes of our SOY table. For example, there was a great piece about the #MarchForOurLives, in which a number of Austin HS students had participated.  Austin HS students also were part of the #Nationalschoolwalkout on April 20.

excellent commentary piece by an Austin HS student in their paper, "The Maroon"

Our reflection question for today asked students if they felt gun control should also be made at the Pentagon level. 
We got some puzzled looks about our question. A few students said they weren't sure how to answer it. Most students are not aware of the extent of our military budget or that the US is the biggest arms dealer in the world, and we wanted to spur some thought about that. One of the student responses, pictured here, reflected what another student said as she put all her pennies into the Education jar during the Penny Poll: "If we had more education, all the other problems could be solved."

Some of the other written responses:  

"Yes, stay neutral.  Don't get involved with chemical warfare.  Mitigate arms race."

"Yes, not getting as involved in foreign affairs that really don't concern us."

"There are some booths that pay you money for your guns, then those guns could also be melted and turned into something cool or helpful."

"Stop Selling."

"I don't think that the weapons have a big problem, it's the people who use them wrong."

"Have the UN enforce gun sanctions."

"We can restrict sales to ally countries and only a certain amount per year."

Some students responded with measures they would support for individual gun owners, such as "stricter tests to pass before you can legally obtain and operate a gun," "gun regulation and stricter access to limit purchases," and "less loopholes." All these could also apply to ways that weapons of war are sold to other countries.  The US arms trade leads to black market sales that put US weapons into the hands of child soldiers and adversaries of the US.

Penny Poll results showed the Education category as top priority with 30% of the penny vote, Health Care with 24%, the Environment with 22%, the Military with 13%, Humanitarian Aid at 7% and 4% for NASA.

Thanks to all Maroons for your interest today!