After Parkland tragedy, Island students and citizens join gun control fight

Charter School student organizes trip to Washington.

Charter School senior Keith Chatinover is organizing a bus trip to Washington, D.C. for Cape and Islands residents to attend the planned March 24 march, to demand legislative action to address gun violence in schools.

Updated 1:25 pm, Thursday, to reflect correct march on Washington date

Island students and residents galvanized this week around efforts — including pending state legislation — to end school violence in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting that took 17 lives last week.

Martha’s Vineyard Charter School senior Keith Chatinover is heading an effort to bus Island students and Cape and Islands residents to a planned March 24 march on Washington to demand legislative action to address gun violence in schools. At least 18 gun-related school events have occurred nationally since Jan. 1, 2018.

At Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, according to junior class vice-president MacKenzie Condon, MVRHS Student Council has orchestrated a school walkout on Friday, Feb. 23, at 1:45 pm. “The purpose,” Condon said in an email, “is to show the school’s support for the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida who are dealing with horrible tragedy, and being a brave voice for change as well as to express thoughts, emotions, and ideas pertaining to the unfortunate commonality of these types of crises. Students will be gathering on the football game field in solidarity with each other at that time.”

And Laura Silber, a well-known Island social activist, pitched in quickly to develop an “action chain” that provides information on pending state gun control legislation and ways and means for voters and groups to lobby their state legislators. (See letter, “Support gun control legislation,” in this week’s paper that lists numbers Islanders can call to reach lawmakers.)

Chatinover said that the actions of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland inspired his activism. “I was really inspired by kids in the shooting, who survived it. I saw them on TV, on CNN. It was so powerful. They lived this, unlike the politicians. This is a movement of kids, not adults, and it’s not going to go away.

“So this is my way of contributing to the march,” he said. “I was saying I wanted to go and other kids said the same thing. So we said let’s charter a bus,” he said, adding that 15 Charter School students, about a dozen kids from the regional high school, middle schoolers, and adults have committed to the march. “We want to fill the bus. Interested people can contact me at — either to go or to donate, so others can afford tickets which now are around $100,” he said.

The plan is for march-goers to be picked up on Friday, March 23, off the 8:30 pm ferry in Woods Hole for an overnight drive to Washington, D.C. Marchers will be dropped off on the Washington Mall for the event, picked up at 7 pm for the overnight drive back to Woods Hole and an early boat back to the Island, he said.

In Massachusetts, two bills are currently under consideration, one co-sponsored by Rep. Dylan Fernandes (see story page 13),  that would allow intervention and removal of guns from people identified as threats to commit gun violence. Silber has developed a call chain for concerned voters to lobby elected representatives to pass this Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) legislation, now law in five states.



  1. For those interested in the above described calling action in MA to support proposed legislation,
    MA Gun Violence Prevention Action Alert:
    The Decker bill H3610 is in the MA Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. This is a critical piece of legislation backed by Atty General Maura Healey, Everytown for Gun Safety, The MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, the Gifford Law Center, and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. The Decker Bill establishes ERPO – “Extreme Risk Protection Order” in MA, which would enable courts to temporarily prohibit a person from possessing or purchasing guns if law enforcement or immediate family members show that he poses a significant danger to him/herself or to others. This bill has been extended to April 15. Another important bill involving ERPO, the Linsky Bill, H3081, nearly identical to the Decker bill but with slight variation, has been sent to study.

    PLEASE take 5-10 minutes today to make calls to the MA legislature to support H3610 and H3081, instructions are below, keep reading.

    If Florida had an ERPO law, the Parkland tragedy could have been prevented — this is not a criminal law, it is a protection order that allows police to ensure public saftey. There had been complaints and concerns registered with police about the FLA shooter that would have triggered the filing of an ERPO, and confiscation of weapons. Massachusetts does have an assault weapons ban, but we do not have an ERPO law.

    The best way to support H3610 & H3081 is as follows:
    1) Call your state rep — on MVY this is Dylan Fernandes, who is a co-sponsor on this bill. “I want to register my support for the Decker Bill, H3610, and the Linsky Bill H3081, which would establish Extreme Risk Protection Orders to prevent gun violence, thank you for your efforts and please continue to advocate for these important pieces of legislation. I understand the Linsky bill is already in study, but I hope the legislature will pass one of these bills to establish an ERPO law in Massachusetts”. Dylan’s office 617-722-2430

    If your state rep is someone else, here is a link for you to locate your legislator:

    “Hello, I am calling to register my support for the Decker Bill, H3610, and the Linsky Bill H3081, which would establish Extreme Risk Protection Orders to prevent gun violence in Massachusetts. Can you tell me if my representative is supporting this bill?”

    if YES: “Please thank the representative for their efforts, and please continue to advocate for H3610 and H3081. I am aware that H3081 is in study, but I hope one of these bills will be put forward for a vote and passed”.
    If NO: “That is very disappointing, please let the representative know I urge him/her to reconsider his/her position. I will be voting in the next election cycle and will not vote for someone who does not support common sense gun laws which support public safety, like H3610 and H3081.”
    If UNDECIDED: “Please let the representative know I am strongly urging him/her to support this legislation. Establishing an ERPO law is vitally important to the safety of our communities, and is a common-sense gun safety law. I hope he/she will support H3610 and H3081. I am aware that H3081 is in study, but I hope one of these bills will be put forward for a vote and passed.” (and make a note to call back and ask the same question next week: “has my rep decided his/her position on H3610 and H3081? I am concerned and looking for an update please”).

    2)Call the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
    Rep Harold Naughton, Chair 617-722-2230
    Sen Michael Moore, Chair 617-722-1485
    “I would like to register my support with the joint committee chair’s staff for the Decker Bill H3610, and the Linsky Bill H3081, which would establish Extreme Risk Protection Orders to prevent gun violence. Especially in light of the Parkland shooting, I would like to see this legislation be reported out of committee favorably. I understand the Linsky bill is already in study, but I hope one of these ERPO bills will be put forward for a vote and passed.

    3) Call House Speaker Robert DeLeo 617-722-2500
    “I would like to register my support with Speaker DeLeo for the Decker Bill H3610, and the Linsky Bill H3081 which would establish Extreme Risk Protection Orders to prevent gun violence. Especially in light of the Parkland shooting, i would ask the Speaker to assist moving this legislation favorably out of committee, and that he help continue supporting it as it moves through the legislature. I understand the Linsky bill is in already study, but I hope the legislature will pass one of these bills to establish an ERPO law in Massachusetts. ”
    Thank you, and please pass the word on H3610 and H3081.

  2. I know this article is about guns….but we as a community (and country) should be more concerned over the opioid crisis. This epidemic is killing far more people on a daily basis.

    • not “far more”- 96 per day guns –115 per day opiods–
      While I appreciate your point, it is a distraction– you might as well mention deaths from breast cancer,
      traffic accidents or the flu– As one of the most technologically advanced countries the world has ever seen, we can attack the scourges of our civilization whatever they may be. we have enough resources to fight on more than one front. We only need the will.

  3. Mvtimes, define misleading:
    Paragraph 1:”to end school violence ”
    Paragraph 2:” At least 18 gun-related school events”
    A normal reader would think the second has to do with first. You’re continuing a false narrative.

    As for the kids here, I’m planning on driving a truck load of selfie sticks down to dc for selling. I’m going to clean up on this can’t miss Instagram opportunity.

    • A normal reader would interpret you to mean you do not consider the shooting deaths of students in school as gun-related school violence. You lost your own argument just by posting. Maybe you can persuade the editors to remove it, I suspect they won’t.

      • I beg to differ. This debate, like most we have today, gets nonsensical when we throw around bent numbers or exagerations . Here are some of my favorite highlights from this 18:

        Feb. 5, 2018 – Maplewood, MN

        A third-grader at Harmony Learning Center pressed the trigger on a school liaison officer’s gun. Although the weapon was outfitted with a trigger guard, it discharged and hit the floor. No injuries were reported.

        Jan. 10, 2018 – Denison, Texas

        A student at Greyson College picked up a gun, belonging to an advisor. She discharged the weapon, believing it was not loaded and shot through the wall. There were no injuries and no charges filed, KXII reported.

        January 3, 2018 – St. Johns, Michigan

        A 31-year-old man died by suicide in the parking lot of East Olive Elementary School. There were no students or staff at the scene, because the school had been closed for seven months, WILX reported.

        There are others on this list, the 18, that are certainly violent, but then why don’t we talk about those. One side doesn’t want to listen to the other if they can’t believe the facts they’re presented with.I think you actually proved my point.

        • What point?

          17 people were killed with a gun at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 26 were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, 32 killed at Virginia Tech, and 15 killed at Columbine High School. Listen to those facts.

          You are pretending or ignoring that people are being killed with guns. What does that say about you?

        • If you want to make a point, get together with other gun advocates and find a way to stop the killing and have people not fear another shooting. And gun owners already have guns, they don’t need more to get this done.

    • whale oil– your comment is spoken like a true republican– but let me give you some advice– the kids don’t need selfie sticks– they will be there with each other– taking pictures of each other. Supporting each other.. But you probably can’t understand that– Perhaps someday– even the grinch brought the toys back when he heard the children singing..

    • whale oil— I have news for you– If you want to try to sell selfie sticks– you don’t have to go all the way to d.c.– there will be “sister rallies” in just about every big city in the country.. Do you have any idea as to why that will be the case ? I will assume you don’t , so let me clue you in— It is because people are pretty disgusted with the caviler attitudes such as yours about school shootings and the ability of mentally ill people to get their hands on weapons of war.. Your “joke” about wanting to ‘cash in” on what you perceive as self absorbed kids looking for something to post on their social media platforms is about as disgusting as you can get.. What if it was your kid that was running down the hall of her school and got shot in the back ? What would you think of me if you stood up and called for change, and I ridiculed you for seeking publicity ? Well, that’s what I think of you– I have the words to describe it, but the times will not let me post it…
      Think before you post– words matter– And if you are going to joke about the deaths of 17 teenagers, and the response their living friends have to their murders, I suggest you think about it a little more.

  4. And again you are missing the point. Read it again. Do you really think I’m trying to disparage the departed, or those who just lost a loved one ?
    One side of the argument will continue to ignore the other as long as conflated numbers, facts, and aimless freakouts (like the one above ) continue to dominate the conversation. That is my point. I absoutely will ‘joke’ around, and make light of how ridiculous this conversation gets, while I continue to read and hear the nonsense in between. It’s hot air, not really change and will not move legislation ( Probably the effect of Tide pods, which I will also be bringing and have available)
    I am yet to hear a suggested action In the field of ‘gun control’ that would have prevented this from happening. Plenty of symbolic actions sure, but nothing beyond that.

    • The argument by gun advocates is don’t restrict guns, actually increase access. We still have school shootings, children are still being killed; owning guns seems to be a dismal failure. I wouldn’t have the grace to call more deaths a symbolic gesture by gun owners, seems concrete and absolute to me.

      If gun owners obfuscate, the logical action is confiscate all privately-owned guns. That’s more extreme than what Britain, Australia, New Zeeland, or Japan do; people are allowed to own in those countries and they don’t have the problem with mass shootings we do.

      When will gun owners think of something that works? Even copy another country. Innocent children are not an acceptable price.

    • Whale– you are correct– nothing is happening– nra and their puppets are a serious impediment. I am not sure why you think this conversation is just hot air — or even ridiculous– if you think it is ridiculous for people to want to do something to keep this from happening again, I just don’t know what to say– your words speak for themselves– you really have higher priorities than the safety of our children.

      • dondondon. Yes do something. The key word is ”something” rather than anything. Banning guns isnt going to happen. Securing schools with armed guards as Israel did. Reporting mentally ill people and confining them. 500 died last year in chicago and here no mention. Round up gangs and thugs in big cities and strip them of guns. that would be a start. the majority of gun owners are law abiders. How about enforcing the laws on the books? You and new englander always trot out the NRA and they are not the problem. In inner cities its demographics and thugs. for schools and colleges it is mentally ill. do you really believe that if we got rid of say 100 million guns that school shootings would cease? Trotting out Australia that doesnt have a second amendment is naive. How about absent fathers? How about malevolence coming from people who are addicted to the internet and not socialized? How about PC and not wanting to insult privacy laws? The core issue is not guns. the core issue is the depravity of man and its getting worse. the human heart is the problem and you folks want to talk about guns. The sheriff at Parkland is incompetent. 35 warnings and four of his deputies didnt enter the building.

        • Israel has much stricter gun laws and background checks than we do. The age to be able to buy a gun is 27, unless you’ve served in the military, and even then, you must pass strict background checks, with all kinds of red flags eliminating you. Even an illness like epilepsy stops a person from owning a gun. Also unlike the US, gun ownership is not popular or prevalent and there is no NRA giving money to politicians to promote gun sales and gun ownership. They just simply do not have the macho-male-insecurity gun culture. And no Israeli ever suggested Israeli teachers pack heat. Again, only American idiots suggest such a stupid, inappropriate, ineffective way to combat school shooters. The armed guards at schools there are trained and retrained, every 4 months. They don’t stand around outside doing nothing. And no Israeli leader would ever brag that he’d enter an active shooter situation in a school after having received 5 military deferments for bone spurs. As to the rest of your ignorance about mental illness and your racism in general about the males owning guns in this country, maybe we should just round up all white Christian males who express homophobia and racism and want to “MAGA” and lock them away. They’re the ones shooting up our schools and terrorizing public places, like churches and concern venues and daycare centers. Millions of people have mental illness in this country, half of them women, and yet women don’t ever shoot up schools. It’s strictly a guy thing. Mental illness does not account for gun violence since the large majority of mentally ill people are not in the least violent. It’s the angry males, usually white Christian males. Your ignorant racism regarding gun crimes in the city is not worth a response. Depravity seems to be a specific problem for you.

  5. Ban assault rifles.
    Establish an enticing “buy back” program (worked great in Austrailia).
    Make passing a mental stability test, a requirement for buying and owning a gun. Maybe make yearly licensing for guns with yearly mental stability testing.
    Another tact, all gun control people should join the NRA, then co-opt and control it.

  6. When I was a little boy, I used to play with guns.
    Then I grew up and played being a grown up.
    I do not feel inadequate because I don’t own guns.
    I do not understand Americas FETISH with guns?
    What purpose is there for assault weapons other than to assault someone?
    Certainly, hunters do not need them.

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