‘This needs to stop’

MVRHS students hold walkout in honor of lives lost in Uvalde, Texas.


Horns honked supportively from passing cars while dozens of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) students gathered on the side of Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road to honor the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary School shootings that occurred on Tuesday, May 24, in Uvalde, Texas. Students waved signs asking, “How many more?” and, “If not now, when?” Other signs demanded: “Keep our schools safe!”

The Uvalde school shootings were the deadliest attack in American history since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School murders in Newtown, Conn. The Uvalde shootings also mark the 27th school shooting in 2022, according to CBS News.

According to an email sent out by Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, the MVRHS walkout was part of a national walkout organized by the advocacy groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Students Demand Action. Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent Matt D’Andrea also sent a letter to parents about the safety measures the Island was taking for schools. The letter provided guidelines for parents on how to support children, and talk to them about tragic events like school shootings. 

The Times talked to some of the MVRHS students who participated in the walkout. All of them shared the sentiment that “enough is enough.”

“I just think that it’s time people in our community and our country recognize it’s an issue anyone can face. Just because it didn’t happen here doesn’t mean it can’t happen here,” senior Lila Mikos said. She added that a school is a place for students not only to study but develop as people: “As students, we just want to feel safe.” 

“I think this is enough. I have a brother in third grade, and hearing about all of this stuff, I’m like, ‘What happens if it was my brothers? What happens if it was my school?’ This needs to stop. All of this hate and racism, we’ve been trying to get rid of this. It’s been ongoing for so long, it needs to end. This needs to end,” sophomore Bryonie Brown told the Times. 

The Uvalde school shooting comes 10 days after the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., that targeted a Black community. During the same month, NBC News reported an anti-Asian shooting in Dallas, Texas, and ABC7 Los Angeles reported a “politically motivated” shooting at a Taiwanese church in California. 

The news about the Uvalde shooting was a frightening prospect to MVRHS students. “I feel like it’s scary, as a student myself, knowing that there are other schools around the world where incidents like this can happen, and kids my age can get their hands on firearms,” junior Brayden Scheffer told the Times. “I feel like the U.S. definitely needs to take action and enforce the gun law more.”

“As a student, I feel scared because at any moment someone could enter a building and, you know, accidents can happen. But I think MVRHS does a good job on keeping students safe,” senior Miguel Jarillo said. 

Junior student Marcos Rodrigues also felt scared “as a student.” However, he felt people needed to use their voices to enact U.S. gun law changes. “As a citizen, it’s just become such a regular occurrence. These school shootings [happen] every year, there’s a handful of them, and it’s become so unimaginable in the country,” he said. 

Marcos also pointed out that gun lobbyists have made it easier for people, especially in Southern states, to purchase firearms. According to the Texas Tribune, the Uvalde shooter legally purchased his gun before his killing spree. 

“It’s terrible, and sadly I don’t think a lot is going to change because we have a for-profit government that works at the behest of corporations. So I don’t think a lot will change,” Marcos said. “But we have to use our voice as people and demand that we want these gun laws in place because we’re losing a lot of people due to this, and we’re the only country in the world that has this problem, I feel like, and we really need to solve this problem, it’s horrible.”

Freshman student Mya Gardener believes that with effort, changes can be made to curb gun violence. “I just think it’s been going on for so long. We come to school to learn. We don’t come to school to live in fear of getting shot or hurt,” Mya said. “I think we can work toward gun violence and ending it.”



  1. Guns don’t produce violence. People with mental illness do. That needs to be our focus.

    • Could you at least support reforming mental illness healthcare, then? The last time I checked with Congress, mental health reform was passed over. It’s all lip service from the politicians; they are the last people who want to see mental healthcare reform pass. Think about it: if there aren’t politicians willing to pass healthcare reforms for mental health, why even say it’s a focus? The real focus is on keeping guns, not mental health.

      Let us all take a moment for the children who lay down their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom of the shooter. The Texas kids were braver than any soldier in any uniform in those split seconds and they were murdered, with legal permission from Republicans who could have already passed legislation with Democrats that would have prevented the sale of the weapons, Republicans who work to eradicate mental health reforms. Let me guess: let private enterprise work and pay for yourself for the reform, forget life, liberty, and happiness — the caveat being, if you can get it. That’s not what’s there. The concepts are mutually exclusive.

      • Last I checked Democrats are in the majority and haven’t addressed any of these issues. Blame is on them.

        • Mr. Axel, your statement is idiotic. Clearly you don’t understand how the senate works (or doesn’t work). A simple majority does not control the senate. It takes 60 votes to do most anything. A minority of votes (40) can stop any legislation. It’s not the Democrats — it’s the Republicans!

        • I’ll spell it out for you as to why neither Party has achieved anything in the last say, 16years. Abuse of the S-U-P-E-R-M-A-J-O-R-I-T-Y vote. Both sides are at fault and neither side is willing to get rid of the filibuster because when they’re not the ones in “power”, they both take advantage of the rule. American politics are at a stalemate and will continue to be so for the unforeseen future, while at the same time, putting Americans against Americans just for them to stay politicians.

    • I must have missed the part where the gunman killed everyone with his mind and not a semi-automatic weapon and over 300 rounds of ammunition purchased just days before his rampage. Thanks for the clarification.

      • I guess I missed the part where the 100 million+ other similar weapons in our country started spontaneously shooting children by their own freewill.

        Of course, what are referred to as “semi-automatic” weapons (rifles) kill far fewer people per year than handguns, knives, blunt weapons, and… human limbs i.e. fists and feet.

        • Please explain to me how a handgun (or two handguns, one in each hand), a knife (or two knives, one in each hand), a “blunt weapon” (or two blunt weapons — you get the idea), or two fists and two feet can kill 21 people in a matter of minutes. Take however much time you need. I’ll wait.

          • Virginia Tech 2004…. One of the worst school shootings with 32 victims. Committed with a 9mm and a .22 caliber pistol.

      • Was it the vehicle’s fault in Waukesha? Using your logic, that’s who/what we should blame? Ban all Ford Escapes!

        • Joseph– These kinds of attacks are much less frequent than attacks with guns. We have nearly as many cars as guns in this country.
          Very few people (radical left ) are saying we should ban all guns–
          Very few people ( radical right ) are saying anyone should be able to buy rocket propelled grenades.
          If Ford came out with a vehicle called the “deer stopper” , which had a feature that included 8 ft long spears sticking out of the front of them, I doubt it would get approved by the regulatory authorities.
          But before you call me crazy– take a look at the statistics.
          There are over a million annual accidents involving cars and animals like deer in the U.S . They cause about $8 billion in damage, cause 26,000 injuries, and about 200 deaths a year.
          It would seem by your logic, that you have a right to protect yourself from a psychotic deer running on the road.
          Impaling the deer 8 ft. in front of the vehicle would bring all those statistics down to near zero.
          So let’s be reasonable– putting 8 ft long spears on the front of a car to protect yourself from hitting a deer is just as insane as allowing mentally ill people to purchase military grade weapons.
          I agree with the idea that mentally ill people should not have access to any gun they want, at any time.
          I don’t agree with the obviously mentally ill people who claim this is a mental illness problem and still allow mentally ill people to purchase weapons.
          As far as I can tell the real problem is that about 1/2 of the citizens in this country think we can solve the issue of mass murder by blaming mental illness while doing nothing– absolutely nothing –to restrict mentally ill people from acquiring firearms.
          We have some sort of a national psychosis going on here.

    • Then why do Republican led-states refuse to expand Medicaid, which would cover mental health treatment? Because it’s not about mental health. It’s not about unlocked doors. It’s not about rap music. It’s not about video games. Other countries have all those things and they don’t have mass shootings every day. What don’t they have? Easy access to unrestricted, unregulated guns. It’s the guns. It’s the GUNS. IT’S THE GUNS! Republicans will throw everything at the wall to deflect from the real problem. How about the obvious – sensible gun legislation (background checks, waiting periods, licensing, insurance). Because it’s ALL about the $$$$$$. Conservatives didn’t used to be against these common sense measures until all that bloody NRA money started showing up. Sick.

        • John– The democrats have been proposing bills and getting them through the house. They die in the senate.
          In 2021 we had this :
          “Two major control measures were passed by the House last year: The ​​Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021. Both measures stalled in the Senate.”
          “Enacting any bill will be tough. The evenly split, 50-50 Senate requires support from at least 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster, and Republicans have not shown support to implement new limits on the sale or ownership of firearms.”

          The democrats address gun issues, the republicans undress them.

          I am also curious which party you think has refused to increase funding for addressing mental health issues.

        • Clearly you have no idea how government works. 60 votes are needed to even open debate on a bill in the Senate. Republicans ha e blocked every Democratic bill on gun reform. Please educate yourself.

  2. If people with mental illness had access to sticks only, the chance of them murdering dozens in minutes just might be reduced.

    • They have access to dynamite as well. The most devastating school massacre in our country’s history was a mentally ill man in East Lansing Michigan who killed 45 including 38 kids in 1927. Mental illness is what connects all these killers and also what our society is afraid to confront.

      • You do realize you’re proving the inverse of the point you were hoping to, right? That event occurred 95 years ago. Mass shootings occur…a bit more frequently than that.

        Your consistent finger pointing, lack of introspection and inability to consider other viewpoints in these comments is certainly impressive, I’ll give you that.

      • John – good point. But after that incident it got harder to get dynamite. I haven’t heard of many schools being blown up with dynamite. I think if we had an organization that convinced half of the country that the only way to stop a bad guy with dynamite was with a good guy with dynamite we might have a few more incidents with dynamite

  3. If the problem is mental illness not guns (seems to be the conservative talking point) then how do we identify people with mental illness? How about anyone who wants to buy an assault rifle must undergo several years of psychotherapy? If they still want to own a weapon of mass destruction, they must purchase insurance. On the other hand we could simply ban assault rifles. To quote the oft quoted Winston Churchill, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else.” Have enough children died yet? Are we ready to do the right thing? Hurray to our students for taking a stand.

    • And don’t forget the headline from the Onion in 2014 after a mass shooting in California:

      ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

    • Something that strikes me about “mental illness”: it seems so easy to diagnose it in retrospect, but the signs that seem so obvious *after* the shooting don’t trigger any warnings before the worst happens. Is this in part because some symptoms of mental illness are widely considered to be well within the range of “normal” behavior — until the individual goes over the line: perhaps “cracks up,” attempts suicide, or goes on a shooting rampage?

      I ask the same question about white supremacist ideology and misogyny. They don’t fit the medical models of “mental illness,” which tend to focus on the individual. White supremacist ideology and misogyny affect groups and whole societies. They’re contagious. The mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde underscore the similarities between hateful ideologies and so-called mental illness. At the moment I’m having a hard time figuring out the differences.

  4. According to recent statistics, 70% of school shootings are committed by people 18 years and younger.

    The constitution does guarantee the 2A so this could be at minimum a starting point to discuss.

    The current system is antiquated and is not uniformed. The investigator simply puts the name into a computer to see if they have an arrest record, waits for a fingerprint check to be done by the FBI and checks their references. An 18 year old is not in the system as adult criminal records and juvenile records are separate. There is simply nothing to check.

    A new system should be devised for that age group that should:
    1) Require that school records be reviewed and one teacher be interviewed
    2) Current employer be interviewed if employed
    3)Social Media be reviewed
    4) Parent or guardian be interviewed and told that gun will be possibly stored in the house.
    5) Juvenile records should also be reviewed.
    6) Psychological disclosure including all prescriptions

    Some permit applications specifically say that you can’t use a family member as a reference.

    • The Constitution does indeed include the 2nd Amendment, but the men who drafted it probably couldn’t have imagined that it would ever be interpreted to mean that Americans are entitled to all the guns they want. Decades of NRA lobbying and selectively supporting pro-gun politicians changed all that and led directly to the D.C. v. Heller decision (2008), which gives individuals the right to keep firearms. That was only 14 years ago, but look how many people assume this is what the founders intended! (Most historians and constitutional scholars believe otherwise.)

      Mr. Kelly, your proposed vetting system seems too cumbersome and time-consuming to be practical, but it’s given me an idea. According to the Violence Project, as much as 98 percent — 98 percent! — of all mass shootings in the U.S. are committed by men. (This probably includes 98% of the 70% committed by “people” 18 and under, right?) So how about applying your requirements to all XY-chromosome people who want to buy a firearm? #4 might be expanded to include partners of the applicant, especially female partners, who are not infrequently the targets of male gun violence.

      • Ms. Sturgis,

        Your sarcasm and tribalism is the exact reason why nothing will get done to solve this national crisis. My proposals are not cumbersome and if so what is the problem? The more time it takes to get a gun the better right?

        The Supreme Court has ruled that the 2A protection applies to the “most popular firearms” something that the modern day sporting rifle falls under.

        I would also suggest that you research that the fastest growing purchasers of guns are woman. I don’t see the need to denigrate and paint a certain segment of society in one particular way, I think we have a term for that.

        Good luck trying to change minds and find common ground to solve a problem with such an attitude.

  5. Everyone, including the students, needs to step up and be part of the solution. It would help the school and law enforcement if they advise the administration or parents when they see that a fellow classmate is posting threatening things on social media or acting aggressive in school. The sooner these kids can get some help, whatever that looks like, lives can be saved. Let’s stop pointing fingers at each other.

    • Jean– are you suggesting that fourth graders should be able to carry guns while they are in school ?

  6. Republicans continually resort to calling this a mental health issue. So ok– it’s a mental health issue– but the problem is not so much about more funding for services to people who need them.
    It’s about when someone goes to purchase a gun.
    In Texas, you can be bat guano crazy, spent most in your life in psychiatric units, and constantly post on line that you want to murder children. but when you attempt to purchase your ar-15, on your 18th birthday there is no background check.
    Apparently, in Texas, all you have to do is not be having a severe psychotic episode while you are in the gun shop.
    I don’t know, but it sounds like the laws in Texas would fine a gun shop owner who refused to sell an assault weapon to a person who was having a psychotic event and screaming that they wanted the gun RIGHT NOW so they could kill every black child in the school a block away.

    So I ask the first commenter here, how do we keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill ?

    • Don,
      Texas does require a background check called a NICS check and the shooter did undergo this check. He passed. The problem is when you are 18 you have no record to check. We see all the red flags only after the facts because we are using an antiquated system to vet applicants buying guns. See my above post on suggestions that were called cumbersome. I wonder how well that would go over telling the families that doing a proper background is cumbersome. Unreal!

  7. When the constitution & amendments were written there were no bullets, no high capacity magazines, or automatic pistols & rifles – the only charged projectiles were musket balls.
    If our forefathers had witnessed the carnage we’ve seen, they would certainly make amendments, and, they would put in motion a process to study & determine why these type of massacres happen most frequently in the USA…..

    • Rate of fire in 1776 was about one minie ball per minute, for a competent and experienced soldier. Or militia man.

Comments are closed.