Solidarity march for gun control in Castlegar

A march to show solidarity with students seeking to end U.S. gun violence will be held Wednesday.

A march to show solidarity with students seeking to end gun violence in the U.S. is being planned in Castlegar.

The Solidarity March for U.S. Gun Control will take place on Wednesday, March 14 at 4:25 p.m. and will start from the Pioneer Arena and end at City Hall. There will then be guest speakers at 5 p.m.

The date of the march will coincide with the National School Walkout organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER in the U.S.

“Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods,” reads the website. “We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.”

Deb McIntosh, who is organizing the solidarity march in Castlegar, says the idea of the Castlegar march came about from a Facebook conversation and Linda Evans suggested they should hold a march and McIntosh agreed.

“So we put an event page together and started doing it, and what was really interesting is the discussion that came outside of the event. There were a number of men, actually, that jumped on about guns and that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, which only made it even more obvious that we needed to bring some more awareness to this,” said McIntosh.

While the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that has spurred students to action may have taken place in Parkland, Florida, McIntosh points out that Canada has its own history of school shootings and violent attacks (see below) — including the shooting at École Polytechnique in 1989, also known as the Montreal Massacre.

“And I don’t think people are really aware of that or we tend to forget and only look at the nice things,” says McIntosh. “So it does happen here, so we need to bring some awareness.”

McIntosh emphasized that Wednesday’s march is not about a ban on guns.

“We’re not marching to take anyone’s guns away. We’re not saying that’s what this is about. It’s about bringing awareness to the fact that certain guns are not needed in the public stream,” she says.

The march is to show solidarity with the Parkland shooting victims and “for the kids who are making such a huge, huge change in the United States,” says McIntosh. “And it’s taken that group of kids to make people stop and take notice.”

School violence in Canada

The following is a timeline of incidents of school violence in Canada dating back to September 2006:

Nov. 1, 2016

In Abbotsford, B.C., 21-year-old Gabriel Klein is charged with stabbing two female students at Abbotsford Senior. Both were taken to hospital where 13-year-old Letisha Reimer succumbed to her injuries.

Jan. 22, 2016

In La Loche, Sask., teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier were fatally shot when a 17-year-old boy opened fire. Seven others were also wounded. The boy, who can’t be named due to publication bans, had killed two teenage brothers at a nearby house earlier. He pleaded guilty to several counts of murder and attempted murder.

June 2, 2015

In Winnipeg, Manitoba, 17-year-old Brett Bourne was fatally stabbed after a confrontation at Kelvin High School. Another 17-year-old, who can’t be named due to publication bans, is charged with second-degree murder. Police said the dispute may have stemmed from “relationship issues,” possibly involving a girl.

Sept. 23, 2014

At North Albion Collegiate in Toronto, Ont., Hamid Aminzada, 19, was fatally stabbed while trying to break up a fight. A 17-year-old youth was later charged with second-degree murder.

April 5, 2013

In Gatineau, Que., Robert Charron enters a school daycare and directs staff to take the 53 children to safety before opening fire. The shooter is identified as Robert Charron. Thirty-eight-year-old Neil Galliou is killed before Charron takes his own life.

May 23, 2007

In Toronto, Ont., 15-year-old Jordan Manners died in hospital from a single gunshot wound to the chest after being found in a high school hallway. Two teens were charged with first-degree murder and were later acquitted.

Sept. 13, 2006

In Montreal, Que., 18-year-old Anastasia De Sousa was killed and 20 others hurt when 25-year-old gunman Kimveer Gill opened fire at Dawson College with a semi-automatic weapon. He was killed by police.

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