Chicago high school students walk out over gun violence

Chicago high school students walk out over gun violence
AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

I’m not a big fan of empty gestures, for the most part. I get someone doing something to draw attention to an issue, and sometimes that’s the most they can do, but there are other times when people just do things for the sake of doing something, and that tends to infuriate me.

For example, there’s not really a need to draw awareness or anything else to the problem of violence in Chicago.

Which means any effort should be targeted to actually yield results. A walkout over “gun violence” in the city ain’t it.

Students at a Chicago high school staged a classroom walkout Monday afternoon to protest gun violence just days after a shooting near their campus left two teenagers dead and two others wounded.

Students at Benito Juarez Community Academy in the Pilsen neighborhood on the city’s southwest side, left their classrooms and gathered around a makeshift memorial where Friday’s shooting occurred. The students called on city leaders to bolster security on their campus and crack down on gangs.

Many of the students released balloons into the air as they held a vigil for the victims.

“I want Benito Juarez to be safer because, honestly, I felt like this situation wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t a lot of gang activity around the school,” one of the student protest organizers, Kiya, told ABC Chicago station WLS-TV. “It’s scary for people like me, who are not gang-affiliated, that have to go to school every day and then wonder, ‘Dang, am I going to get shot?'”

I understand the sentiment.

That said, I can’t help but feel like if this is really how students feel, maybe it’s better to find something that can actually produce results. A walkout won’t.

See, this is just another generic protest against violent crime.

Has there ever been, in the entire history of mankind, a single violent criminal who changed his ways in the wake of some protest against “gun violence” or something similar? Has anyone ever decided to walk the straight and narrow after the community voiced their opposition to violent crime?

No. It’s never happened.

You’re not likely to see someone honestly say, “Well, I was a gang member who shot and killed people. I would have still done it if not for this protest against gang violence. I had no idea that people thought killing others was bad!”

They know violent crime is bad. They just do it anyway because they don’t care about much of anything else. They’re driven by…whatever. Maybe it’s cultural, maybe it’s selfishness, maybe it’s something else. Regardless, it’s a problem, they know they’re breaking the law, and they simply don’t care.

It’s unlikely a walkout by a bunch of high school students is going to change that, and when I say “unlikely,” I mean that Scarlette Johansson asking me out and my wife being cool with it is more likely than this nonsense actually accomplishing anything.

Granted, it’s possible that this was nothing more than a way to get the kids to settle down a bit so they could get back to learning, but I doubt it.

If they want to delve into meaningful work, I commend them, but this ain’t it. They’ve accomplished nothing except skipping class with teacher permission.

That’s one way to get out of that math test, though.