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Colorado Students Storm Out of Vigil After Speakers Politicized Their Grief

Colorado Students Storm Out of Vigil After Speakers Politicized Their Grief

“We are people, not a statement.”

On Tuesday, two people attacked the STEM School Highlands Ranch and injured eight students. Kendrick Collins, 18, rushed towards the shooters to save other students. He passed away.

Students held a vigil for Collins on Wednesday night but marched out of it after two politicians used the event to push for gun control.

They did not approve of the politicians politicizing their grief.

The vigil was bound to turn political since the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence organized it. Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet, a presidential candidate, and Democrat Rep. Jason Crow used the vigil to push gun control. From ABC News:

Speakers at the event, which honored Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old who was killed protecting his fellow classmates at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, also talked about the need to take action in the wake of another tragic school shooting and reform the nation’s gun laws.

“I know our kids already have enough to do, they have a job to do when they come to school, you have a job to do when you come to school,” Bennet, the former Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, said before praising Castillo’s bravery. “Their job is not to fix America’s broken gun laws. Their job is not, as Kendrick so selflessly did yesterday, to give up their own life to save their classmates lives. Or the teachers’ lives. That’s not their job.”

“You sent me to Washington to speak the truth. So here it is – we are failing. We are failing when this happens over and over and over and over again and nothing happens,” Crow, a gun owner and former Army Ranger elected to Congress last year, said. “You already have my thoughts and prayers, but you deserve and should demand more. Because to only send thoughts and prayers when you’re a member of Congress or when you’re in a position to take action and to affect change, it is empty, it is hollow, and you and your children deserve more.”

As the speeches went on, students became frustrated and left. Some shouted, “Let STEM students speak!” It all became too much, which led the students to march out. Others yelled as they left “‘this is not for us,’ ‘political stunt’ and ‘we are people, not a statement.'”

From The Denver Post:

The tone changed during the second vigil at Highlands Ranch High School, as STEM School Highlands Ranch students burst into a spontaneous demonstration, protesting politics and the media.

The protest, in the form of a walkout with chants, happened after Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democratic presidential hopeful, and Congressman Jason Crow, spoke to the crowd.

Students, several hundred strong, chanted “Mental health” and complained about the media in derogatory terms.

More from USA Today:

Candace Craig, who has three kids attending STEM, said it was just too early for to push for action. She said the trauma is still fresh for the thousands of parents and their kids who suffered through the shooting and the anxious hours that followed.

“We need quiet. We need familiar faces. We need to hold our babies. We will heal and we will rise stronger and ready to say ‘enough,'” she said Thursday. “But right now, we are shaken. We are broken. We hurt for the families whose worlds were turned upside down with grief and loss. That’s what we want the world to hear from us.”

Wednesday night, the traumatized shooting survivors who exited the rally thrust lighted cellphones into the air and chanted “mental health, mental health,” as their hands and voices shook in the cold rain. Angry students pushed and screamed at journalists, demanding to see photos they had taken.

The students returned to the gym but took over the microphone to voice their frustrations. One student lashed out at the politicians for treating them as statistics instead of people:

Students later re-entered the event and vented their frustration at the media and politicians.

“What happened at STEM is awful, but it’s not a statistic. We can’t be used for a reason for gun control. We are people, not a statement,” one student said after the event.

The Brady Campaign apologized for the event. The organizers only realized after the walkout “that all efforts should be focused on providing support to the students, faculty, and families affected by the tragic shooting.”

Shame on these politicians. Major props to the students. You see it on social media after every shooting. Every person who wants gun control immediately politicizes the tragedy to push their agenda. It’s disgusting and inappropriate.

Hopefully, they learned their lesson. I do not have high hopes for that, though.


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amatuerwrangler | May 10, 2019 at 1:13 pm

I think the student killed in his act of heroism was Kendrick Castillo, not Collins.

St. David Hogg will not be pleased.

I’ve got an idea… Stop inviting politicians to speak at these events. There is no reason for them to be there. Have them issue a written press release that no will care about much less read. And tell the media to stay away… they don’t care about your grief anyway.

theduchessofkitty | May 10, 2019 at 2:50 pm

“Mental Health!” the kids shouted.

The kids get it. Not the politicians. Not the gun control lobby.

    DieJustAsHappy in reply to theduchessofkitty. | May 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Exactly. Mental health is an issue not only for those who commit such atrocious acts, but also for any number in the media, in education, and, most assuredly, politicians!

    My heart goes out to these kids that when they need it most adults are not so very understanding and compassionate.

And how does the NYTs and the AP frame it?

The Latest. Shooting Vigil Disrupted By Upset Students”

Perhaps Mary could imbed this image of the flyer

This is perfect. I call it voting with your feet. If you don’t like what they are doing or saying, walk away. If you are in the girls state track finals and there are two boys competing against you, when the gun fires just stand there. The best you can do is 3rd place and as the Marines say, second place is first loser. If the woke power brokers at schools say you have to share your girls locker room before or after a competition with a dude, don’t compete. Boycott gym class. It’s hard and the school system and progressive society have spent the first 14 to 18 years of our education programming us to tow the line. This isn’t Conservative or Progressive, it’s common sense. The kids did the right thing and they need to keep doing it.

“Mental Health!” says it all. Something ugly has happened in our country over the last few decades, and mental health has a lot to do with it. Just look at the two shooters – one with a bizarre hairdo and the other only 16 years old and transitioning from female to male. See anything wrong here?

We have been shamed and cajoled and manipulated into accepting bizarre and fringe behavior as normal under the umbrella of “Diversity”. If we don’t accept the teen who is transitioning, the adult who puts implants under his scalp and slits his tongue and injects ink into his eyeballs and on and on … we are labeled. We are made outcasts and called names and told we are on the wrong side of history.

And honestly, a great number of these diverse people are either calling out for help and/or in desperate need of help. And if you are honest (and brave enough) you will admit that not too long ago these people would have been hospitalized and/or under some sort of treatment.

We have mainstreamed and legitimized mental illness. These people should not be around guns, sharp knives, heavy machinery, etc. Seriously, people who die their hair orange would have been the talk of the town and known to be mentally ill back in the 1950’s and beyond. If someone acted like that everyone would know. Everyone knew Willy The Bum who rode a girls bike while wearing a dress in North Providence.

The problem with these shootings isn’t guns. The problem is we think people who are seriously in need of help as “cute” or “eccentric” or “just expressing themselves.” Our society lacks the balls to call it like it is, and the ability to do anything about it. Crazy is given a free pass and we are paying the price.

These kids get it. Political Correctness silences the conversation.

Good for them!

JusticeDelivered | May 10, 2019 at 6:34 pm

While medical diagnostic technology has improved by leaps and bounds, the same cannot be said for mental illness. While there are new medications, they are not very effective and our understanding of brain chemistry and function has no improved much.