Oxford shooting warrants further protest

Many Calvin students wore blue and gold to classes on Dec. 8 as a means of expressing solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Nov. 30 school shooting in Oxford, Michigan. It wasn’t enough. The scale of the issue demands that we hold ourselves to a higher standard of action. 

In 2019, 23,941 Americans used guns to end their lives. Last year, the total death toll was 44,823. And for every soldier America has lost overseas since the start of the war in Vietnam, we have lost four children to bullets on our own soil. In that 60 year period, the total child and teen deaths is 193,000. For the first time, guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens. 

Understanding the scale of this human suffering, how can we say to ourselves that wearing blue and gold to classes on a Wednesday in December was enough? 

A reduction in gun violence will not be achieved just by acknowledging this moment, or expressing solidarity with its victims. We must act. Could you imagine if Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat –– and that was it? If 40,000 Black Montgomerians didn’t respond by boycotting city buses? That’s not the America I want to live in.

So let’s do more. Let’s wear blue and gold to classes. Let’s wear blue and gold while we write letters to Gretchen Whitmer and Jason Wentworth. Let’s wear blue and gold while we host sit-ins at the offices of Peter Meijer and Mark Huizenga. Let’s wear blue and gold while we fill the streets. Let’s wear blue and gold while we fight for the America we deserve.

Let’s do it in solidarity. Let’s do it to comfort the families and classmates who survived. And maybe, let’s do it to avenge those who did not.