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College Democrats protest in honor of Columbine shootings

May 3, 2018

 

BRYN YOUNG

News Editor | bjy001@latech.edu

 

Protestors and counter-protestors of the gun debate met outside of Tolliver Hall on April 20. – Photo by Bryn Young

 

The Louisiana Tech College Democrats spent April 20 honoring those lost in the Columbine massacre and protesting gun violence with a die-in protest outside of Tolliver Hall.

 

As students walked out across the nation in remembrance of the 1999 shooting, the College Democrats took a stand and laid down in protest of gun violence. They were covered in bandages to look like victims and were surrounded by signs showing the statistics of gun violence in the United States and death tolls of mass shootings in recent years.

 

Nik Durman, special events coordinator for the College Democrats, said they chose the die-in protest to draw interest and show the effects of gun violence and school shootings.

 

“It’s different,” Durman said. “A lot of people don’t even know what a die-in is. This is something different to catch people’s attention rather than just sit here with a microphone. It allows us to throw up all these signs and for me, it’s a snapshot of school shootings. This is a snapshot of Louisiana Tech if a massacre happened.”

 

Durman said they took the anniversary of Columbine as a chance to keep the gun debate relevant and in the minds of fellow students.

 

“People have a short-sighted memory,” he said. “People tend to forget. They will remember Columbine today but tomorrow it will be out of sight and out of mind. It is good to spark conversation and keep conversation going. We had the March for Our Lives last month to try and start a conversation. It is important that as these dates keep coming up, we keep hitting it and keep it in everybody’s mind.”

 

The protest garnered a crowd of onlookers and counter-protesters looking to engage in debate about the causes of gun violence. Paul Dugas, a junior accounting major, was passing out pocket constitutions and pro-gun stickers. He said he came to present his side of the argument and challenge the notions presented by the protest.

 

“I’m not saying there has not been any gun violence,” Dugas said. “By every statistic, when you spread them all out, there have been more deaths by beatings than gun violence by four times the amount in the past decade.”

 

Dugas said he can see compromises between both sides and hopes his fellow students are willing to see his side of the argument.

 

“I agree with some things, like certain things need to be implemented like background checks,” he said. “We need to keep track of mental illnesses and people with felonies, but you have a right to protect yourself. I feel like we can come up with a compromise because I feel there is a compromise at hand. I’m not saying let everyone have their guns but every time you ban something it affects the law-abiding citizens and not the criminals.”

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