I was in philosophy class when we talked about it. It was eight in the morning. I was running on five hours of sleep, altogether a mess. It was first period on a Monday morning when our teacher went over the protocol we were to follow if an active shooter were to enter the building. They call the procedure ALICE. Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

I was angry. Not because this is an issue so prevalent that active shooter drills are now as common as fire drills, but because this wasn’t the first time this month and it won’t be the last that we must discuss the possibility of losing our lives.

The author, Duncan Regan, at the start of the march. Photo by Tracy Certo.

Less than a week after the Parkland shootings, I sat in a classroom where the first 20 minutes was devoted to the safety of our lives and the life of our teacher.

That is why I marched in March for Our Lives Pittsburgh today.

I march for the students who no longer can. I march to prove to Washington that we the people of the United States care more about the lives of our children than the protection of the weapons that were used to slaughter them in Columbine, in Sandyhook and in Parkland.

I march because I am tired of seeing politicians more interested in reelection than in protecting the lives of children. To those politicians too spineless to stand up for the children of this nation, I ask you to listen to us.

Listen to the students who go to school every morning with the fear of not coming home. Listen to the teachers who have less time to worry about our education because they must dedicate more time to ensuring that we get home safe.

At Market Square where a dozen students, politicians and others spoke at Pittsburgh’s March for Our Lives. Photo by Tracy Certo.
At Market Square where a dozen students, politicians and others spoke at Pittsburgh’s March for Our Lives. Photo by Tracy Certo.

Stop acting like we, the children of this country, “do not understand the issues.” I am 17 years old and I can assure you that I understand the issues. You don’t need to be a politician or even an adult to recognize that guns have no place in our schools, to understand that the lives of students like myself matter more than an organization so hell-bent on opposing gun control that they endanger the lives of innocent Americans.

I march because I am sick of bloodshed in schools across the country becoming the norm. I march because schools are not war zones. I march because I am a 17-year-old American and I love my country. I march because I want this country to be a haven for acceptance and peace, not disillusionment, fear and hatred. I march in the hope that when I have children of my own, their biggest concern will be getting to school on time, not never coming home.

The actions of the deplorable men who perpetrate these school shootings are indefensible. By opposing legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of these individuals, Washington is just as much to blame as the perpetrators themselves. This country was built on the ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This nation was built upon the desire of good men and women to protect civilians from injustice. If politicians are unwilling to stand up for the protection of the people of this nation, then they have no right to represent the people of this nation. I am 17 years old, and I march in the hope that we the people, no matter our economic situation, ethnicity, sex or age, can finally make a difference.

Duncan Regan is a junior at Fox Chapel Area High School. He is involved in the school’s choirs and a member of the Fox Chapel varsity ice hockey team. He hopes to go to college for music and performance.

See Pittsburgh’s March for Our Lives in photos.

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