News

San Ramon Valley teens march for gun reform

Students voice frustration with inaction, frequency of shootings

Nearly 100 San Ramon Valley high school students, accompanied by a smattering of parents, marched down Bollinger Canyon Road in San Ramon on Friday afternoon to protest gun violence in the United States.

The event, held both to memorialize the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims and to advocate for gun reform, was organized by a group of sophomores at Dougherty Valley High School, and joins larger movement across the country, largely driven by teens.

The march began around 4:30 p.m., the teens carrying anti-gun violence signs and chanting “We want change” and “NRA go away.” Their walk garnered supportive honks from many passing drivers on the well-traveled thoroughfare.

The teens stopped just short of the Target complex at Bishop Ranch, at which point they turned around and returned to San Ramon City Hall for a memorial and open-microphone session.

To commemorate the lives of the 14 students and three staff members who were killed in the Parkland shooting, students let loose 17 black balloons, one-by-one after organizer Nathan Nguyen read each victim’s name aloud.

At the open-mic session, students spoke on a variety of subjects, voicing frustrations with politicians and societal leaders for failing to address the root causes of the many school shootings that have taken place in recent years.

“It’s time now,” said Jill Lee, another of the sophomore organizers. “We owe that much to the friends and family of the 17 individuals whose lives were lost.”

She recalled speaking five months ago on the exact same topic in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, and criticized politicians who “denounced the politicizing of such tragedy, who sent thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families, who have received in total over $25 million from the NRA, who said their hands were tied by an amendment, historical amendment that did not take into account the invention of semi-automatics capable of firing over 150 rounds a minute.”

Bella Chaves, another of the sophomore leaders, used to live in Broward County and spoke about Nicholas Dworet, who was on her swim team -- and who was one of the 17 shot and killed during the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

“In truth, there is no best course of action,” she said, referring to Code Red drills and established school protocols to respond to a gunman on campus. “There can be procedures and rules, and codes written in rulebooks from coast to coast. But there will never be a course of action that will effectively protect the children in the schools of this country, until this country decides that their lives are the number one priority.”

The march and rally came days before many Tri-Valley high-schoolers are expected to take part in National School Walkout Day on Wednesday, also in support of gun control and reform.

Linda Nguyen, the mother of Nathan Nguyen, said that her son wanted to organize the event because he is passionate about school safety and wants students to have a voice, even though they can’t vote.

“They’re making a difference,” she said.

Comments

15 people like this
Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2018 at 8:23 am

So proud of these kids, gives me hope for the future to see what the kids from Stoneman Douglas in Florida are doing through activism and inspiring kids around the country to take action and be the change they want to see in their country. Way to go, keep it up!!!!


21 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2018 at 11:43 am

I would love to see these same impassioned young adults marching to save the lives of the 300,000 plus children killed each year through abortion in this country. They never are given an opportunity to attend high school, or even meet their mothers. Their lives are just as important...aren’t they?


29 people like this
Posted by Gail
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2018 at 1:10 pm

It's nice to see that these students want their voices heard regarding school safety. Students should never have to worry about their safety when attending school! What's sad to me is that the adults that are advising/organizing them (in California as well) are misleading them to think that the NRA has something to do with these shootings. The students need to know the truth, and in the case of the Parkland shooter, it was the local, state and Federal government that are to blame NOT THE NRA. The adults in the room need to be honest about that, as well as the Gun laws that are already on the books and don't get enforced! Perhaps use some of that energy to reach out to States that allow gun shows that don't require waiting periods/background checks, which is a HUGE issue when it comes to addressing gun control and reform. The mass shooting incidents we have in the USA are not because of the NRA!


26 people like this
Posted by Annie Oakley
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Annie Oakley is a registered user.

Mary and Gail's posts are classic deflections. Mary would like to have everyone think of something else. That's a separate issue, and problem.

Gail would like to deflect everyone away from blaming the worst culprits - EXACTLY the NRA - and separate us from the big bad government - as if it was a separate entity in a democracy. She makes a gross over-generalization about "gun laws that are on the books" and then advocates for precisely the kinds of laws that the NRA actively opposes - but don't blame the NRA??

The fact that enforcement and protection will always be imperfect argues for More layers of prevention, including assault rifle and bumpstock bans, background checks and proficiency tests, among other things. Will we ever win completely - meaning no mass shootings or accidental deaths - very unlikely - but can we take steps to reduce their likelihood? Absolutely - No question. And who's standing in the way, every time, everywhere? The very bloody NRA, that's who.

So fight the good fight young'uns - and VOTE.


33 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 12, 2018 at 4:43 pm

The issue is not guns. The issue for Florida is the FBI did not investigate the high number of calls regarding Nicholas' behavior. This could have been prevented if the FBI did their job instead of taking bonuses for following the direction given to stop investigating teen issues after 45 cases had been reviewed each month. Don't you find it funny that the Las Vegas shooting has gone quiet with no details? Do you really think that man operated alone? The issue is our family units have deteriated and we don't have anything to look to when life gets hard or lonely we have turned our back on God. Banning guns is not going to change anything there will always be the black market then the guns will be in the hands of criminals and the innocent with have no protection. Kids should not be protesting because some organization contacts them on social media telling them what to do. Our kids should be researching the topic for themselves and discussing it in class, learn how to think for themselves but thinking for ourselves is a thing of the past no one wants to look into these organizations and who is behind them and what other groups they are apart of, just because it looks right doesn't mean it's right. Don't take things for face value RESEARCH things!!!


17 people like this
Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2018 at 8:58 am

Trying to point fingers, to me, is the classic deflection. There's plenty of blame to pass around here at all levels. I'd guess that the overwhelming majority of NRA members are honest, law abiding members that want the same things we all do. I think it is important not to brush with too broad of strokes. But I do believe that the NRA leadership is completely in the pocket of the gun lobby (as are many of our politicians) with the goal of simply selling more guns and therefore will do anything to ensure that guns continue to sell without new restrictions. The leadership is without question in my mind part of the problem and I'd love to see NRA members be the ones that make that point.

But the other poster, Gail, makes a great point. California has some of the strictest gun laws, but it is easy for people to go to other states to take advantage of the private sale, background check loopholes. We need stronger universal regulations across the country to help. Ultimately, there is no silver bullet to resolve this issue, no pun intended. We need to look at a whole host of solutions, including better universal gun regulations, and better mental health support. We need our politicians to listen to the will of the people. This is not a left or right issue. The overwhelming majority of Americans want tighter gun regulations. Nobody wants to take guns away from law abiding citizens, that is the example of the rhetoric created by the NRA leadership to sell more guns (see how gun sales dramatically increased during the Obama era when everyone said he was going to take away our guns).

Lastly, in my humble opinion, we need to look around the world and dispense with this hubris that we know better. We're the only developed nation in the world that has this kind of widespread gun ownership and...guess what....widespread mass shootings. How can we think there is not a connection? Please read this recent article from Fortunate Magazine about what Australia did 20 years ago in the wake of a mass shooting and how that has completely changed everything over there for the better. Web Link

Once again, I applaud our youth across the country for taking a stand and I support them wholeheartedly. Keep it up kids!!!!


43 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Clearly, critical thinking is not being taught in local schools, nor is that an attribute of many of the above posts. The failure of state, local, and federal (FBI) authorities enabled the Florida shooting.

If the on site armed guard was not a coward, lives would have been saved. If just one of the teachers had been armed, lives would have been saved. If the coach that died shielding students, was armed, lives would have been saved. If the FBI had done their job & acted on numerous tips, likely the shooting would not have happened.

The above posts are like a script from the movie Casablanca, where the French police chief says he's going to search for the "usual suspects". In the Florida case, the "usual suspects" are the NRA & more "gun control" (whatever that's supposed to mean.), & both of these "usual suspects have nothing to do with the shooting and are simply convenient "straw men".


12 people like this
Posted by Diane
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 13, 2018 at 2:43 pm

I'm so proud of these kids, for marching about something they find meaningful in this mess. @Mary, there are plenty of causes to go around. Why interject your cause on to these impassioned young people, who are fighting to find a way to keep themselves safe? That is relevant to them - let's back off and let them do it absent our own agenda.


36 people like this
Posted by A Meaningful Action
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 13, 2018 at 4:21 pm

A Meaningful Action is a registered user.

Instead of encouraging these kids to march up and down the street, accomplishing nothing but causing traffic jams and endangering their own safety, why don't people encourage them to do something about these "lone wolf" shooters who are found to be alone, friendless, bullied, ignored and cast aside? Why are these kids not seriously encouraged to talk to these kids, eat lunch with them, sit with them in class, ask them how they are, see if there is anyway they, as peers, can help? Don't people do it because they believe these kids don't have time, being too busy texting the entire immediate world, or is it not visible enough, such as marching down the street and maybe getting on TV? These kids could make a big change if they wanted to; they just don't want to.


8 people like this
Posted by Diane
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Wow, that is quite judgmental. How do you know that there aren't kids that are befriending those that are alone, or on the fringe socially? My kids went to SRVHS, one was very much a "doesn't quite fit in" type of person, bullied in middle school, and she had many other girls reach out to her to offer friendship. Just because you don't agree with how these kids choose to express concern over gun violence, does not mean that they can't march (which was meaningful to them) as well as reach out and befriend other kids. These are not mutually exclusive categories!


10 people like this
Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2018 at 8:26 am

It is time to teach the students, and many of the adults, about logic, and critical thinking analysis. First, everyone sane is against "gun violence". That is not the issue. The issue is to comply with the Constitution, and the second amendment, and the right to be arms, while promoting safety and curtailing violence, and to quote, "Diane", "they are not mutually exclusive".

I actually heard a so-called teacher at a local high school make the comment that "why is it that only in America that people feel they have a right to own a gun?" Well, "teacher", we have a little thing in the U.S. you may not have heard of, called the Constitution, that creates rights for law abiding citizens. No wonder most of our students lack critical thinking skills, when the teachers are either so ignorant of basic civics, or so politically liberal that they consciously are trying to spoon feed our kids with false assumptions and misleading narratives.

If we are going to have a rationale, fact driven debate on this issue, we need to be willing to be "politically incorrect", and not just encourage kids to walk out of class with signs saying "stop gun violence". If you look at actual stats from the FBI, you will see that many of the cities that have passed the most restrictive laws on gun ownership have subsequently had the largest increases in gun violence. Look at Chicago, and the huge spike in gun violence from 2013-2017 after passing some of the most restrictive gun ownership laws in the country.

The reality is that criminals will use whatever weapon is available to them, whether gun, knife, club, baseball bat, to further their crimes and criminal activity. They also do not walk into a gun store, fill out forms, wait for the background search, and lawfully obtain guns. Only law abiding citizens follow the laws on legally purchasing guns. The result of overly restrictive gun ownership laws is that criminals know that less of their victims and targets are armed, and it is an incentive for them to proceed with their crimes. Thus, the same criminals commit more and more crimes, and gun violence stats increase.

However, at the same time, we can follow the Constitution, and not violate the second amendment, if we pass common sense restrictions, that help prevent mentally unstable, and immature people from, buying rapid fire guns. It makes no sense that an 18 year old can buy an automatic fire gun, but can not buy cigarettes or beer. A reasonable restriction would be to mandate the age of 21 to be able to lawfully buy a gun. The maturity that comes with age would help prevent immature individuals from acting impulsively with guns. Another reasonable restriction would be barring any mental unstable person from purchasing guns, with waiting periods to do background searches.

It is time to have an honest, open, and logical discussion on this issue, and not simply say, "guns are bad", and lets "outlaw guns" and walk out of class. The time spent walking out of class should be spent in reading the constitution, especially the second amendment, and this applies unfortunately not only to the students, but also many of the teachers.


8 people like this
Posted by Diane
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 14, 2018 at 8:55 am

@Danville, I believe we all have the right to express our opinions, but I take exception to your negative characterization of the teachers we have in this district. In addition, one might want to take care to proofread their posts, prior to calling out teachers for being "ignorant."


4 people like this
Posted by Another Chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 14, 2018 at 9:30 am

@Danville Funny you say that "we can follow the Constitution" which says "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,"
but then state "It makes no sense that an 18 year old can buy an automatic fire gun." So its ok to infringe on some people's right to bear some arms?


6 people like this
Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2018 at 9:55 am

First, "Diane", your comment, "I believe we all have the right to express our opinions...", wow, thank you so much for that! That is so incredibly deep and generous of you! You are truly progressive and enlightened! I appreciate you allowing me to have an opinion that you and the p.c. police may not agree with! I guess I was wrong, you have actually read the Constitution, and did not miss the section on freedom of speech. God bless you! Oops, sorry, hope I did not offend you with the reference to God. My bad.

And, to "Another Chris", thank you for your question, and for actually keeping an honest and intelligent conversation alive.(Diane, is my grammar ok so far?) We are a nation founded on the rule of law(please do not tell this to the Sanctuary cities, they get very mad at this fact and the fact that the Federal law preempts state law on immigration), and case law has established that the government may pass reasonable regulations if a compelling interest exist on constitutional rights. I.E., I can stand on my property and state my opinions(even if Diane disagrees with them)as allowed by the First Amendment, but I can not yell "fire" in a crowded movie theatre. When the government has a compelling reason a reasonable regulation may exist on that right, but not the outlawing altogether of that right. So, reasonable regulations already exist, for example, that a 5 year old can not buy a gun, as there is a compelling government interest in not allowing immature individuals to possess guns.

So, "Another Chris", since we are a nation based on the rule of law, and the law says the government can place reasonable regulations on a right if there is a compelling interest, my suggestion was to pass a federal law that requires a person be 21 to buy a gun. (Something tells me that those sanctuary cities that feel they do not have to follow preemptive federal law on immigration would suddenly follow this concept and yell till the cows come home about us being a nation based on the rule of law and all states must comply. Diane, do you see the irony in their lack of critical thinking analysis skills?)


3 people like this
Posted by Diane
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 14, 2018 at 10:08 am

@ Danville, you are most welcome! Your grammar was fine (up until the point you ask in your comment) by the way.

My husband is a pastor, so I'm especially curious as to why you assume that your reference to God would offend me. What about my postings have given that impression?

What the heck is "PC Police" and can I expect some sort of compensation for this auspicious sounding title?


7 people like this
Posted by Annie Oakley
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Annie Oakley is a registered user.

@ A Meaningful Action, give this a read: Web Link

"Participating in political activism may be good for our teenagers, according to a new research report.

The study, published in January in the journal Child Development, found that late adolescents and young adults who voted, volunteered or engaged in activism ultimately went further in school and had higher incomes than those who did not mobilize for political or social change.

By tracking nearly 10,000 young people from a wide variety of ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds, researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Fordham University and the University of Massachusetts measured the long-term implications of youth political and social engagement. Remarkably, they found that civic activity linked to better academic and financial outcomes regardless of early school performance and parental education levels, two factors that usually drive later success.

Of course, correlation does not prove causation, but the study makes a case for the benefits of civic engagement..."

I'm in favor of encouraging such civic engagement - how about you?


11 people like this
Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2018 at 1:38 pm

"Diane":

To answer your question, President Obama and many of his liberal admirers, often used the phrase to attack those who supported the second amendment, as people that were "clinging to their guns and religion".


1 person likes this
Posted by Diane
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for clarifying, Danville! I had not heard that term before, though I can't imagine accusing anyone of clinging to their guns or religion myself. I'm stuck here recovering from surgery, bored to tears and missing my job, and I appreciate that you took the time to explain and teach me something in the process (I was expecting a rather cranky response, and you surprised me :o).


33 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 14, 2018 at 2:49 pm

The post from "A Meaningful Action" brought up something that the student protesters can really do something about,and that is to attempt to befriend the lone wolf bullied outcasts at their own school. There's always a few kids that don't "fit in", are a bit "weird" & "uncool" and therefore are relentlessly ridiculed, bullied, or simply ignored. The shooter in Florida allegedly was such a kid that did not fit in & was bullied. His actions of course is inexcusable, but the kids that were involved in ridiculing him just may have pushed him over the edge into total insanity. But of course the kids that bullied him are little innocent angels and have no blood on their hands, instead it's the NRA's fault.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 14, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Typo: are


Like this comment
Posted by another chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 14, 2018 at 4:13 pm

@Danville The key to the legal argument you make for raising the age to purchase guns is "compelling interest." We'll have to wait and see how the supreme court rules on Florida's latest law. As for 5 year-olds not being able to buy guns, they're not considered adults in this country whereas 18 year-olds are.

It is also interesting that you keep bringing up sanctuary cities and the rule of law. Could you better articulate which federal law(s) are being violated?

Thanks and I appreciate being able to have civil discussion on what can be hot button topics


4 people like this
Posted by What!
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 15, 2018 at 7:03 am

Nothing more than a political statement by the gun-hating left!


9 people like this
Posted by Dan Parnas
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2018 at 8:14 am

Please people, educate yourself on what the rest of the world does with respect to guns. Hubris is a cancer in this country. With a rash of car related deaths, we regulate car safety, with seatbelts and airbags and requiring drivers licenses and tests and insurance and car related deaths drops dramatically. Why can't we take a similar approach with guns? Seriously, I'm asking that question, can anyone explain that to me? And don't use the constitutional right as the response. Remember back when slavery was allowed within the constitution? Or that women weren't allowed to vote within the constitution? Just because it might be allowed within the constitution doesn't make it right. And that's what constitutional amendments are for. It takes the courage of politicians, which is sorely lacking these days, and the will of the people to vote in those politicians that have that courage to do what is right. I keep going back to the Australian example. Educate yourself about what they did in Australia 20 years ago. Prior to that, it would have been similarly incomprehensible to take a much harder approach on gun control, but in the wake of a horrific mass shooting in Australia, their politicians were courageous and did what was right and 20 years later, it is clear that it was the right thing to do, without hampering the ability for law abiding citizens to still own and use guns in a responsible manner. We can do that here. I believe that with the activism of our youth, this is a turning point and we are on that course. Nobody wants to take away guns from law abiding citizens that have a legitimate recreational purpose, but assault type weapons certainly are unnecessary and certainly were not envisioned in the days of musket balls when the 2nd amendment was written. We can do this. It is not a left or right thing. It is about doing what is right for our children and their children and making this country a safer place for all.

There are so many articles out there about the Australian example. Check it out for yourself. Here are a few. It's all out there. 1)Web Link
2) Web Link
3) Web Link


11 people like this
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 15, 2018 at 10:05 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.

Just curious: Can anyone really justify having a fully automatic rifle for protection? Or even a military type assault weapon?

Pretty easy to get a license to drive once requirements are met. However, there are special licenses for multi axle vehicles. I think a reasonable option would be a 'special license' for assault and fully automatic weapons. Just like driving. But, boy, would the NRA have a fit.


8 people like this
Posted by Annie Oakley
a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2018 at 11:52 am

Annie Oakley is a registered user.

Actually, you do have to demonstrate basic proficiency and knowledge of the rules before we let you loose on the highways, and a variety of working safety features must be available on the vehicle, and used - all the time. And cars are infinitely more useful than guns.

I don't see why either of those requirements shouldn't be applied to guns. Neither infringes the right to keep the weapon (even if you ignore the important 'militias' qualifier, which in a saner world would render the whole debate moot). Either that, or I'd have less objection if the 2A was limited to those weapons that existed upon its enactment - a right to keep and bear muskets is okay by me.


23 people like this
Posted by A meaningful action
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 16, 2018 at 9:13 am

A meaningful action is a registered user.

Diane - "How do I know...". Because these things keep happening; that's how I know. If these wonderful kids you are so eager to defend were befriending the friendless, these lone wolf shooters would not exist. Wake up! Kids today are on the whole, a selfish, spoiled, self centered, entitled brats who can't look up to see a friendless classmate because they are too busy taking selfies!


3 people like this
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 16, 2018 at 9:45 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.

AMA: Ah, you have any school aged kids? If so, are they as you describe?

You need to spend more time around school aged kids because your paint brush is way too wide.

Thank goodness your opinion is not a fact.


24 people like this
Posted by A Meaningful Action
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 16, 2018 at 11:14 am

A Meaningful Action is a registered user.

Scott Hale, I have 4 kids, who are KNOWN around their schools for befriending the friendless. In our house we call them "the strays" and my kids are constantly bringing them home, as the have been TAUGHT to do. Believe me I spend plenty of time around kids, and the thoughtful, considerate, polite and kind ones are the EXCEPTION, not the rule. How many kids have YOURS befriended this week? month? year? I suppose yours are some of the entitled brats that populate these schools today, so you don't see kids as being any different than yours. How many kids do YOU have in these schools today? Wake up! These kids need WAY more teaching, guiding, mentoring and disciplining than they are getting. Everyone I know says the same thing; the youth today are too busy with their heads glued to their phones to notice anything in the world around them, except if their cell signal goes out or they don't get their way too big allowance on time. Let me know what YOURS have done this week to help with school violence. And just wait outside of your kids school some time to see how these kids act and how many of the parents are paying attention or care. They are glued to their cell phones as well.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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