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Marchers Say ‘Nowhere is Safe’
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Crystal Thurston, Char Roth and Julie Caldwell were among those who turned out for Saturday’s rally.
   
Monday, June 13, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Wendy Norman’s daughter couldn’t bear to go to school the day after a teenager used an assault weapon to kill 19 elementary school students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

She and her fellow students had endured a school shooting of their own in May 2021 when a sixth-grade girl brought a gun to the Rigby middle school, shooting two students and a staff member.

Seeing the look of terror on her daughter’s face as she learned about the latest school shooting is why Norman drove 164 miles Saturday morning to take part in Ketchum’s March for Our Lives rally.

 
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Ben Schepps did a little hoedown as the marchers crossed Sun Valley Road.
 

“I was teaching in middle school when the shooting at Columbine happened. I was teaching first grade when the shooting at Sandy Hook happened. I thought something would be done and nothing happened,” said Norman, who is running for the seat currently held by U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson.

“I’m for the Second Amendment. I just want a well-regulated Second Amendment. We need to do things like raise the age for buying guns—keep them out of the hands of young people whose brains haven’t quite developed.”

More than 450 cities across the United States held rallies organized by the youth-led March for Our Lives organization, which was formed after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla. A number of rallies took place in other countries, as well, including Switzerland and Germany.

Ketchum was one of just three towns in Idaho that held a March for Our Lives rally Saturday. The others were in Lewiston and Boise, where high school students organized a rally that brought 500 people to the Idaho Capitol Building, as well as 60 armed counter demonstrators wearing military-like clothing and gear.

 
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G. G. Luke, Liz Keegan, Elissa Eva, and Jan Philipsborn made their thoughts clear.
 

Nearly a hundred people turned out for Ketchum’s march, which was organized by Ann Christensen, a longtime teacher.

“No one should have an assault rifle,” said Hanna C., a young woman who was afraid to share her full name because of how sensitive and frightening she perceives the issue to be. “They don’t even belong on this planet.”

Artist Diana Fassino turned her sign into a piece of art with the message “No more assault weapons. March for love and peace and caring and helping and sharing and for all that we treasure—butterflies ad bees and rainbows and moonlight and flowers and laughter and music and art and hugs and kisses!”

“I grew up on a cattle ranch and I know that people don’t kill people. Guns kill people,” said Margaret Stewart. “It seems like one of our political parties like guns more than children.”

 
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“Which framers of the Constitution had assault weapons and high-capacity magazines?” asked one marcher.
 

Keefer Reynolds recounted her 12 years of teaching followed by many more years of volunteering in schools.

“I’ve seen kids traumatized by a loud noise,” she said. “Children—we fail them. Senators who get an A-plus from the NRA get an F-minus from this teacher.”

“We need to stop letting the gun lobbyists run the country,” added Elissa Eva.

As someone who grew up on a farm on the Washington-Idaho border north of Spokane, Julie Caldwell said she understood the use of guns for hunting.

 
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Margaret Stewart and Ann Christensen led the marchers back to the Ketchum Town Square.
 

“But no one needs an assault weapon,” she said. “Every time I hear about one of these shootings, I’m glad I live where I do. But, in reality, nowhere is safe.”

Fifteen-year-old Sarah Leidecker carried her 12-year-old brother Max Leidecker on her shoulders as they marched through downtown Ketchum. This was her third march, having attended a couple women’s marches before.

“I felt like I had to come out today because I read a lot about gun violence, and it always seems it just creates more violence,” she said. “We need to have more strict laws, more training how to use guns.”

  • Every year 278 people die and 281 are wounded by guns in Idaho.
  • The rate of gun deaths increased 43 percent in Idaho from 2011 to 2020 compared with a 33 percent increase nationwide.
  • The rate of gun suicides increased 40 percent compared to a 12 percent increase nationwide.
  • Idaho has the 18th highest societal cost of gun violence in the United States at $1,091 per person every year.
  • Gun deaths and injuries cost Idaho $2 billion, of which $44 million is paid by taxpayers.
  • In Idaho 87 percent of gun deaths are suicides compared with 59 percent nationwide.
  • Every year an average 242 people in Idaho die by gun suicides and 14 are wounded by gun suicide attempts.
  • Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Idaho. An average of 21 children and teens die by guns every year—84 percent of them suicides and 10 percent homicides.
  • An average of 30 people in Idaho die by gun homicides every year and 163 are wounded by gun assaults.

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