March for Our Lives: Protesters call for gun control

Jun 12, 2022

Nearly two hundred people lined Route 6 in front of Town Hall on Saturday, joining tens of thousands across the country in the March for Our Lives.

The march, organized by survivors of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, is a student-led movement for gun control.

In Wareham, locals and people from across the south coast and Cape gathered, with signs urging gun control and asking when the violence will stop.

On the Town Hall lawn stood a memorial honoring the 21 victims in the Uvalde, Texas shooting. Throughout the event, protesters wandered over by themselves or in pairs to spend a quiet moment in thought.

“If people show up in smaller towns all over the place, that means we’re speaking everywhere,” said Betsy Budd, a retired teacher from Wareham. “What’s going on can happen anywhere. That’s the scariest piece of all.”

Lori Labrecque of Mashpee, a retired teacher and a grandmother, said that teachers have enough to do to keep their students safe without worrying about guns, and said lockdown drills and the fear of shootings have a chilling effect on education.

“What it does is it diminishes your energy, your motivation,” she said. “You start questioning every door in the building — could this be a door an intruder could enter?”

Labrecque said she’s an advocate for showing up until something changes.

Ervin “Tootsie” Russell, the chaplain for the Onset VFW, held a sign reading “No need for automatic weapons in civilian hands.”

“Hopefully this will spread awareness and common sense,” Russel said, noting that the turnout to the rally was “beautiful.”

“I think that we need to ban assault weapons,” said Meredith Boshes of Mattapoisett. “In other countries, it only took one massacre.”

Sean Pratt of Abington was the first person to arrive at the protest. He said that while advocates for loose gun laws often focus on the idea of protecting their rights, that argument isn’t convincing to him.

“What about the rights of all those people who died?” he asked.

Pratt said that until there’s a fundamental paradigm shift in our society and people start to care about each other, no one should have assault weapons.

“It’s not a Democrat or Republican thing,” said Sandy Cormier, one of the three Wareham women who organized the event. “We can do something. I know we can.”

Cormier put the event together with the “Blue Crew”: Former Select Board member Brenda Eckstrom and Kate Furler.

Karen Gray, a Wareham resident who teaches in another town, said she’s dismayed by calls for teachers to arm themselves.

“I don’t want a gun,” she said. “I feel like I have some rights, too.” 

She said she’s been able to make some inroads with people skeptical of gun control by having a conversation on a human level, without focusing on politics too much.

Gray added that as a teacher, her job is to nurture her students’ learning.

“Guns are the opposite of nurture,” she said.

Passing drivers mostly gave honks in support, though protesters noted a few obscenities had been thrown their way, too.

To reach the Blue Crew, who said they’re interested in ideas for future actions, email