It’s a situation we pray we never have to experience. The lockdown sirens, the footsteps in the hallways, the frantic “I love you” texts to friends and family – It’s a horrific scenario that no one should ever have to go through, and yet in recent years it has become surprisingly common. It’s justified as a mere side effect of the “wonderful benefits” guns otherwise provide, pushed aside as an extreme occurrence that could not be prevented, and patched up with the power of Tweets and Facebook likes.
We have heard it all before. We have seen the patterns start to develop, and yet these shootings just keep happening. Just yesterday marked the 17th school shooting in 2018, taking place in Lexington Park, Maryland. The previous shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, taking the lives of 17 people. While sadness swept Parkland and destroyed the lives of students and families, a rise of anger and frustration came from the students. It was time to change the law. Considering politicians were not doing anything but sending “thoughts and prayers” the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have decided to step up and do it themselves.
Emma González has become a major public figure and advocate for gun reform after surviving the Parkland shooting. She stated in her speech during a memorial gathering, “we are going to be the students you read about in textbooks. Not because we are going to be another statistic about mass shootings in America, but because… we are going to be the last mass shooting.” Under Emma and a few of her peers’ influence, students have created the “Never Again” movement, which involves speeches, rallies, and demonstrations that all aim to put pressure on politicians to enforce stricter gun control. They have successfully executed nationwide walkouts, town hall meetings, rallies, written legislators, and used every tool available to them to advocate for change.
So how have people reacted to the actions of the Parkland students? According to USA Today, “major companies with ties to the National Rifle Association suddenly shed ties to the pro-gun-rights interest group amid intense scrutiny over the Parkland, Fl., school shooting.” This deducts money from the association most famously known for its staunch defense of gun rights and opposition to gun reform.
Additionally, after a CNN town hall with Marco Rubio, the Floridian senator admitted that “I traditionally have not supported looking at magazine clip size, and after this and some of the details I learned about it, I’m reconsidering that position,” giving hope to advocates of gun reform.
As for President Trump, no real legislation has been proposed in response to the shooting, other than a push to arm teachers in schools to prevent future massacres from occurring. While this is the absolute opposite of what Parkland students are calling for, the President has at least promised action, which is more than what has been done in past years.
In fact, it is stunning to see so much being done, not because of alarmed politicians and concerned adults, but because of children. Kids are now utilizing the technology and social media – the kind they were so often warned about and chastised for using by past generations – as a political platform. It serves as a reminder that in this day and age, everyone has a voice if they choose to use it. Now it is time for politicians to start using their power to fight for what their constituents want, and for kids to continue to apply the same type of pressure that we’ve seen so far to make the changes they need and deserve.