We should be more surprised by school shootings. That I didn’t hear about the Florida shooting that killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day until I got home from a late dinner with friends says everything. School shootings are no longer breaking news. People don’t even feel the need to talk about them in real life anymore, and instead just like and share posts on Facebook and other social media. I remember being in the cafeteria at school when Sandy Hook happened. It was such a shock that people just crowded around the TVs and watched instead of going to class. That didn’t happen this time. The people who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did not get that level of attention.
And then things changed. The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas grew up in a different world than I did. They have always had social media, they have always had school shootings, they have always had war and violence and terror. And now they have had enough.
It has been two weeks and the story is still in the news. Conservatives say “don’t politicize a tragedy” and the survivors are hitting back with the opposite. Politicize it, they say, and remember that this wasn’t an accident. School shootings don’t just happen out of nowhere. The shooter was a legal gun owner. These kids want change and they’re going to get it.
Since the shooting, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas have spent their time on social media, making sure nobody forgets what happened to them and their friends, regardless of how commonplace this type of violence has become. They’ve got together and helped organize marches and demonstrations, including directly confronting politicians and lawmakers. They’ve pushed hard enough that companies that used to have deals with the National Rifle Association have dropped those deals. People are finally starting to realize that the problem lies not with access and normalization of guns. Lawmakers say that if guns are off the table these attackers will just find another way. But what are the chances that someone could kill dozens of people in a matter of minutes with a knife?
While students call for an end to gun violence, U.S. President Donald Trump suggests arming teachers. Lawmakers take money from the NRA for their campaigns and vote against policy that would limit the number of guns sold. But statistics speak for themselves. The U.S. is the only country where this happens all the time. There have been 291 school shootings in the US since 2013.
No matter what you think of gun control, there is a message to be taken away from this: Kids are going to change the world. The masses of young people growing up in this time of violence and tragedy, both in the US and Canada, and overseas, are doing their best to put an end to the terror. They’re going to keep pushing and you should too. The world will not change itself, but young people can do it instead. Despite the establishment’s best efforts, the young people of today are realizing that they have the power to make the changes they need in the world. Even colleges in the US are on their side, stating that they won’t reject students on the basis of their protesting for gun control. Take after their example and don’t stop fighting for what you deserve.
While you might not be able to attend the protests organized for next month, you can support them by attending local protests.