On February 14th, 2018, yet another school shooting occurred, this time in Parkland, Florida. 17 people died, 14 of them being students. For the last twenty years, students in america have been no stranger to the idea of school shootings. Places like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and now Parkland, are now impossible to think about without associating them with their tragedies. I can’t even celebrate my birthday (12/14) without thinking about the 20 elementary students that were murdered on that day, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I’d do if a shooting happened at my school.
I remember when mass shootings were shocking. When they were all people could talk about for weeks. Recently, I’ve had shootings pass by that I almost miss. It shouldn’t be this way, and it makes me so proud that the survivors of the most recent shooting, Parkland, have decided to step up and shout “never again!”.
I can not express how grateful I am toward the wonderful, amazing students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They just survived an incredibly traumatic event and instead of staying home and recovering, they’re choosing to get angry and fight for the safety of millions. They’ve been organizing rallies, having talks with news anchors and politicians, even sacrificing attendance at friends’ funerals so that they can continue to have their voices heard. Check out their CNN town hall here.
The responses of the law makers hasn’t been as overwhelming as hoped. Politicians in Tallahassee refused to even debate the issue when the students traveled all the way there to talk to them. The president is pushing ridiculous solutions to the problem. Really? Arming teachers? I’ve almost gone down the military/police route, and there’s a reason I decided not to.
There are some people even claiming hoax and declaring these students “actors”. That, I think is the worst part of every shooting. The deniers. Can you imagine having just lost the most important person in your life and then being told that it never happened? Like you hadn’t just put them in the ground? Monsters.
Thankfully, though, some change is coming from the survivors’ efforts. I’ve seen gun lovers change their minds, politicians change their minds. Law makers are working toward banning bump stocks, improving background checks, and raising the age one can purchase guns. It should help, but until they fully ban weapons that are used in war, we still have something to really worry about.
In the mean time, it falls to us to keep fighting. Students and teachers around the nation have engaged in protest. There are official ones lined up for March 14th for 17 minutes and another April 20th which is all day. I know I’ll fully support any of my students and fellow teachers who decide to participate in some way. It is our lives after all.
Parkland survivors, thank you.