Making a movement

Teenagers take action after Parkland shooting

by Bri Branscomb, Assistant Editor

The Parkland shooting that occured last week resulted in the loss of 17 lives, marking it as one of the deadliest shootings in modern US history, and the deadliest high school shooting in American history. Outrage was sparked nationwide as news emerged that the shooter legally obtained the weapon used in the shooting, despite a long history of violence and mental illness.

“This is enough,” sophomore Shadan Bankston said. “There’s been no congressional action [to address gun violence] and that’s disgusting. There’s no need for a citizen to own an automatic weapon that can do mass amounts of damage in a small amount of time. This makes our country seem very foolish for taking no action [when] a lot of people [are] dying due to mass shootings.”

Many have called for strengthened gun reform efforts in the wake of the shooting, including the survivors themselves. Students such as Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky have taken action in memory of their fallen classmates, creating the ‘Never Again’ and ‘March For Our Lives’ movements. They hope to pressure politicians into creating common sense gun reform, among other things.

“I think [the shooting] is horrific,” senior Julianna Merchant said. “However, people automatically point their fingers to the gun [and call for] stricter gun control. How is that going to stop criminals who know how to get a gun illegally? Stricter laws won’t stop them. It’s the [mentally] ill murderer commiting the crime, not the physical gun itself.”

What they’re doing has inspired me to try and do what I can to create change.

— Georgia Fritts

Several of the student survivors have been given a massive platform on the news and social media, making their voices heard through interviews, protests, and even through speaking to President Donald J. Trump. Most recently, the Parkland survivors had a chance to go on CNN to take part in the Students Stand Up special, in which they addressed Dana Loesch, a spokesman for the NRA.

“It’s sad that we had to get to this point,” junior Georgia Fritts said. “I really admire how [the survivors] have taken this tragic situation and turned it into a platform to advocate for gun reform. What they’re doing has inspired me to try and do what I can to create change.”

Several walkouts have been planned in protest of the lack of gun reform measures in the country. ‘March For Our Lives’ has organized a mass-protest in Washington, D.C to take place on March 24. They have encouraged people to march in their own communities as well, as a way to make a statement about the U.S’s problems with school shootings. There has also been a walkout planned for April 20, on the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

“I believe that if you want something to change in this world you have to do it yourself,” junior Hayden Snow said. “You can’t sit back and hope it’s gonna change.”