This country is mourning over the cruel shooting that killed 17 people, 14 of which were students ranging from the ages of 14-18 years old. Three adults were killed protecting students. Two were coaches, and one was a geography teacher, says Fox News. Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year old shooter, attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High before he was expelled for disciplinary reasons, states New York Times.
Ever since the traumatic shooting happened, there have been many students involving themselves in the fight for more gun regulation. Only a couple days after the shooting, students boarded a bus to Tallahassee to meet with the Floridian government to try to do something about gun control, according to New York Times. Many politicians didn’t want to talk about gun control; they say that it’s too soon and they want to students to take some time to get over the tragedy. What the politicians don’t realize, however, is that many student are using their grief as fuel to tell politicians their point of view on why they think something needs to be done about guns.
The Never Again Movement is a campaign that some of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High made that is demanding stricter background checks for gun buyers, states The New Yorker. Cameron Kasky is one of the main starters of this movement; he is a big theatre student and is great at talking. According to The New Yorker, Shortly after the shooting, Kasky invited over some friends to come up with the movement, and he later said in a interview that he spontaneously came up with the name. Alfonso Calderon, the co-founder of Never Again, was upset partly because, as he said, Nikolas Cruz, the shooter was reported to the police thirty-nine times, and the police did little to no investigation and still he got his hands on a heavy-duty assault weapon.
The core students involved in creating the Never Again movement/campaign spoke multiple times relating the horrific incident and what they want to do about it. Emma Gonzalez, a senior who delivered an empowering and heartbreaking speech in Fort Lauderdale, is one of the students that is demanding that something needs to be done. Some of the other students are also doing interviews and meetings with the Florida government.
On Wednesday, March 21 there was a heated meeting at the town hall in front of 7,000 people, where multiple survivors and parents talked to Marco Rubio. Kasky questioned Rubio about accepting money from the National Rifle association (NRA), states The Guardian. Then, Rubio stood by, still accepting money from the NRA, stating they ‘buy into my agenda’, says CNN. Later, a grieving father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, who was shot and killed, confronted Rubio about his refusal to ban the types of weapons that gunmen use for these horrific events. Rubio stood in front of him, stone faced. There was a mixture of boos for Rubio and applause for the students, and parents.
This latest school shooting has encouraged students plan to join in on another walk out protest on April 20, which is the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, to help spread even more awareness on the situation at hand. President Trump has made a point to tell Time that “all students should be able to feel safe at school,” and talked of many extreme measures to try and fix this problem, such as arming teachers, cafeteria workers, and custodians with guns, although no such idea has been approved, states ABC News. However, students want to know when the day will come that a change is made, so until then they continue to protest. Students are also looking to their elected officials in their respective states and meeting with congressmen in state capitals to push for change in legislation surrounding public safety and gun regulation. Students who will soon be of voting age are getting their first taste of the democratic process, and will hopefully be able to see an increase in school safety soon.
This event was so awful words can’t describe it. But incredible students emerged from this tragedy and used their sadness and anger to continue to try to make a difference and continue to fight for gun control. There is a march that is going to take place at Washington D.C. on March 24, but there will be other smaller, sister marches all around the country. No matter what your opinion is on this topic, we need to applaud these strong students, and try to participate in the march to support the still grieving students.