UHCL The Signal
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Since the start of 2018, there have been 18 school shootings in the U.S. that have collectively taken 23 lives and injured many more. Each of these shootings is a tragedy and the outpouring from the communities and the country have been of sorrow, grief, and anger.
Each shooting is followed by the merry-go-round debate about gun control. One side argues there needs to be more gun control, while the other side argues that it is never a gun control issue but the person behind the weapon. With the latest shooting in Parkland, we have seen both sides get up in arms and restart the circle of debate. However, what is different with this situation is that the victims are using this tragedy to voice opinions and push for their own agenda.
At 2:19 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz exited an Uber, entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and committed the second most deadly school shooting in United States history. Cruz killed 17 people and wounded 14 more, fleeing the scene to be captured shortly after by police with no incident.
In the aftermath of this mass shooting, the survivors started the “Never Again” movement. The movement is fueled by the survivors who are pushing for stronger gun control laws including stricter background checks for gun ownership, making it harder to purchase semi-automatic weapons and bump stocks, and for politicians to stop accepting funds from the NRA. They have planned a “March for Lives” event March 24 in Washington D.C. The group is using their tragedy and the power of social media to push their agenda and have their voices heard.
The activism of this “Never Again” movement has been compared to the protest of the ‘60s against the Vietnam War. Like the protestors of the ‘60s, it is the youth of America being affected by violence who are protesting and demanding change. From “Lie in’s” to voicing their frustration at town hall meetings, the “Never Again” movement is not letting this issue fall under the radar and be forgotten again.
Each side of the controlling political bodies is using this tragedy to push their own issues. One side pushes for more gun control and stricter background check policies. The other side pushes this as a mental health issue and that gun control and stricter background checks will hurt the “good guys with guns” idea and that criminals will not follow the rules. The “Never Again” movement has come under fire from the NRA in the media, trying to discredit the movement by attacking the foremost members. Even the highest seat in our government has looked for a way to spin this story to make it match the country’s own agenda.
“The White House is making it about them when there are kids that are dead,” said Parkland survivor Sofie Whitney
Just like in the ‘60s, the people on the front lines of these shootings are too young to vote right now. Many of these activists will be able to vote in the next presidential election and will vote for change; politicians should consider this. This ability to vote and enact change by 2020 is because the protesters of the ‘60s were able to enact change and lower the voting age to 18. They also stopped a war. Never underestimate the youth of America.
The “Never Again” movement is only just beginning, with these survivors pushing for change now, not later. The movement has shown that it does not matter who or what age you are, you can make a difference. These teens are holding the adults accountable, asking why this was ever allowed to happen and keep happening in schools. The adults and leaders of the country need to listen to the youth of America, as they will be the leaders of tomorrow. They will enact change. They will be heard.