On February 15, 17 people were killed and another 14 were wounded in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., according to NBC News. This is the 34th recorded mass shooting in 2018, and the 1,608th mass shooting since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School six years ago, according to Vox Media.
Like many news outlets, activists, and everyday people, we recognize America’s unique problem with guns. We also recognize the cyclical discussion and Congress’s lack of resolve to pass legislation on gun control. On October 9, 2015, The Phillipian, vol. CXXXVIII published an editorial entitled “More Than Just Thoughts and Prayers” in response to a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oreg. This editorial pointed out Congress’s then-failures to address gun control and implored members of the community to reflect and act on these pervasive gun-related issues.
What is scary is that we could publish the same editorial today. But instead of contributing to this important — but nevertheless repetitive — conversation, we want to point out what has set the response to the unfortunate shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School apart. Five days after the tragic event, the Florida House voted down the consideration of a bill that would put a ban on assault rifles, according to CNN. The vote was 71-36 against the proposed bill. This decision was met by outrage from students of the high school, and prompted about 100 of them to travel to Tallahassee to take action in speaking to their lawmakers. Many of them are now appearing on multiple news outlets, advocating for gun control measures and calling out the politicians whom they feel refuse to solve anything during these times, chanting, “Vote them out!” according to CNN. Marches and walkouts in solidarity with the victims of this shooting and gun control measures the survivors are advocating for are being planned nationwide. The movement is also taking social media by storm.
This nation-wide movement instigated by students is important because it has the potential to finally launch the legislation we need to address America’s gun problem. These types of movements can gradually shift our culture away from the current normalization and desensitization of gun violence. However, the other likely possibility is that politicians will eventually start overlooking this issue once again, turning their deceivingly genuine sympathy and resolve into another former half-hearted discussion.
Addressing guns in America needs to be a unified revolution. Because of the strong, polarized opinions on both sides, we need to be ready to be in this fight for the long haul. Activism stemming from the recent shooting is not the starting point for passing gun control — this conversation isn’t new — but should serve as the launching point for a future firm and longlasting movement. The Phillipian should never have to write another editorial calling action towards a problem so obvious and horrifying.
This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian, vol. CXLI