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Teens’ Response to Gun Violence

by Emily Sackley, Staff Writer

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On February 14, 2018, a mass shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed, and fourteen more hospitalized. This made it one of the most deadly school massacres in U.S. history. The perpetrator was a nineteen year old former student, Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz displayed many warning signs about his desire to cause harm to others. Many former classmates said that Cruz would often joke about “shooting up establishments.” His social media accounts were flooded with other vulgar comments, describing how he wanted to be a “professional school shooter.” Could all of these innocent deaths have been prevented?

In the United States, protesting and speaking out about gun laws and gun violence has rapidly increased. What happened in Parkland seemed to push the issue of gun violence to the forefront. Never Again MSD, an advocacy group that was founded by the school shooting’s survivors, held a rally on February 17th in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, attended by hundreds of supporters. On February 19th, a group of teens staged a lie – in outside the White House. Hundreds of students marched to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on the 20th. Free State High School Students protested the next day.

The organizers of the Women’s March have planned the Enough! National School walkout, in response to the school shooting. Students, parents, and gun control supporters will take part in the event, planned for March 14th. Recently, several attendees of the Oscars were donning orange American Flag pins from the Advocacy group for gun safety in an effort to keep awareness about gun safety.

The United States government has been put on the hot seat by the student led protests.  Furthermore, the social media response has put pressure on companies with NRA ties. The issues that need to be addressed are many. How old should you have to be to purchase a gun? Should we create more thorough background checks for potential buyers of guns? It doesn’t seem right that Cruz, a nineteen-year old, with several mental issues, was able to purchase assault weapons.

It turns out that at least 150,000 young people in America have witnessed a school shooting. However, this shooting has felt different for a reason. The Parkland teenage survivors have been unrelenting in their outcry, using protests, national news interviews, and social media to aim their anger at politicians and the nation’s gun laws. These kids decided to make their voices heard and it seems that they might be able to use the momentum of this movement to finally change the nation’s gun laws and enable kids to feel safe again in schools!

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