Nearly a month ago, 14 students and 3 staff members were murdered by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The outcry, not just from the survivors, but from ordinary citizens around the country has finally forced lawmakers to finally do something about the lack of enforceable gun control.
Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law banning any one from under 21 from buying firearms. The NRA immediately counter-sued, claiming that the law violates the constitutional rights of 18 to 21 year olds.
In the words of Emma Gonzalez, I call BS.
I don’t know the mentality of anyone else when they were in their late teens or early 20’s, but I was not as emotionally mature as I though I was. Owning a gun, both then and now, is the last thing I would ever consider. However, the difference is, I have an emotional maturity and a perspective that I did not have 15-20 years ago.
What the NRA overlooks is that the law does not explicitly outlaw all firearms, it it is a vital step to preventing another Parkland shooting. What we need now (and have needed for years), is common sense gun laws. Unfortunately, it took the unnecessary slaughter of 14 young people to finally get these laws on the books.
Hindsight is always 20/20.
On April 20th, 1999, twelve students and one teacher were murdered in a mass shooting at Columbine High School.
Two weeks ago, fourteen students and three teachers were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
What if, nineteen years ago, my generation reacted as the kids who survived the massacre are reacting now? What if we had an Emma Gonzalez and a David Hogg back then? Would we have had a public audience with then President Clinton and a televised town hall, meeting with our elected representatives and speaking up for those whose lives were lost? Would we have walked out of school and marched in solidarity against gun violence? Would we have publicly shamed our elected officials for taking money from the NRA? Would we have demanded the legislation of sensible gun laws and the strengthening of our mental heath system? Could we have prevented the unnecessary future loss of too many innocent lives, had we spoken up then?
I honestly don’t know. I only know that these kids are speaking up in a way that should have happened a long time ago and perhaps now, in 2018, change will finally come.
Most, if not all of us, have a moment of reckoning, whether on a personal level or a larger cultural/societal level.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday that killed 14 teenagers and 3 staff members dead is our national moment of reckoning.
The question that we all must answer is a difficult one: do we continue the useless cycle of reaction to mass gun violence or do we actually grow a pair and do something?
The fact that the shooter, who is only 19, was easily able to get his hands on an AR-15 assault rifle, despite the warning signs and the information the FBI had is more than appalling. It is disgusting and alarming to consider that the FBI had the information they needed to prevent the loss of 17 innocent lives and did nothing to stop it.
It is also a moment of reckoning for you know who and the voting public. It happened under his watch and if he continues to be tone-deaf about the subject (meanwhile tweeting continuously about the updates to the Russia investigation), I have a feeling that voters will not soon forget his inaction.
It is finally a moment of reckoning for the survivors and the grieving families of the victims. The kids who miraculously survived the attack are not only angry, but will be of age to vote in the next few years or have recently become of age to vote. They will be the ones who will finally stop this endless cycle of mass shootings and create gun laws that make sure another school shooting never happens again.