Honoring the Parkland Shooting Victims

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After another devastating school shooting, we are forced to say goodbye and commemorate those who were lost, and we’re left wondering when did this become our new normal.

Real change is needed. The time for thoughts and prayers has passed. They will no longer protect us. On Wednesday morning, February 14, Parkland, Florida experienced their deadliest event in its history. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, made his way onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 innocent lives while injuring dozens of others.

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Among the seventeen innocent lives lost, ranging from teenagers to staff members, each one is remembered after this senseless massacre occurring on Valentine’s Day. Some were just starting out as 14-year-old freshmen, such as Alex Schachter who has had a scholarship fund created in his honor via GoFundMe.

Seventeen lives were lost, but our hope that this is the last time something this senseless happens. These brave souls went to school wanting to learn, wanting to hang out with friends, they didn’t think it would be the last day they’d see their loved ones, and it shouldn’t have been. Thinking about this makes us sad and angry. If it doesn’t make you feel anything, then you’re a part of the problem.

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Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have been speaking up and speaking out. We can no longer sweep this issue under the rug. The time for ignoring this issue has no passed. We need gun reform now, and people are demanding it, as they should!

Trump was rumored to have been surveying his Mar-a-Lago resort members on gun reform/gun control issues and following the teen’s stories on TV. The background checks that the president wants to run won’t screen in a way we want and need them to. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, passed a background check, and yet here we are, again.

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According to CNN.com, a spokesman said that President Trump is open to improving background checks when it comes to gun purchases. The House passed a bill this past December that was meant to fill holes in the NCIS system used for background checks, but in doing so it also loosened gun regulations. Trump ran as an anti-gun control candidate in 2016, we repeat, yet here we are. How is it that the law states that we cannot drink legally until we’re 21-years-old, but you can pass a background check to own guns? The 19-year-old school shooter had obtained 10 rifles in the last year or so according to CNN.com. How is that okay?

Let us repeat this slowly, all of this is not okay at all! Thankfully the brave students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are letting their voice be heard. Just days after the devastating school shooting in a Florida high school, several high school students stepped up and took action for gun control.

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One of these students is Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where the shooting occurred, who took action with a powerful and passionate speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In her speech, Gonzalez made it clear that her along with the other survivors will not be silenced and will have their voices heard.

Emma also quoted a tweet from Donald Trump that blamed the victims for not reporting the shooter and his behavior. She fired back with saying, “We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter.” Gonzalez also mentioned the donations the president received from the NRA.

She further stated, “If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.”

Trump’s tweet was challenged by the survivors/teens, and their ability to register at seventeen. We’re not sure if he realized that, but did you know that around four million teens turn 18 before the 2018 mid-term elections? Did you also know that 17-year-old’s can register to vote if they will be 18 on or before Election Day? Someone everyone needs to think about.

Teens also held a “lie-in” protest in front of the White House on President’s Day to demand changes to gun laws. The demonstration was organized by Teens for Gun Reform. The teens lying on the ground represented those lives lost in recent shootings. Supporters held signs that said, “Protect Kids. Not Guns,” “Love Your Kids, Not Your Guns,” and “Fear Has No Place In Schools.” If that’s not the most powerful statement out there, we don’t know what is.

Please keep these dates below in mind and consider calling your local politicians. Speak up, speak out, and let your voice be heard. Lives depend on it.

March 24, 2018- #MarchForOurLives is happening throughout the country and in D.C.

April 20, 2018- #NationalSchoolWalkout- Students across the country are encouraged to wear orange, march, and demand change on this 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

Let’s not make this our new normal!