OUR VIEW: What now?

In the wake of Parkland activism, will we continue to fight for gun legislation?


Anyone who reads this issue of the Blueprint will sense a common theme; that of security, safety, and gun violence. We stand in a time where the topic of gun violence has yet again become the focus of the national conversation in the wake of a mass shooting, this time in respect to that of the one that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It seems like these days, school shootings have become routine and expected. Yet, this time, the atmosphere feels different. The survivors of the attack, teens almost just like us, have changed the temperature of the conversation, attempting to break the cycle of expressed condolences, yet no change that perpetuates time after time, shooting after shooting.

Yes, many schools added metal detectors and beefed up security after Columbine. But this time, instead of repeatedly hearing the name of the shooter, we remember the names and faces of the victims and survivors. Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg have become a familiar fixture on cable news channels, acting as forces for change. And we have seen countless other survivors taking on politicians and the National Rifle Association through CNN town halls and lobbying efforts.

In the wake of every other mass shooting, news surrounding the tragedy and calls for change have died out within a few weeks. We see countless occasions of senseless death, followed by calls for change until everyone forgets what happened and moves on. We have become so desensitized to mass shootings that last year’s Las Vegas massacre, where 59 were murdered, and the Texas church massacre, where 26 were murdered, were in the news for even less time than the norm. Calls for change and national efforts to tighten gun legislation have extended beyond this few week cycle following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, with national walkouts in solidarity staged over a month later. But we cannot let this momentum die out. We cannot march for one day and claim to be proponents of change. We must continue to fight this fight and stand in solidarity with those affected by gun violence daily.

Often the postmortem analysis becomes binary: for Parkland, is the cause guns or bullying? For Sandy Hook, was it guns or mental health? For Columbine, was it guns or violent video games? But the conversation about gun violence should not be binary. We must look at every aspect of the issue in order to produce comprehensive solutions. The best way to produce comprehensive solutions is to keep Parkland in the conversation, stay educated, reach out to our elected officials, and keep our voices loud. Students are the backbone of this movement, and we cannot let it be short-lived. The next time we pay attention should not be when we see multiple deaths at the hands of someone pulling a trigger in their high school. The next time we pay attention should be now.