All hell broke loose on 14th February 2018 with a mass gun shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This school massacre counted as one of the world’s deadliest, involving the killing of 17 people among 34 wounded people. The accused, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was identified by witnesses and arrested. He later confessed to his crime.
The massacre fueled the citizens’ fervor in supporting tighter gun laws. This led to numerous heavily organized movements against gun violence. The anti-gun violence group Never Again MSD was formed by the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. They held a rally on February 17 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, which was attended by hundreds of students. On February 19, a group of teenagers staged a “lie-in” outside the White House.
Among these were two major protests. The #Enough National School Walkout was a walkout planned by the organizers of the Students’ March that occurred on March 14. The protest saw students and parents leaving schools for seventeen minutes dedicating one minute for each person who died. It started at 10:00am for each respective time zone. The protest was held exactly one month after the Stoneman Douglas shooting. Nearly 3000 schools participated in the protest. The students gathered in Washington, D.C. and observed 17 minutes of silence with their backs turned to the White House. Many channels such as Viacom, MTV and VH1 also showed their support for the movement by going dark for 17 minutes withholding the regularly scheduled programs.
March for Our Lives was another student-led demonstration in support of tighter gun control that took place on March 24, 2018. Protesters urged for the restoration of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, universal background checks on all gun sales and raising the federal age of gun ownership and possession to the age of 21. Turnout was estimated to be between 1.2 to 2 million people in the United States, which made it one of the largest protests in American history. The march also received a lot of support from celebrities like George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Fallon among others.Since the event, many bills have been coming into action with the intention of bringing about changes like raising the minimum age for buying guns to 21, establishing waiting periods and background checks and allowing the arming of qualified teachers. It also encourages the idea of hiring school police and barring some potentially violent or mentally unstable people from possessing guns.
These tighter laws may perhaps prevent any other future killings and massacres. However, the question that remains unanswered is, why does it take a killing to make the safety laws firm? Why do people have to die so that others can live in the future? I believe these are the things that need to be really focused on to bring about a positive change. It might possibly reduce these crimes to a large extent.