After yet another mass shooting took place, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, many from the community were left with feelings of grief, fear, and above all, anger. Rising from this tragedy were the student, the survivors, and with them came the much needed discussion on gun control.
One of those survivors, Emma Gonzales, has received critical acclaim for her powerful speech calling out the NRA and President Donald Trump alike.
“If all our government and President can do is send out thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for the victims to be the change we need to see,” Gonzales said.
At such a young age, it’s amazing to see these teenagers, people my own age, create such an impact. Surviving a school shooting is already such a heavy experience. To then see them push through that tragedy and organize a movement for the much needed gun reform is truly incredible.
But not even teenagers who survived a school shooting are safe from criticism.
Just seconds after the first gunshots rang in the hallways of their high school, videos and photos began pouring through social media of scared students locked in classrooms. Many critics took to twitter to attempt to derail the conversation about gun control by focusing on the use of social media during a tragic event and portray the victims as being insensitive. By shifting attention to how the students reacted during the event, they are attempting to show how social media obsessed our generation has become rather than seeing the overall issue which is that students at a high school died because a 19 year old was able to legally purchase an AR-15 without any restrictions.
And it didn’t stop after the public’s focus on Snapchat videos, there were even some attempts to label the student survivors as crisis actors, to undermine the movement they were creating. A lot of the sources of criticism comes from those who hold so tightly to their Second Amendment rights.
One of those critics was a legislator from Florida, Benjamin Kelly, who was fired after sending out an email to a reporter in which he stated that some of the victims were “actors that travel to various crisis when they happen”, as reported in an article by NBC.
Thankfully the United States President did address the heavy issue of gun control in America through an eloquent tweet.
….If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
The solution to gun violence? Simple. More guns!
But what is actually needed in schools isn’t more guns or weapons that not even the teachers themselves want. “Teachers already shoulder a huge burden when it comes to educating properly, due to lack of funding, support and resources and making sure their students are taken care of emotionally. Asking us to now carry the burden of having the responsibility to kill is irreparably damaging, even if we never have to discharge our weapon,” said Olivia Bertels.
They’ve even begun a trending #ArmMeWith movement on Twitter in which teachers all over America tweet what they would actually want to see in their classrooms. Examples of some tweets are new books, more counselors on campus, and smaller classroom sizes.
Gun control is a complicated issue. Though the conversation may be difficult to have, we still need to have it. Yes, we have a problem and it’s unfortunate that we keep having to readdress it. But I have been reinspired because of student survivors leading the conversation and creating the March for Our Lives walk.
America’s future is leading the movement and it’s one that is going to make an impact.
- After watching friends die, student survivors are still targets - February 28, 2018