On February 14, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sat through their last class of the day. Some perhaps filled with the familiar anticipation of the ringing bell, which in just ten minutes, would dismiss them from school.
What some initially believed were firecrackers, were nothing but the dreaded fire of countless magazines of an AR-15 rifle, slaughtering any student or teacher in the shooter’s immediate vicinity.
Once again, America sends its “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the fallen, and once again, America simply adds another statistic to its list of eighteen school shootings and counting this year alone. Yet never again, shall we bring up the topic of gun control following a deadly mass shooting.
Seen as a means of politicizing a tragedy, some claim it is insensitive to call attention to the nation’s ongoing gun crisis immediately following a massacre.
But, if not now, when? When, as a nation, will it be the proper time to discuss and implement solutions to prevent the next senseless tragedy?
No matter the death toll, no matter the victim, it is absolutely appalling that inaction has become the expected response from U.S. lawmakers, as more innocent lives are lost to firearms falling in the wrong hands.
However, following the mass shooting in Florida, President Donald Trump offered the solution of addressing mental health issues, and most controversial of all — arming school teachers.
According to Trump, schools must take the offensive in order to protect both students and teachers in the case of an active shooter.
In an interview conducted by the New York Times, kindergarten teacher Teresa Meredith was taken aback by the president’s proposal.
“It felt like he was giving up and saying, ‘This is the new normal,’ instead of saying, ‘How can we prevent this from happening in the first place?’” Meredith said in the interview.
Over the weeks following the tragedy in Parkland, Trump has seemingly shifted his stance on gun control, while maintaining the belief that school teachers should take arms. He has agreed that there should be a ban on bump stock devices, a raise on the age limit to own a firearm, as well as stricter background checks, though he has not yet delved into specifics.
Despite the president’s suggested solutions, many Douglas students have been actively taking to social media to demand the enforcement of stricter gun laws by the U.S. government — including a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and more thorough background checks.
When it is easier for a teenager to legally purchase an AK-47 than it is for them to get their hands on a beer, there is clearly something broken in the system.
When the National Rifle Association donates millions of dollars to politicians each year to interfere with potential gun reform, there is no other term for this than corruption.
It is more clear than ever that the American people are being force-fed lies about the real reason these shootings continue to occur.
In that sense, if there’s any message politicians and lawmakers are sending besides “thoughts and prayers” to shooting victims, it’s that the murder of an innocent child will always be worth less than a bullet.