Group strives to end gun violence


Anna Eggers, Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is a day that has always been filled with love, whether it be for your friends, family, or someone special. This February 14th, students across the country walked into the school and accepted gifts and shared moments with people that they will never forget. However, while many of us were dazzled by the love around us, some kids wished they had never gone to school.

Around 2:21 p.m., Nikolas Cruz opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen students died, many others were injured, and the entire community was appalled and traumatized. Since then, many students came together and a movement was born.

On Wikipedia, it’s called Never Again MSD (the initials of Marjory Stoneman Douglas) but it’s better known by the hashtags that shocked Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #NeverAgain and #EnoughIsEnough trended for days, even weeks, as students including David Hogg and Emma González gave powerful speeches that were broadcasted throughout the country. These two students were major organizers for the March for Our Lives that occurred in Washington D.C. and other cities around the country on March 24th.

Teens nowadays are growing up in a country where school shootings are regarded with sadness but then quickly ignorance of the problem or the importance of each singular event. This has prompted many students to take a vow to never let these events occur again in their schools, but the progress is slow.

It took nearly a month for Florida to raise the minimum age to buy a gun to 21, and it was immediately challenged by the National Rifle Association who argued that it was unconstitutional.

In their lawsuit, the NRA suggests that raising the minimum age of buying guns to 21 puts women at larger risk of getting hurt because they are unable to protect themselves. However, research conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests that women typically buy their first guns at age 27. Meanwhile, men are suggested to, on average, buy their first guns at age 19. The NRA was using the excuse of protecting women as a scapegoat to protect men’s ability to get guns at a young age.

In the same bill that increased the age to buy guns, bump stocks were banned, waiting periods and background checks were established, and qualified teachers were even given the right to be armed at school, but no bill banning the dangerous AR-15 semiautomatic rifle was able to stay passed. Meaning, a bill was originally accepted to ban the rifle but less than fifteen minutes later it was rescinded.

The students who are marching don’t want to ban all guns, and they’ve achieved part of their goal. Getting better background checks, waiting periods, and an adjusted gun ownership age is a major preventative of school shootings, and all of these together will be instrumental in stopping future attacks. But it won’t solve everything.

While semiautomatic weapons are able to be bought, everyone runs the risk of getting hurt by one. Increasing the measures behind guns won’t stop violent people from getting through the cracks and ruining lives. Banning guns themselves won’t completely eradicate the gun problem- as every gun supporter loves to say- it’s true.

The best way for us to show that enough really is enough, and stop this from ever happening again, is to create a world of awareness around us. Speaking out about gun violence, making the world know that it won’t be accepted or allowed is extremely important. We can’t push aside these problems because we’re afraid of getting our weapons taken away. You can combat a problem while admitting you may be a part of it.

Perhaps the most worrying part of this saga is the idolization that has popped up for school shooters. A quick search on Tumblr, Twitter or even Instagram, reveal hidden cult-like followings of horrible criminals. Blogs have begun popping up in support and obsession with Nikolas Cruz with some people even posting comments about how they wish they had been there and have nightmares about the fact they didn’t get shot by him.

People even care for the deceased but most well-known school shooters- Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris- who opened fire at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999. These types of people not only ignore the pain these shooters have caused, they accept and enjoy it. Having this presence on social media gives potential shooters motivation to do such horrible acts.

We can’t end such a huge problem overnight. It takes education, awareness, and overall effort to make people realize that shooting a gun because you’re hurting or want others to hurt isn’t acceptable. It sounds odd, but some people truly don’t realize that. The students who were forever changed at MSD High School realize that. They speak out for their friends, their family, and the future generations, in hopes that it will truly be #NeverAgain.