It came with a bang… 17 students killed and 15 others injured. As the eyes of the world fearfully watched the events of Parkland unfold, right then and there, a fire was sparked, a fire which would fuel future movements for gun control and forever scorch the political discourse of this era into history books.
On Feb. 14, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) a mass shooting was committed by former student Nikolas Cruz. The act marked the 30th mass shooting in the US since the beginning of 2018—and this number is rising steadily.
Consequently, as the death toll for students is at an all time high, the topic of gun regulation has become increasingly prevalent in comparison to prior years.
Since mass shootings have always plagued this nation, movements advocating change have consistently emerged. Unfortunately, actual change to the law is a slow and arduous process, so these movements have maintained little relevance. Parkland is different.
The primary movement that has emerged from the school shooting consists of millennials and generation-z—the most avid social media users—with the survivors of Parkland as the faces of the protest. Despite this demographic’s youth, this movement promotes a simple yet powerful agenda amongst its followers—to make assault weapons harder to buy. Furthermore, in less than two months, this group has achieved more than other similar predecessors that also demand gun control such as Black Lives Matter. The accomplishments, such as the National School Walkout Day, are mostly possible because of the support amongst not only the most socially active generations, but by celebrities as well.
With the incredible support received, it is no doubt that the movement has rapidly bolstered. In fact, the main face of Parkland, Emma Gonzalez, has become a primary figure in the movement, as seen with her appearances on multiple news outlets like CNN. The actions of the youth have sparked demonstrations and protests in the name of gun control.
Take, for example, the March For Our Lives demonstration, a rally led by students at Washington D.C. to stress gun regulation, express their emotions on the massacre at MSDHS and voice what actions should be taken to prevent mass shootings. What really kicked off the rally was the amount of donations the event received—two million dollars on GoFundMe and even celebrity pledges.
It is with the kindness and generosity of these celebrities and the passion and drive of these students that ultimately keeps the movement at the news headlines.
Undoubtedly, an aspect that truly makes the events after Parkland remarkable is the student involvement. However, this has not always been the case.
Look no further than Columbine. The shooting that happened on Apr. 20, 1999 indeed had its political influence at the time—as seen with the slight change in gun laws and major changes in school security. Ultimately the slight regulation on guns was not enough, because gun violence and school shootings have become increasingly prevalent today.
And now… the adults of the past are still fearful of gun control and are prioritizing their “undying need” for an AR-15 over the lives of children.
For example, on Twitter and other social media platforms, many adults have voiced their displeasure at the post-Parkland movement. The Parkland survivors are openly harassed and belittled on Twitter by adults with a pro-gun mindset. However, these are the same adults who criticize youth for not being aptly involved in politics last election. These adult men and women only care about student voices when students agree with their agenda.
Still, some may argue that despite the support and strength the movement has, individuals of these protests have a loose idea on the complex subject of gun control. To illustrate, at the March For Our Lives rally, Campus Reform Media Director Cabot Phillips interviewed marchers asking them to define an assault weapon, and the interviewees answered incorrectly. The purpose of his action was to demonstrate that since these marchers have little understanding on what they are protesting, it is ironic that they are calling for a reform on and criticizing the Second Amendment. This, in itself, poses fundamentally different perspectives about the war on guns and those who advocate for right to bear arms or vehemently oppose it. In addition, while Phillips highlights an interesting point, his logic is flawed. Despite some proponents of this movement lack an understanding, gun control itself is a well studied concept. Therefore, it is foolish to disregard the movement as wrong.
Ultimately, while the lack of support from older generations discouraging the youth, the movement will continue to push for gun reform.
The Parkland shooting has become a turning point for the political scene, and its effects will shape the future of this country. With the support of the media, the students of this movement will continue to march for their lives.