On Feb. 14, three adults and 14 children were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School (MSD) in Parkland, FL. In the wake of tragedy, the school’s students have channeled their pain, sorrow and anger into a powerful push for gun control legislation from both the state of Florida and the U.S. Congress.
“They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS … They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS. If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind,” said MSD senior Emma Gonzalez during a nationally televised speech.
The Editorial Staff of the Old Gold & Black fully supports the efforts of these students to bring about change on the national stage. It is imperative that their push for stronger background check legislation and effective gun control and is not delegitimized because of their age.
These young adults are working tirelessly to break the cyclical nature of mass shootings in America, as well as exercising their constitutional rights to bring to light and contest politicians with financial ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Along the same line, MSD students are continuing to erode the idea that youth are uninformed about national issues and complex legislative topics. In fact, these students are taking to Twitter and television interviews to prove the exact opposite: they not only have the first-hand experience of a tragic mass shooting, but understand the necessity of common sense gun reform.
“To the politicians saying this isn’t about guns, and that we shouldn’t be discussing this right now: We were literally being shot at while trying to gain an education. So this is about guns. You weren’t in the school while this was happening. We were, and we’re demanding change,” MSD student Sarah Chadwick said in a tweet.
We believe that something pivotal is happening to our national conversation on guns and that the bravery of this group of high school students is a powerful contribution to the ongoing movement.
They are organizing walkouts. They are holding peaceful protests. They are sharing intimate stories of grief on live television. They are meeting with legislators. They are mobilizing the American people to stand up to the powerful NRA, the President of the United States and members of Congress in a way that our nation has not seen before.
If change is going to occur, it will start with #Douglasstrong.