A shooting Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, resulted in 17 people dead and 14 more wounded. Nikolas Cruz, the gunman, was a former student at the school. The shooting is considered one of the deadliest shootings in recent history.
In the wake of school shootings, there are often discussions of activism and tighter gun control, but the counterpoint seems to always be that it is too early to rally around a tragedy. In an instance such as this, it is not too early to make a call to action. Gun violence — especially in schools — has been an issue in the U.S. for decades. Everytown for Gun Safety has estimated that there have been 290 school shootings since 2013.
After every school shooting, the same cycle takes place. Republican politicians offer “thoughts and prayers” to those affected, Democratic politicians call for more gun control, and then no policy is able to get passed. The shooting fades from the news cycle until the next shooting occurs, and the cycle repeats itself in a seemingly ever-increasing frequency. But the high school students in Parkland are demanding a change to this demoralizing cycle, and they have kept the shooting in the focus of the news past the usual expiration date of coverage.
They have rallied around the #NeverAgain hashtag, they are planning marches in Washington, D.C. and they are taking to social media to call out government officials. As Cameron Kasky, one of the student organizers for March For Our Lives, said, “There is desperate need for change — change that starts by folks showing up to the polls and voting all those individuals who are in the back pockets of gun lobbyists out of office.”
The activism from this group of students is incredible. It is also encouraging to see students across the country support these students in Parkland and participate in walkouts and protests expressing their support. The March for Our Lives is scheduled for March 24, and events are being planned around the country. An Ithaca March for Our Lives Facebook event for March 24 was already created and has received interest from over 1,000 Facebook users. The cause deserves all the support it has already gotten and then some. These students have taken an incredible stand in light of extreme circumstances.