But what can I do about these mass shootings?

Photo courtesy of cnn.com.

Emma Gonzalez, 18, gives a harrowing speech at a gun control rally following the shooting.

When the headline appeared as a notification on your phone, scrawled across your laptop’s homepage, or flashed onto your television, you probably weren’t even surprised. You could have possibly wondered where it took place, and maybe been concerned about the death toll, but it might not have elicited that much emotion in you. Who can blame you, when large-scale preventable shootings are nearly weekly events in this country?


Seventeen innocent people were slaughtered Feb. 14 by a former student with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.


Mass shootings, in this day and age, are about as common as any other breaking news. However, there is something intriguingly different about this one.


Emma Gonzalez, a student at the school where the shooting took place, spoke at a gun control rally to express her thoughts on the tragedy. “[It’s] The fault of the people who let him buy the guns in the first place: those at the gun shows; the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic; the people who didn’t take them away from him when they knew that he expressed homicidal tendencies.”


This is the first time we have seen not just a student, but an actual victim of such a tragic event stand up and speak out against the laws that continue to allow this to happen. This is historically uncharted territory, and hopefully will make an impact on the politicians who allow such grotesque and toxic gun policy to stay in place.


However, we can’t bet on this time being any different. In an age where our country’s finest believe the best remedy for such tragedies is tweeting out thoughts and prayers, transforming our hope and desire for change into an active movement is essential.


You should absolutely contact your congressperson and senators. Providing those phone numbers and websites would be easy to do, but the average millenial probably knows how to do that. What you may not know about, however, are some laws in place that need to change, and how we can bridge our social capital and strength to make those laws change.


Most don’t know that, for the past 20 years, Republicans have threatened to strip funding from the Center for Disease Control if they did any research on mental health and violence that may lead to increased gun control. Many don’t know that the National Rifle Association pours over $62 million into Washington every year, and at least $3.3 million of that goes to Marco Rubio, Florida’s current senator.


Call those representatives, and tell them to allow the CDC to research what it wants. Go to the voting booth, and pick the candidate whose pocket isn’t lined with NRA money.


Lastly, the students from Parkland who have spoken out against gun violence have also helped formulate protests that are gaining ground all across the country. There will be a “March for Our Lives” event in Washington on March 24, calling attention to the millions of students across this nation who are in danger of becoming victims someday.


The event we, at Lewis, should most take note of is a planned nationwide school walk-out on April 20. This will draw attention to political and educational institutions, which will no longer stand for these tragedies to continue. If you are truly ready to stand for your own right to life, and for the rights of students all across this country, taking part in the events listed above is essential. It will show your love and care for fellow classmates.


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But what can I do about these mass shootings?


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