The Anniversary of the Parkland Shooting

As the second anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting draws near, the one question that lingers in the minds of many Americans is: “What have we learned?” In this tumultuous time of politics and violence, it’s easy for one’s voice to be drowned in the sea of the media and anger for the change that has not yet occurred. However, the slow process towards gun reform has already occurred in American politics, starting with the influx of gun bills sent to many state governments after the tragedy of the Parkland shooting in 2018. 

In 2018 alone, state legislatures passed sixty-nine gun control measures, in hopes of stopping the gun violence in schools. On the other hand, the National Rifle Association (NRA) continued to fight for self-defense legislation in state legislatures across America but only received backlash. Many gun supporters use the second amendment as their defense in fighting against gun control specifically “the right to bear arms”, but this law was added to our constitution nearly two-hundred years ago. When it was enacted, the United States was barely a country and was recently invaded by Britain; this law kept revolutionary fighters and their families protected in the times of war. The likelihood of an invasion reoccurrence by any other country is impossibly low so the question about the amendment arises: “Is the amendment outdated?” As a country living in a modern world, we have changed many of the old standing laws to adapt to the current times. This amendment could undergo a similar change to modernize it. 

After the shocking tragedy of Parkland occurred, not only were questions in fixing amendments brought to the table but also demands for action from both sides of the political spectrum. Statistics show “Democratic state legislatures passed more than twice as many gun restrictions as Republicans legislatures,” in 2018 (nytimes.com). The divide and the multitude of problems that lie between the parties still grows today even as we enter the new decade, but at the root of this political issue is the question of humanity. How can we as a nation allow a machine of war into a safe space of learning for students? It is clear, that aside from the political parties and the different beliefs they hold, we must think and act in unity to solve this pressing issue. 

Seventeen lives were brutally lost on February 14, 2018. Seventeen men and women and teenagers that were killed in a center of learning. Within minutes of seeing pictures and videos all across America on the news that fateful day, we learned the extreme violence that shouldn’t exist and endanger innocent lives. Many continue to struggle with the losses due to gun violence in schools, but the most important lesson that we as a nation have learned is that we must come together for change. Arguing over the media does not accomplish anything, but starting the conversations and being willing to compromise to come to a solution is lighting the way towards safety for students.