Why We Should Remember Parkland

Joshua Perry, News Editor

In the aftermath of a disaster, after scrambling to react, our instinct as humans is to put the devastation out of our minds.

After enough time passes and the emotional beating turns into mere bruises, it can finally fade into the peripheral vision of the public eye, replaced by your regularly scheduled news broadcast (with apologies for the inconvenience). But that sort of ignorance is no longer acceptable.

It’s been nearly a month since the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The students have returned to school, the nation has begun the slow process of moving on and the debate on gun violence is still riding off of its incredible momentum. But how long can this last?

As a part of America’s next generation, we can’t stop caring about its problems. We can’t forget what happened to those students in Florida, how they fought back and how we can too.

Students don’t tend to believe in their power to affect their government. Politics, like the weather, is unpredictable and powerful—or so we may think. Senior Sydney Balding said that she doesn’t see students taking much action these days because they feel disconnected.

“I believe part of it is because the issues seem surreal since they happen far away from us, but I believe that (students) shouldn’t need something bad to happen here for them to have an opinion or stand up for what they think is wrong,” Balding said.

High schoolers may not think they can be activists, but the national response to the students of Parkland proved that wrong. The voices of the survivors, school journalism students and demonstrators had a profound effect on the way Americans saw the shooting.

Stoneman Douglas students like David Hogg, 17, spoke out for what they believed in instead of stepping down or passing the buck.

“What we really need is action,” Hogg said, according to Time. “Because we can say ‘Yes, we’re going to do all theses things, thoughts and prayers.’ What we need more than that is action.”

And the clamor for strengthened gun control seems to be rousing Washington as well. President Trump recently signed an executive order banning bump stocks for semi-automatic weapons, which increase the gun’s destructiveness. He has even endorsed raising the minimum age for purchasing those weapons to 21, according to Fox news.

We can learn from the examples of the Stoneman Douglas survivors. It doesn’t matter what the issue is: when we feel something is wrong, it’s our responsibility to do something about it. Change doesn’t happen overnight—it takes commitment. But change can make the world a better place, and that’s worth all of the protest our generation can muster.

So, whatever it is you want to say, speak up. And stay strong.