Protests are a great step in the process of change, but we can't allow the work to be in vain.

Ellie Nowakowski

Violence touches everyone; everyone must respond

March 7, 2018

Fifty-eight killed at the Las Vegas concert. 49 killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando. 32 killed at Virginia Tech. 27 killed at Sandy Hook. 25 killed at a church in Sutherland Springs. 14 killed in San Bernardino. 13 killed at Columbine. 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

While the survivors of the Parkland shooting are doing remarkable work in attempting to end gun violence, it is also important to remember the work done before by others who have also lost loved ones to guns. For many high schoolers, the first and most impactful school shooting they remember occurred five years ago at the Sandy Hook elementary school. The horrific killing of 26 young children and adults spurred many people to speak out about gun control reform following the shooting. Following the death of 17 high school students on Feb.14, 2018, the rise in protests, organized movements and calls for government control have significantly risen among high school students.

One significant factor in the rise of action currently taking place is age; the people killed at MSD were older than 15. While many high school students are not eligible to vote, they are still able to express their opinions and encourage others to vote for them and their futures. The survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting were mostly six and seven-year-olds, too young to go before the camera and hold politicians accountable for gun reform.

This is an evolution of a movement, a long-lasting fight for gun reform”

Also, the rise in modern technology and social media allows many teenagers and adults to have a stronger national impact and garner support through media outlets. When the Columbine shooting took place in 1999, social media was not a platform teenagers used and many did not even have phones. Also, the sheer number of successful movements arising this year, such as Time’s Up, have encouraged students, and adults, to speak out to the public and government officials for their beliefs in the hopes that change will happen. Change can happen, and after Feb. 14 it is happening.

It is important to honor the action thousands of people around the nation are doing to change gun laws, and it also important to remember why this issue is so urgent. The 58 people killed in Las Vegas were simply having fun at a concert. The 49 killed at a gay nightclub were enjoying a night out. The 25 killed in Sutherland Springs were exercising their right to practice whatever religion they want in whatever church they want to. The 14 killed in San Bernardino were at a banquet with their colleagues.The 32 killed at Virginia Tech, the 27 killed at Sandy Hook, the 13 killed at Columbine and the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas were students whose lives were prematurely ended by guns.

It is necessary to remember the hundreds of lives that have been lost due to guns and the hundreds of people speaking out for gun reform over the years. This is an evolution of a movement, a long-lasting fight for gun reform. It is time the people of the United States stand up for each other, their brothers, sisters, parents, children, cousins and partners and save lives by speaking out in the name of those lost.

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