After the devastating shooting that occured in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida this Valentine’s day 2018, students have been fighting for peace and justice using their social media platforms as a way to speak their minds.
Lockdown drills are common for US students and involve well practised measures to tackle potential school shooters. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a high school with strong security systems and restricted entrances yet, one 19 year old with an AR-15 gun was able to kill 17 innocent students.
Parkland Florida has now gone from the most safe, peaceful areas to now a sad sorrow filled area because of this violent and chaotic act. Students not just from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been in utter distress and demand change. Growing up in this generation, mass shootings have been commonly dubbed as the “new normal” for these students. US teens have turned into activists and now protest for their safety.
After every devastating gun related tragedy that occurs, many people voice their opinions and demand change, however, with the mature powerful words from the teens who are taking action on social media, many people believe this time will be different.
“In Newtown the students were so young they couldn’t stand up, but trust me – we are going to be the change,” Parkland survivor Alex Wind said. During the tragedy, Alex was forced into a closet among his friends in the darkness for over an hour, while hearing the loud shots from the gunman. Following the shooting, Alex and his four friends started the #NEVER AGAIN campaign.
The voices of these teens have started to be heard. US retailers ‘Dick’s Sporting Goods’ and ‘Walmart’ have set regulations as of today. ‘Dicks Sporting Goods’, a retail store with more than 600 stores all around America said they would no longer sell assault-style rifles, and backed “common sense gun reform”.
After ‘Dicks Sporting Goods’ restrictions were set, ‘Walmart’ openly said they backed “common sense gun reform” and said the age to buy a gun in their store will raise to the minimum age of 21 years for anyone buying guns or ammunition.
Now over a dozen of them are tirelessly campaigning and making the rounds on US cable news networks to share their message that the school’s survivors will not back down.
Student Cameron Kasky, also 17, said the group’s aim is to “create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame” on politicians accepting donations from gun lobbyists. “My message for the people in office is: You’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” he told CNN.
Teens are not staying silent about what happened at a high school in Florida this week.
Their emotions ran raw and unvarnished, many bravely taking to social media to publicly post what they feel the world needs to hear.
“I don’t feel safe.”
“What is our world coming to?”
“I want my friends back.”
The heartbreaking thoughts echoed online, making the reality of how our children are growing up just a little too real. Lockdown drills and school shootings are the only life they have known.