Student perspective

Abbey Alexander, A&E Editor

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Since the infamous Columbine shooting in 1999, there have been 210 school shootings in the US (Roberts, M. 2018, February 21). In 2018 alone, there have been a countless number of school shootings, injuring and killing numerous students and teachers.  For each shooting, we as a country have sent our prayers.

Relying on the power of prayer to heal the wounded, mend the broken and repair the damaged; it seems that every week there is a new hashtag floating around social media, begging the public to pray for whatever school or city has been affected by gun violence this time.

#PrayforSandyHook. #PrayforVegas. #PrayforTexas. #PrayforOrlando. #PrayforSanBernadino. #PrayforSouthCarolina. Pray for an end.

This past week, yet another school shooting occurred in Parkland, Florida. The shooting resulted in the death of 17 students and faculty when a student brought an AR-15 on to campus and opened fire on his peers.

However, unlike the rest of the shootings we see day after day, this tragedy resulted in something other than a “pray for” hashtag.

Yes, this one resulted in something much different, and much, much more powerful.

In the heat of anger, in the face of tragedy, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School refused to be silenced. The young activists took to social media, begging for a change in our country. They started a movement.

The name? ‘Never Again.’

The goal? To enforce stricter background checks for those wanting to buy a gun.

Why was this person able to purchase a gun so easily? Why are so many citizens valuing their 2nd amendment rights over the lives of the children of America?

These were exactly the questions begged by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in tweets directed at President Trump, as well as congress.

But the goal here was not to get “political,” or to create a divide between Republican and Democratic parties. What many people fail to realize is that what our country needs now is unity. Even more so, what the children affected by lack of gun control need now is action. Yes, thoughts, and prayers and hashtags, but also promise that we, as a country, will put aside our political beliefs, our love of guns, and our pride, to make sure that what happened last week in Florida will never happen again.

I have grown up in a country riddled with bullet holes. At 16 years of age, I have seen countless numbers of my peers across the United States killed through acts of senseless violence. It’s hard to find words, let alone strength, in these situations, and it’s hard not to feel helpless. Hopelessness can easily overcome us when, as a country, we’re faced with situations that we don’t know how to handle. But now, it’s more important than ever to use our voices to fight for those who cannot anymore. As a student, who is scared, yet hopeful, for the future of our country, I am asking you to fight with me.

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