From School Shootings To Change: Here’s What’s Happened Since The Tragic Shooting In Parkland, Florida
It’s been over a year since the Valentines Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Despite the tragic loss of life during the shooting, there has been little progress in the U.S. to prevent more mass shootings. In fact, there were 304 shootings in the U.S. in all of 2018 killing 373 people and wounding 1347 people.
Politicians and the NRA have fought against gun measures that would preserve life moving forward. However, a handful of teenagers from Florida have led a charge that is changing the landscape of those in power and the fate of gun laws in the U.S.
Within days of the traumatic incident, students at Parkland spoke out in a way we haven’t seen before.
During a time when school shootings have become the new normal, these students didn’t capture America’s attention simply because they were traumatized and horrified by the deaths of their classmates.
They called BS on “thoughts and prayers.” They were angry, and they had every right to be. Seventeen of their classmates died and politicians seemed eager to brush it under the rug.
People from around the United States flooded Washington in the days after the shooting in protest.
What most people don’t know is that countless schools around the country held both planned and spontaneous walkouts. One week after the shooting, West Boca High School students spontaneously ran from the moment of silence and walked 12 miles to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in solidarity.
Emma Gonzalez emerged as the face of the gun reform movement.
Her face has been wholly unwelcomed by the Trump administration. One Republican nominee even stooped so low as to call this teen survivor a homophobic slur. That hasn’t stopped her.
Her and other students formed a non-profit called “March for Our Lives” and their main goal is to get America to vote out legislators who receive donations from the NRA. Genioso.
Unfortunately, young people are still dying across the country.
Just ten days after Parkland, a gunman opened fire on a young woman at Savannah State University. The victim, Kaleel Clarke, died.
Ten people died in a shooting at Santa Fe High School May 18, 2018.
A 17-year-old opened fire using his father’s legally owned guns, along with explosive devices found at the school. Ten people died, and ten people were injured.
“I’m scared to even go back,” one student told ABC News. “It’s just not something that you should feel throughout the day, being scared. Especially somewhere where we say the Pledge of Allegiance.”
One 17-year old girl died at Huffman High School on March 7, 2018.
This was an “accidental shooting,” which is something students wouldn’t have to be afraid of if every school was a gun-free zone. Courtlin Arrington was a college-accepted senior who planned to become a nurse.
Central Michigan University shut down after a student fatally shot his mother and father in a dorm room on March 2, 2018.
The students woke up to an announcement to find shelter and barricade doors until further notice. This is protocol. This is not normal.
On March 20, a student opened fire at Great Mills High School, Maryland, injuring one and killing another.
The student, Austin Rollins, shot himself in the head when confronting a police officer. Jaelynn Willey died a week after the shooting. She had recently broken up with Rollins.
The father of two Parkland survivors was fatally shot during a robbery.
Ayub Ali owned a corner shop in North Lauderdale when a man held Ali at gunpoint while he emptied the register. He left with the money, but then mysteriously returned just to shoot Ali.
His family is once again struck with the grief of senseless, preventable violence.
Parkland survivors have taken to the White House to fight for their lives.
A week after the shooting, Trump held a “listening session,” where Trump promised to pass laws for stricter background checks, and entertained the idea of arming teachers with guns.
Then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a $400 million reform bill that includes a ban on bump stocks.
Their efforts are working. Included in the bill is a three-day waiting period on all firearm purchases, and an increase in the purchasing age of rifles from 18 to 21 years old.
Far more action has been taken at a city level.
Thanks to the Parkland survivors, Colombine survivors now have a new platform to speak up. School districts all over Florida have voted to ban teachers from carrying firearms in schools, in direct protest of Trump’s plan to arm teachers.
On a federal level, the Department of Justice is now considering a ban on bump stocks.
Meanwhile, the House passed a measure that trains students, teachers and law enforcement on how to detect threats of gun violence and how to go about reporting it.
March for Our Lives has published every legislator who has taken money from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and are holding them accountable.
While the NRA received an increase in donations after the Parkland shooting, they are struggling now. It seems that they’re not able to buy out politicians quite as easily because voting Americans are paying attention.
In fact, the fallout from companies has been even more significant than from our government representatives.
Shopify Inc., the online platform for hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world, has banned the sale of semi-automatic firearms (like AR-15s, bump stocks, and silencers) and 3D-printed guns.
“Solely deferring to the law, in this age of political gridlock, is too idealistic and functionally unworkable on the fast-moving internet,” CEO Tobi Lutke wrote in his own post.
Meanwhile, Delta lost a $38 million tax break for disassociating from the NRA.
In a memo to the company, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Balstian commented, “Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale.”
The fact that companies are setting the moral precedent shows how broken our legislative system is.
Partisanship is dividing our country. Marco Rubio is one of the few Republicans to first speak out after the Parkland shooting in support of the students. That said, when asked point blank by a Parkland student if he would continue accepting money from the NRA, Rubio stood his ground. He will continue to accept money from the NRA.