“In 2016, the NRA spent a record $55 million on elections. Their real goal is to protect a few big gun manufacturers who want to enlarge their profits.” -Robert Reich
Gun Violence is something that is being discussed much today. There are over 35,000 deaths a year due to firearms. This is clearly an issue that needs to be solved, not just addressed. Solutions are constantly proposed, yet the problem has not been resolved. But maybe something will finally wake us up. Groups of young people are changing America with their desire to do something to end gun violence.
After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, many people, especially teenagers, are trying to raise awareness on the issue of gun violence. On March 24, there was a student-led event, “March For Our Lives,” to strengthen gun control. Not only students, but teachers and other supporters marched on the streets of Washington D.C. with signs making statements such as, “TOO OLD TO CREATE CHANGE? MOVE ASIDE: WE’LL DO IT,” “#GUN CONTROL NOW,” and “#PROTECT PEOPLE NOT GUNS,” along with many more powerful messages in an effort to encourage legislation on guns. Over 800 more marching events throughout the nation and around the world took place that day.
The march wasn’t the only event held to support the cause. On March 14, Detroit Cristo Rey also participated in a walk-out the week before. Students from all grades, staff and principal Susan Rowe stood in silence for 17 minutes in dedication to the 17 lives lost in the shooting.
“As soon as I heard about it, I wanted to participate,” said sophomore Estrella Escutia. “It’s just something that I feel really strong about”.
The 17 minutes of silence offered a time of reflection for the students. “I felt like I was a part of something bigger,” said Estrella of her thoughts at the time. “And I felt like we were all making a change.”
Perhaps the walk-out really did create greater awareness of the issue, but some young people worry that real change will not happen within our current society.
“Young people will always be ruled by elders with agendas,” said junior Jacob Walker. “This situation will only change when the NRA is ready to give up millions in profits every year.”
Due to the greedy, capitalistic values of America, it is unlikely that this will change. The NRA is profit-oriented and will promote the selling of unnecessary weapons, or weapons to individuals who are not safe to carry, if it feeds their pockets.
In the wake of these increased school shootings, some lawmakers have proposed bills to arm teachers and security guards within schools. Walker questioned this: “In order to prevent gun violence in schools, we're going to put more guns in schools? There's just too many ‘what-ifs’ to justify the idea,” he said
“I feel as safe at DCR as the Columbine and Stoneman Douglas students felt,” said Walker. “How do you know when someone is going to snap?” He brings up a vital point. Nowadays no one is ever sure or can truly know someone’s deep intentions. These shootings are a crime that, alas, isn’t shocking anymore. And discretion for safety must be used in all locations, not just schools. Surely, these politicians need to take a closer look at the nation and analyze the consistency of violence happening. Only then will they understand why this violence continues.
The walk-out was designed to give a moment to the victims, but the overall message conveys many Americans’ hope for an end to gun violence. Teenagers are tired of accepting things the way the are, they shouldn’t have to be afraid of leaving their houses. Individuals shouldn’t be able to purchase assault rifles without a license and a background check. Society can’t get rid of violence, but it can get rid of guns. There has to be change.
It is spectacular to see groups of young people finally stepping forward because even they don’t approve of the cruel world we live in. May the youth continue to march and project their voices in society for the older generation to understand that they are the new elevators of universal hope.
“The real change shouldn't be too far away,” said Walker. “Both locally and nationally, the attention this walk-out received was a great way to make people think and talk.”