Blocking the March for Our Lives Won't Stop Change From Happening

On February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, located in Parkland, Fla., 17 students and teachers lost their lives. The Parkland school shooting is now the fifth school shooting that has occurred in the United States since January 1, 2018, according to the Washington Post. And as the year goes on, it is not a stretch to suggest that number will just continue to increase. Since the first major school shooting at Columbine High School occurred, the United States has seen similar stories break headlines for 19 years. This year, however, proves to be different because Parkland students are taking a stand.

            March for Our Lives is the idea of the student survivors of the Parkland shooting. The purpose of the march is to “rally for increased gun control and school safety measures,” according to a Time article about the march. The march, which is being partially funded by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, was organized in the living rooms of the student survivors of the tragedy and has also initiated dozens of school walkouts across the country.  

In an op-ed piece for CNN, one of the student survivors turned activist, Cameron Kasky, explains that gun legislation is an all-party issue. In Kasky’s words, “Politicians on both sides of the aisle are to blame. The Republicans, generally speaking, take large donations from the NRA and are therefore beholden to their cruel agenda. And the Democrats lack the organization and the votes to do anything about it.”

            Kasky explains that he, along with his fellow classmates, “I'm asking -- no, demanding -- we take action now.” His justification? “Because at the end of the day, the students at my school felt one shared experience -- our politicians abandoned us by failing to keep guns out of schools.” Kasky had some harsh words for the politicians in Washington saying, “But this time, my classmates and I are going to hold them to account. This time we are going to pressure them to take action. This time we are going to force them to spend more energy protecting human lives than unborn fetuses.”

Kasky’s words are echoed through many other student survivors that have used the Parkland tragedy as their launchpad for change. Another student survivor, Aeva Jazic, advocates for new legislation saying, “We obviously have a problem in this country. Why not target the root of the problem so that dying isn’t the default? When will politicians muster up the courage to face the real problem?”

Similarly, Jazic’s classmate, Simon Hoo, cautions Florida’s senator Marco Rubio of the effects of non-action, saying “I’d just like you to know, Senator Rubio, that my friends and fellow classmates will be able to vote in your next election. And we won’t forget this.”

In fact, Senator Rubio has refused to take the requests of the students and the community seriously. After a CNN-hosted town hall with many of the Parkland survivors asking questions of Rubio and his stance on gun-control and policies, Rubio tweeted, “The debate after #Parkland reminds us We The People don’t really like each other very much. We smear those who refuse to agree with us. We claim a Judea-Christian heritage but celebrate arrogance & boasting & worst of all we have infected the next generation with the same disease.” According to a Quinnipiac University poll in the days following the town hall, “53 percent of Florida residents were disapproving of his job in office.”

The March for Our Lives, organized by the student survivors of Parkland, was supposed to take place in Washington D.C. on March 24. However, the same government that refuses to take these students seriously, is also not allowing them to march on the planned day. According to CNN, the permit requesting that the March take place in the National Mall was declined for the filming of a “talent show.” The irony of the situation is almost too much to bear.

The government is clearly making a statement regarding gun legislation. How many school shootings must occur before meaningful change can happen? Kasky, Hoo, Jazic, and their many classmates are taking change into their own hands, and will continue to fight for a change in gun laws. In my opinion, Kasky says it best, “Please do it for me. Do it for my fellow classmates. We can't vote, but you can, so make it count.”