Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Students can change gun laws better than adults

They say that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. That is exactly the mentality that young activists and survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have taken on as it is clear that many lawmakers just can’t seem to make what should be an easy decision between receiving donations from the NRA and saving the lives of children.
The February 14th shooting that killed 17 students and injured 14 was the eighteenth school shooting in just 2018. This time, however, the aftermath was different. Rather than seeing multiple social media posts and statements about “thoughts and prayers,” people have been calling for policy and change, inspired by the student activists that have taken a central role in the debate on gun control.
It has been nearly a month since the horrific shooting in Parkland, and it looks like the students are just getting started. Among the student activists are Emma González, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Sarah Chadwick, and Sameul Zeif. The students have started the Never Again movement with the hope that lawmakers will make sure that there are stricter laws when it comes to acquiring a gun. They have also organized the March For Life on the 24th of this month.
Seventeen and eighteen year olds that have survived a mass shooting have are now having to relive their experiences while simultaneously debating lawmakers and government officials that should already be protecting them. The progress such young people have made in such a short time is incredibly admirable.
Not so admirable, of course, is the way that many lawmakers have responded to the students. Senator Marco Rubio couldn’t give a clear answer when Kasky asked him if he would keep taking donations from the NRA. Representative Daryl Metcalfe mocked the students and their role in politics, insinuating that if they are old enough to be involved in policy, then they should be old enough to purchase guns. Both Rubio and Metcalfe’s responses are irresponsible and embarrassing for someone who holds a government position.
So, this is the point we have reached in our government. Nearly overnight, teenagers have transitioned for young high school students getting ready for their futures to activists changing the future for the entire country, while lawmakers are stumbling over their words and making insensitive comments.
That is why these young activists are so important and have been so successful thus far. They know how to rally young people, they know how to reach people, and most, of all, they know how to keep fighting for what they want.
There is definitely a false rhetoric about young people in that they are hot-headed, stubborn, and obsessed with social media. However, the young activists from Parkland have shown us that in the face of tragedy and the beginning of activism, both of these seemingly negative qualities can bring serious change to the U.S.’s gun control policies.
These students should not be taken lightly nor should they be belittled to the stereotypes often associated with people their age. They are exercising their rights and are passionate and determined.
Why is it that the entire country is taking the words of teenagers over that of lawmakers? It is because these teenagers and young activists have shown that they are aware of the problems that are going unnoticed by ignorant and unhelpful legislators.They are implementing the changes they want to see from government officials on their own. Their bravery and resilience is incredibly admirable, and it is these qualities that we should be seeing more of in our lawmakers.

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Students can change gun laws better than adults