Right now, students in America are fighting for stricter gun laws.
Suddenly, there’s a shift in the status quo − a divergence from the bleak routine with which America typically reacts to each new mass shooting. When individuals are habitually slaughtered in the United States, there are prayers for the victims and their loved ones. There are appeals that lead to nothing. And there is a cynical bellow from the gun lobby, which is as follows: Fewer weapons aren’t the solution, but more, preferably in the hands of teachers.
This theater of coping also took place after the most recent mass murder in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students and teachers were shot dead in the hallways of their school via a legally acquired assault rifle. And yet, this time something just might be different.
It’s not different because U.S. President Donald Trump finally wants to consider a sensible change on gun laws − reforms, mind you, that even the National Rifle Association could agree with.
Rather the new reason for hope, albeit faint, comes from the surviving students, who are raising their voices and speaking out. They are outraged and resolute − powered by their disgust that this country is incapable of protecting its own children.
And through 18-year-old Emma González, they’ve got a voice that’s charismatic. Shortly after the massacre, this young woman with her shaved hair claimed that this was going to be America’s last mass shooting. How does she know that? Because she and her friends are going to personally fight to change the laws. On March 24, there is going to be a protest in Washington organized by the teenagers.
In 2012, a similar school shooting took place in Connecticut. There, 20 children and six educators died. There too, actions did not just stop at prayers. Soon after the fact, the state tightened its gun laws. And since then, the number of deaths caused by firearms in Connecticut has halved.
Perhaps the anguished shouts of Emma González and her friends will fade. Perhaps cynicism and money will once again triumph over the pain of victims. This hope has died so many times before.
However, what’s certain is this: Eventually some school shooting is going to be the last. Even in America.