Established in 2017 at Cornell University
Welcome to the Florida Chapter of Fight For Human Rights. The Florida Chapter consists of posts and articles, in which bring to light current events and issues within the state of Florida.
The Florida Chapter is here to spotlight local and statewide social issues. Our chapter emphasizes creating a positive impact on various events, issues, and affairs occurring within the state of Florida. Our chapter encourages members of the community to share articles expressing their opinions and/or experiences, photos, videos, or any medium in order to shed light on any social injustice issues. Through collective effort, the Florida Chapter believes in a better tomorrow.
#NEVERAGAIN: Students demand stricter gun policy in response to Florida school shooting.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida marks the 18th school shooting in 2018. It has only been 2 months.
17 are dead. 14 high school students. 3 administrators.
As I scrolled through my instagram feed on the day of February 14, 2018 and watched first-hand video recordings of students that hid in the corners of their classrooms, encompassed in fear, I felt numb.
These were teenagers that died because of opening the doors to let their classmates in. Teenagers that died because they were saving others. Teenagers that died because of one angry person.
As I continued to scroll through my social media platforms and news articles, the feeling of numbness began to be replaced with blatant outrage. I though to myself, 'this could easily have been preventable.'
Shortly before the event of the mass shooting Cruz had encounters with the police that was left ignored. As stated by a CNN article, "Deputies with the Broward County Sheriff's Office were alerted to Cruz's behavior many times over the years…" Moreover, a violent encounter with his mother that was viable for the Baker Act (a Florida law allowing police to take a mentally ill person into custody) was also left ignored. Years of violent behavior, blatant threats, and even a public instagram photo talking about shooting up a school. The evidence could not be more conspicuous. So how was he able to obtain a gun as easily as I buy my groceries? This question around gun control has been moved to the forefront of American politics and issues. As it should be. As it should have been.
Why does an 18 year old in Parkland, Florida need to have a semiautomatic rifle? What type of background check did they run where multiple encounters with the police were overlooked?
What has been done?
The difference between this school shooting compared to others in the past is the powerful action actually being taken. When the Sandy Hook shooting occurred while I was in 8th grade my school merely held a few minutes of silence over the intercom in remembrance of the children that died. When the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting occurred, numerous Florida students across the state held a walkout, directly contacted their representatives, and organized effective protests as soon as possible. In the past, we merely asked American congressmen to implement stricter gun controls. Now, we demand it.
Students understand that an instagram hashtag and a Facebook post offering "prayers and thoughts" on this event is NOT. ENOUGH. Students' lives are at risk. We either change something or wait until the next violent student acquires another semiautomatic rifle.
Florida legislature and numerous other state legislatures understand this unwavering demand. Evidenced in their response as budget committees in the State House and Senate signed off bills that would raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 (Mazzei & Bidgood, Defying NRA, Florida Lawmakers Back Raising Age Limits on Assault Rifles, New York Times 2018). The article also states that Florida Governor Rick Scott "has opposed stricter background checks and pushed for lowering the cost to get a concealed weapon license," in turn earning him total support from the N.R.A.
Another change in legislature is a proposal by President Trump and the N.R.A. to "endorse putting more armed educators in schools…" However, other lawmakers propose an alternative allocation of resources focused around better mental health resources.
Although many students feel as if these actions are too short-stopped and should be taken further to prevent mass shootings from people of all ages (speaking of the Las Vegas and Pulse shootings,) this is still a major change of citizen accountability towards legislatures. Personally, it is empowering to witness a radical shift in response from a mere few minutes of silence to participating in school walkouts and protests organized by students themselves.
How many more school shootings will it take for gun policy laws to be truly effective? How many more students need to die? What will it take?
There is no room for complacency in my generation. 'Prayers and thoughts' and no longer enough. We are angry and we are determined.
Upcoming Calls to Action
MARCH 24, 2018: NATIONAL SCHOOL WALKOUT (https://twitter.com/womensmarch/status/964578070307987456/photo/1)
MARCH 24, 2018: MARCH FOR OUR LIVES (Students from Parkland — along with support from national organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety; Giffords, the gun safety group founded by wounded former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords; Planned Parenthood and others — are planning March For Our Lives, on March 24, 2018, a march in Washington, D.C. to call for school safety and gun control -- SOURCE: http://time.com/5165794/student-protests-walkouts-florida-school-shooting/)
APRIL 20, 2018: The plan calls for high school students to walk out on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, from at 10:00 a.m. local time until the end of the school day. The walkout encourages students to stay on campus in a common space for 17 minutes of silence in honor of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and then to participate in an open mic.
Disclaimer: this is an opinion article. please email/contact me directly for any changes you believe should be made. thank you.