Demi Lawrence is a freshman telecommunications journalism major and writes "Demi's Diems" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Demi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This generation can be the generation to end gun violence.
We’ve seen high school students become homegrown activists in wake of the Parkland, Florida tragedy. Seventeen are dead after a gunman armed with a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle open fired in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. Any high school student has the right and expectation to mourn after such a heinous tragedy like this occurs against their classmates, teachers and coaches. But these students’ version of mourning is fiery. It is raw and angry, like roaring fire when gasoline is added on top.
We have had enough. We have seen Columbine, Sandy Hook and now Parkland. I remember learning about Columbine after the fact as a naive and curious middle schooler, and I remember wondering so many things. I wondered what kind of sick person could look someone in the eyes, someone they know from school nonetheless, and decide that their life is worth no more than their own and pull the trigger. I also remember wondering where the perpetrators got such equipment to commit the crime. I remember wondering if they regretted it, if they wished they could take it back after it was done and over.
Ultimately, I remember asking if they had any humanity in them, and ultimately I remember doubting so.
So tell me why the words “mass shooting” or “massacre” no longer hit me as hard as they used to. Tell me why on the day of Feb. 14, 2018 I was not surprised. Sure, I was disgusted, but not surprised. Does anyone realize how warped that is? Lives were lost, easily preventable but no one can seem to figure out what to do. The United States government is in a stand still, a complete mouths-agape, arms-up, shoulders-shrugged stand still.
Students around the country are voicing their concerns. Walk-outs, protests, contacting government officials. I truly believe we are at a turning point in history. We are living in our children and grandchildren’s history books, leaving our footsteps on the pages that will be read by them. This generation is tired, we are frustrated with seeing our own perish at the inactivity of the generations above us. Something needs to be done.
I didn’t watch the videos taken by the students in the school during the shooting originally when they came out. School shootings are my ultimate fear. I like to think I am a brave, young woman, but the idea of my school being rampaged by a gunman scares me more than anything. Eventually, I swallowed my fear and watched the videos because I knew I couldn’t live in dark, willful ignorance as a journalist. I watched a specific one broadcasted by CNN, and I got less than 15 seconds into it before I had to pause. Tears welled up in my eyes as I dropped my head, unable to even look at the still image. I can’t imagine being those students, hearing those gunshots so close and wondering which one of my classmates was being hit that time. If watching it from the comfort of my laptop in the kitchenette by my dormitory was that hard, I didn’t even want to think about being there in that school that day.
The same students that were there, witnessing their classmates being massacred, are on stage and on television with officials like Marco Rubio. They are in televised press conferences with President Trump. They are giving speeches; heartfelt and powerful speeches. They are not sitting back and mourning like normal people would. They are fighting.
You may ask why they are fighting, but I know the answer: they’ve had enough. They want to see change and they want to be the change. I believe they are running history, and they are begging us all to join in.
My fellow millennials, we have an opportunity to be the change this country so desperately needs. It does not matter what you feel about the second amendment and our right to bear arms. People are losing their lives. The time for action is not tomorrow, nor is it next year or when we become adults. The time is now.
This generation can be the generation to end gun violence. This generation will be the generation to end gun violence. All we have to do is be fierce and come together.