OPINION: One year anniversary of the Parkland massacre. 17 lives in 6 minutes.

Valentines day reminds students of more than just relationship statuses.

Dani Davis, Staff Writer

One year ago on Feb. 14. 2018, seventeen lives of students, staff and teachers were lost at the hands of a mentally ill, destructive, mass shooter. The shots that rang through the hallways at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Memorial High School will ring in the minds of students across America for years to come. The horrific news stories instilled horror, fear, and anxiety in schools everywhere. Time after time, headlines of multiple innocent children having their lives violently ripped away from them by the cold hands of gun violence, crawl across the bottom of news broadcast screens detailing yet another school shooting. 

The tragic events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) awakened waves of student activism. These student activist approaches include the nationwide school walkout, the March For Our Lives marches, a 10 percent boost in voter registration and turnout among young people, and an increase in general political engagement. Some of these political standpoints include students demanding higher restrictions on purchasing guns such as raising the mandatory age to 21, requiring federal background checks and screenings, banning bump stocks, and placing a wait period on buying a gun. These acts of activism by students have incited legislation reforms such as the federal ban on bump stocks and the confirmation of pending house bills that tighten regulation.

According to the March For Our Lives organization, “On Tuesday, January 8th, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Mike Thompson introduced H.R. 8, a new law mandating universal background checks that closes the loopholes in gun sales.” On Feb. 13, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 8 along with H.R. 1112 which addresses a loophole that would allow non-licensed individuals to possess a firearm illegally. Both bills will work to reduce to amount of gun violence in the nation.

Although there may be polarizing opinions on the way Americans obtain guns and what types of guns are legally obtainable by any able citizen, one perspective both parties generally came to a consensus on is wanting higher mental health screening regulations before gun sales. In the case of the Parkland school shooting, Nikolas Cruz, the shooter, obtained his AR-15 legally, which furthered the drive for regulation.

Many of these notions were set into motion by Emma Gonzalez, who was a graduating senior at the time. Gonzalez set activism into motion with the iconic “We Call B.S.” speech which now has millions of views on YouTube. These powerful nations revolutionized the way students respond to legislation surrounding public and school safety.

Parkland students have now come forward with a book titled Parkland Speaks which features student art, writing, and photography that provides an inside look into the healing and grief process of students.

Even a year after the shooting occurred the community is still dealing with its impacts. Students throughout the nation are still coping with the harsh reality that occurred a year ago today and continues in our public schools. Since the events that unraveled in Parkland and the beginning of the #neveragain movement, 1200 students to date have lost their lives in public school shootings.