The adults failed. The politicians have no motivation to act. Gun violence across the United States continues to take the lives of innocent students and others almost daily. Fed up with political inaction and seeing their loved ones targeted by gun violence the students, High Schoolers from around the nation took the streets around the country on March 23rd.
People gathered in cities across America on Saturday for massive student-led protests to demand stronger gun control measures. Hundreds of thousands took part in large “March for Our Lives” protests. They took place in major cities including Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and Parkland, Florida. Parkland was the site of the February 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. Some international cities also held demonstrations.
The protests were organized by students after the Parkland shooting. One of the largest took place in Washington D.C. Several survivors of the Stoneman Douglas tragedy spoke to the crowd from a stage set up on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Building on the momentum of last week’s National School Walkout, these members of a generation raised with gun violence have mobilized Americans with impassioned pleas for stricter gun control laws while honoring the 17 students and faculty members killed February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Though Washington hosted the main event, more than 800 sister marches were held across the country, from Boston to Los Angeles, and around the world. Students, teachers, parents, survivors of school shootings and celebrities took their defiant message against gun violence and the gun lobby to the seats of power.
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS,” Emma Gonzalez, who survived last month’s shooting, said in during a speech that went viral. “They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS,” she added.
Gonzalez is one of many students who has taken to social media and the streets to call for stricter gun control after a gunman opened fire on students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others. According to police documents, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz confessed to the shooting.
The tragedy in Florida leads all to ponder on a bigger problem — frequent shootings at schools — almost one gun incident every month — remain a nightmare for children and parents even if most have few fatalities or only injuries. Some recent horrific incidents stand out: Columbine High School, Colorado, where 15 were killed in 1999; Red Lake Senior High School, Minnesota in 2005 with 10 fatalities; and Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut, in 2012 with 28 dead.
The survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have broken through a decades-long stalemate in the gun-control debate in ways that no other group of survivors has been able to.
They’ve pressured President Trump to order a Justice Department crackdown on bump stocks and propose tougher background checks on gun buyers. They’ve persuaded Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to buck the party line and call for congressional hearings.
The US, the most advanced nation has the most number of deaths due to gun violence. For Indian-Americans, who come from a country without a gun culture, the contrast between India and the United States in firearms ownership and gun deaths is often shocking. GunPolicy.org that is hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health, the University of Sydney, gathered data that showed that there were 3,655 total gun deaths in 2014 in India which has a population of 1.3 billion, or three gun deaths per million people showing a decline from a total of 12,147 or 12.3 per million in 1999.
In contrast, there were 33,599 gun deaths in the U.S. in 2014, nine times more than in India. The United States tops the world in the number of guns owned by civilians, with 310 million. That amounts to 101.05 guns for every hundred people in the U.S., giving it the top rank in the rate of gun ownership, while India which ranked next after U.S. in number of guns owned by civilians at 40 million, had just 3.36 guns for every hundred people, because its population is about times bigger than the U.S.
Against this backdrop, the Indian-American community is looking at the gun control issue, which has again risen as a topic of national discussion because of the Parkland shooting. These incidents have changed life in schools and the lives of millions of people across the great nation, the United States.
“To the leaders, skeptics and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent and wait your turn, welcome to the revolution,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky told the throngs in Washington, where the march turned into a thunderous, standing-room-only rally. “Either represent the people or get out. Stand for us or beware.”