Mass school shootings are, sadly, nothing new to our society. Santa Fe High School, near Houston, Texas, is only another addition to the long list of high schools affected by egregious actions as a result of faulty gun control laws.
On Friday, May 18, police responded to shots fired at the high school, now confirmed as a 17 year-old male student. Reportedly nine kids and one teacher were killed, with twelve people being treated at local hospitals. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez reported that the law enforcement department is unsure if there are any additional fatalities.
This has been the first mass school shooting since the revolutionary activism from the Parkland students, who organized the Never Again movement and the March For Our Lives, as well as inspiring school walkouts nationwide.
Santa Fe High School, just approximately a month prior, had participated in raising awareness for gun control influenced by the Parkland movements.
“@mukethemusical: @schoolwalkoutUS Santa Fe High School. Santa Fe, Texas. #NeverAgain We read a poem by a parkland survivor, handed out gun violence fact sheets and orange ribbon, did 17 munutes of silence, and then talked about ways to raise awareness for gun violence, and make your voice heard.”
“Just last month at Santa Fe High School,” Jaclyn Corin said on Twitter in reference to the school’s activism. “We won’t stop fighting until #NeverAgain becomes a reality.”
“It’s been happening everywhere,” 17-year-old student Paige Curry said in an interview hours after. “I’ve always kind of felt it like eventually it was going to happen here too. I wasn’t surprised, I was just scared.”
Donald Trump, along with many other politicians, advocate for the end of gun violence. “Too many years, too many decades now, we grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack to the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High,” he said at an unrelated event today. “My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves, and to others.”
But we don’t want empty promises. We don’t want our voices to be ignored. We don’t want our school to be the next one added to the long list. We don’t want our activism to be for nothing.
We want policy changes.
Small steps have been made towards change. Support for stronger gun control increased to 68% after the Parkland shooting from the 60% it stayed at in November. Due to the Never Again movement and students of Parkland publicly shaming the NRA for their endorsement of gun use, support for the interest group is down to 37%, being the first time the organization has been viewed more negatively than positively. Companies began to cut ties with the NRA in protest to gun violence. In Florida, a bill was passed on March 9 which bans “bump stocks, imposes a waiting period, raises the minimum age to buy a weapon and allows cops to take guns from mentally disturbed people.”
Yet still, some numbers are stacked against gun control. With only 4.4% of the global population being made up of Americans, the country makes up 42% of the world’s gun holders. 31% of the world’s mass shooters are American. The problem is clear, though the argument of the Second Amendment still holds. According to Time, “roughly 90% of Americans agree on ‘common-sense’ solutions like universal background checks, yet absolutists stand in the way of any meaningful action.”
“We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Santa Fe High School and send our love and support to the families affected as well as the entire community,” the @AMarchForOurLives Twitter account, ran by Parkland students wrote in a statement today. “Though this is the 22nd school shooting this year, we urge those reading this not to sweep it under the rug and forget. This is not the price of our freedom. This is the most fatal shooting since the one at our school and tragedies like this will continue to happen unless action is taken. Santa Fe, we are with you, and we will do whatever we can to support you as the days go on.”
“Get ready for two weeks of media coverage of politicians acting like they give a s*** when in reality they just want to boost their approval ratings before midterms,” David Hogg, Parkland student, tweeted.
The Santa Fe High School shooting is proof that speaking about it is not enough. The students raised awareness for gun control, yet the cycle continues. Students who are not of age yet to vote can only do so much.
It’s time for legislators and political leaders to stop letting their children get hurt in the simple act of getting education. It’s time to stop letting radical gun-holders dictate what happens to our lives.
It’s time for action to be taken.
Photo: Michael Ciaglo / AP