From the Editor: March for Our Lives: Students are taking charge, making change

Gun control rallies swept the nation on March 24. While the anchored march was in Washington, D.C., millions participated in March for Our Lives in over 800 sibling cities throughout the United States, including sophomore arts administration major Rachel Musumeci.

The march was part of a movement, led by courageous student survivors fighting to change gun laws. 

In wake of last month’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, those who participated in the march were in support of gun control and the school-safety measures that should be taken. It is meant to prevent another lost life of a student or teacher in a place that is meant to be a safe space. Seventeen people were killed and others were injured in the horrific attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. According to the charity EveryTown for Gun Safety, there have been 306 school shootings in America since 2013. This includes anytime a firearm discharged a live round into a school building or on campus grounds.

Musumeci attended Stoneman Douglas and graduated in 2016. On the day of the shooting, a friend texted her saying he was safe, which is how she found out about the horrific mass murder. Since then, she said, everything has been a blur. 

Parkland students created Facebook groups to initiate the campaigns that are now internationally known as the Never Again movement and March for Our Lives. Musumeci was able to see the nonprofit organization start with just 100 members and expand to a Facebook group followed by nearly 300,000 people. 

Students from the high school organized the march in D.C., and according to the official March for Our Lives website, every sibling march was an independent, student-led initiative. 

Musumeci attended March for Our Lives and was in awe when she saw her former classmate, Emma Gonzalez, and her good friend, Alex Wind, speak in front of thousands of people. She didn’t realize how big the movement was until she saw it for herself. “Seeing the amount of people there broke the bubble for me,” she said. 

Some argue that what the march stands for may violate our Second Amendment rights, but the initiative is more about getting the proper security to ensure harmful people stay away from firearms. 

Classic rock star and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent slammed the students who created these movements calling them “poor, mushy-brained children” in an interview with a radio program, “The Joe Pags Show.” He called the student activists “liars” and said, “They are actually committing spiritual suicide because everything they recommend will cause more death and mayhem, guaranteed.”

The March for Our Lives website explains that the purpose of the march was to demand an effective bill be brought before Congress to address gun issues. There is no other political agenda for the movement and it is strictly about addressing the “rampant gun issues in this country.”

Speeches and colorful protest posters that said, “Save students not guns,” “Young, angry and ready for change” and “Enough is enough,” just to name a few, made an impact across social media, by gaining a virtual following of supporters who couldn’t participate in their local march. 

Students taking the initiative as a result of a mass shooting have begun the biggest and most impactful gun control movement thus far. Through the other tragedies, many of us seem to mourn and talk about change for a couple of weeks after the horrific occurrence, but this one is different. Young people are taking the reins to make sure something is done, and it is truly inspiring to see how much of a social impact this has made. The crowd at Washington, D.C.’s march alone was over 200,000 people, according to CBS News. 

Musumeci loved how the students at the march integrated a variety of people who have the same issues in their communities and brought them together. She said that starting April 2, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School initiated a clear backpack rule. Now, every student’s backpack needs to be transparent and go through a thorough search before entering the building. 

“It’s not even a school anymore,” Musumeci said. 

Change is being made, and what the students experienced that day is not a lie and it is not going to encourage more mayhem. As the march emphasizes, there needs to be regulations to mandate who is able to acquire any sort of firearm. It encourages a change in the schools. It encourages a change in gun control. It encourages the movement to make students, parents, teachers and everyone feel safe again.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Hayley Fahey.

Printed in the 4/4/18 issue. 

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