Don’t walkout from the world around you

Sophia Englehart, Community Editor

Do you know what happened on Feb. 14, 2017, in Parkland, Florida? Did you know that on that day, in what Fox News is calling, “one of the biggest mass shootings in U.S. history”, Nikolas Cruz killed – murdered – 17 students and school faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school? Do you know that the survivors of Parkland have, instead of becoming forgotten victims, become symbols of change, determination and demonstration?

In the wake of what could only be described as heartbreaking and soul searing, the students of Parkland have become the phoenixes of a new movement. They have risen from the ashes of tragedy to create a new, fierce protest against gun control and violence. It has taken years, and many horrors in the forms of Sandy Hook, Columbine, Las Vegas, the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the Pulse shooting in Orlando, the list goes on and on and on. So many have died and nothing. has. changed.

And the worst part is that we Americans have become used to it. Even former President Barak Obama said it himself in the aftermath of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon. “Somehow this has become routine…we’ve become numb to this.”

We’ve become used to yawning at headlines of yet another mass shooting, turning the page of the newspaper and sipping our coffee like the world around us is at peace. We’ve become used to forgetting the people who’ve died, who won’t live to see another day because of these shootings. We’ve become used to the ALICE drills, the law enforcement speakers who come to talk about the dangers of school shootings and barricading ourselves inside a classroom in the possibility that an armed shooter should enter the building. We’ve become used to talk of installing new security cameras, adding more school police officers, installing escape ladders in classrooms and even arming teachers, in case we are caught in the middle of a shooting.

Powell, WAKE UP. America. WAKE UP. Do you not see what we have become? When the world loses the light and humanity around us, we too, forget that we are human. We pretend to not care. We will always be human. And we, as humans, as citizens, friends, sisters and brothers, father and mothers, can do something to change the horror story world in which we find ourselves.

The Parkland community has taken the first step. The survivors, empowered by their losses and what could have been prevented, have taken to a national stage and given a voice to their grief, and their desire for change.

According to Rolling Stone magazine reporter Tessa Stuart, “The students I spoke to don’t really want painted rocks or carnations or cops with guns welcoming them back to campus. What they want…are the things that could have stopped “the incident” before it happened: a comprehensive background-check system, a ban on assault-style weapons like the AR-15, and limits on high-capacity magazines…the students would like to see the NRA taken down too, along with any politicians who have endorsed its increasingly radical policy prescriptions.”

Parkland protestors, lead by students like Cameron Kasky, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin and Alex Wind (all survivors and students at Marjory Stonemason Douglas), have already impacted huge change in their home state of Florida.

TIME magazine reported that Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Florida State Legislature passed gun control measures that include banning bump stocks, and raising the legal age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. This legislation also initiates a three-day waiting period on gun purchases and provides more funding to school safety and mental health resources.

The protestors of Parkland may just be kids, but they are kids that are doing what our generation is supposed to do: make a difference, and create a legacy worth living up to.

What happened in Parkland may be a long way from Powell, but rather than sitting on our hands and ignoring the warnings, we – as a school, as a community – can do something. We can become a part of a greater movement. We can make ourselves know as the people who did something, rather than be remembered as the people who didn’t.

I’m not asking you do this this for the fame, or the recognition. I’m asking us to this this for empathy, for togetherness, for humanity and most importantly, for yourself.