Fiorella Beccaglia Staff Writer
It was an afternoon filled with terror for the students and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed seventeen people with an AR-15, a semi-automatic assault rifle that he bought legally. Attorney Stuart Kaplan claims the gun store Cruz bought the weapon from required him to provide his ID and held a full background check. There were also various personal questions that were asked of Cruz. One of these questions was if he had ever been institutionalized for any form of mental illness. Cruz lied and claimed he had not.
Around 2:30pm, the Broward County police answered to reports of the shooting. Nikolas Cruz began shooting outside the building and then followed students inside. At this point, Cruz had pulled the fire alarm to get students and faculty out of the classroom for them to be more reachable targets. His location was unknown and many students thought everything was a joke. That is, until they heard the gunshots. The SWAT teams went from area to area, securing every room before allowing people to evacuate. After the evacuation, they checked every student’s ID in hopes of finding the shooter amongst the masses. Cruz initially attempted to mix with the crowd of students, but it did not work. He was arrested without injury at 3:14pm.
Everyone who knew Cruz was deeply disturbed by him. He had been in and out of mental health treatment. His Instagram profile contained various photographs of weapons and even dead animals. He was so frightening to teachers and students that had been suspended from school and banned from even carrying a backpack. How was a man with such a troubled past able to get his hands on a military-style weapon capable of killing and injuring dozens of innocent victims without even reloading? Well, this is the United States. He simply walked into a gun shop and bought one.
Due to the government’s highly inefficient background checks and NRA-funded puppets such as Marco Rubio and Donald Trump who run the country, nothing has changed after years of massacres caused by gun violence. Perhaps if we lived in a sane nation with leaders that cared about their people more than they cared about money, the details emerging about Nikolas Cruz would give rise to more realistic legislation that would restrict the access to weapons for the mentally ill– not to mention an efficient move to restore the ban of high-capacity machines like the AR-15. Similarly, they claim the United States has a mental health problem, not a gun control problem. Yet they have made no effort to allocate more money to fund mental health treatment.
Florida’s gun control laws have been loosened by years of NRA-funded Republican jurisdiction to the point they barely exist. Again, Nikolas Cruz made clear to his peers that he wanted to harm them and that he repeatedly demonstrated an obsession with getting the weapons to do so. Yet there was nothing in Florida’s state laws that prevented him from buying the most dangerous military-style weapons available.
Governor Rick Scott declared his only position on preventing mass shootings is to pray about them and send his deepest condolences. Senator Marco Rubio gets $3,03,355 from the NRA. Attorney General Pam Bondi has promised to donate money for the funerals but not to do anything to stop the mass shootings. And President Donald Trump repealed an Obama-era executive order that required deeper background checks for the mentally ill before they could buy any sort of weapon. Thus, Nikolas Cruz, who was banned from the school and terrorized his classmates for years, walked into a gun shop in Florida and effortlessly walked out with a semi-automatic assault rifle with the power to kill seventeen innocent people.
Emma González, a senior student survivor, gave a brave and passionate speech at a weekend rally where she discussed the NRA’s $30 million in donations on Trump’s behalf throughout his presidential election. She courageously cited Trump, Rubio and Scott in a warning to politicians funded by the NRA.
“We know that they are claiming that there are mental health issues and I am not a psychologist, but the we need to pay attention to the fact that this is not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife!” González addressed at a gun control rally last Saturday, Feb. 17, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The students plan to visit the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee to demand immediate action and are seeking to put pressure on lawmakers to pass stricter gun control legislation. They are also demanding for anti-gun violence demonstrations in Washington D.C., New York City, and other major cities all over the country on March 24.
Some say nothing could have prevented this from happening, that if guns are banned they will find another way, and that restricting or taking away a right from the innocent due to the acts of a few is unjust. These statements are nothing but absurd.
The Constitution is an admirable document that is worth revering. It is used to further social justice and makes the United States one of the most advanced governmental systems in the world. But as a nation, we must acknowledge that not everything about the past must be preserved and that not all the Framers of the Constitution’s ideas fit our time period. This is one of those times. The Second Amendment is primitive and outdated. It was adopted in 1791, when AR-15’s did not exist. Weapons nowadays are vastly different. The Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Las Vegas shooters could not have been able to kill dozens of innocent people with a butter knife. Yes, they might find other ways. But let’s make it harder for them. Let them get more innovative and original with their wrongdoings. The government has been making it ridiculously easy thus far.
“This is about children, teenagers, and adults being brutally murdered in schools, concerts, churches, and malls.”
The action these teenagers are taking is remarkable. This is not about partisanship or the Democrats against the Republicans. This is about children, teenagers, and adults being brutally murdered in schools, concerts, churches, and malls. This is about us, as young adults, taking action as the future leaders of the nation; the same action current leaders were unwilling to take. We have people’s lives at stake with this issue and nothing will stop us. Let it be known that we will use social media as a platform for everyone to hear us. We are and will remain in contact with our state and federal legislators. Change is now and it is starting with the youth.