“Fight for your life, before it’s someone else’s job”
By Omnia Mounir
“It’s a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us and 15 more were injured and everybody, absolutely everybody in the Douglas community was forever altered”
With these touching words, the survivor -Emma González- from parkland Florida mass shooting opened her speech during the demonstration of #MarchForOurLives protests on March 24th, 2018 in Washington DC before staying silent for 4 minutes and 26 seconds as a powerful statement in tribute for her lost school mate.
The US communities are outraged and public protests are flooding the streets of Washington and across other states as well. Hundreds of thousands are demanding for some true action against the gun violence. The marchers included students, survivors, activists, artists and even musicians.
The series of demonstrations is called #MarchForOurLives and it’s a student-driven movement that has started on March 20th, which is the anniversary of the “Columbine High School massacre”. The movement has been rising in hackles since the mass shooting in South Florida high school on February 14th, 2018 as the deadliest school massacre in the USA with 17 killed and 17 more injured.
The perpetrator is 19 years old Nikolas Cruz. Cruz was charged with 17 first degree premeditated murders and another 17 attempts of first degree murders. Cruz now faces either the death penalty or life without parole and he is currently undergoing suicide observation.
The movement has received such great condolences and support from other movements like #WomenMarch and #NeverAgainMSD.
The marchers are outraged as the Florida House representatives rejected a bill that bans armed assaults. The rejection was described as a tragedy and Students, activists and survivors are all demanding real efforts in order to enhance the school campus’s security. Also critiques and disapprovals from some politicians’ reactions such as republicans as they’re focusing on the mental health issues and self-disorders of the perpetrators.
Florida governor Rick Scott ordered that the flags at the state buildings to be flown half-staff and later president Trump stated that the flags would be flown half-staff nationwide.
The Florida Legislature passed a bill with the title “Marjory Douglas High School Safety Act” which calls for raising the minimum age for buying arms to 21 years of age, establishing a waiting period and background checks, hiring school police and banning bump stocks. However, the president only signed a spending bill that includes just some background checks and school safety measures.
People are upset because of the baseness of the action against gun violence, though the majority supports safety measures and gun-control background checks. The marches continue in one of the biggest and most powerful actions as described by a survivor student “welcome to the revolution”.
The average of shooting massacres in the US alone is the greatest over the globe with more then 145 shootings between 1976-2017 and the rates has been tripling since 2011 according to several studies. The perpetrators also showed a similar pattern in using semi-automatic rifles and pistols.
The background checks, security measures and police presence in school areas aren’t permanent solutions and America needs some real action with gun control and laws pursuance and execution.
Marchers and demonstrators are standing strong because we have to “fight for our lives before it’s someone else’s job” said a survivor.