By Matthew Taylor
Never Again is a movement that was founded by a small group of Stoneman Douglas students shortly after the Parkland shooting on February. Since that time, it has amassed over 100,000 followers on Twitter, 150,000 on Facebook, and been a near constant subject of political discussion throughout the US in the past week.
“At the end of the day, the students at my school felt one shared experience — our politicians abandoned us by failing to keep guns out of schools,” said Never Again co-founder Cameron Kasky in a CNN op-ed. “I’m just a high school student, and I do not pretend to have all of the answers. However, even in my position, I can see that there is desperate need for change — change that starts by folks showing up to the polls and voting all those individuals who are in the back pockets of gun lobbyists out of office.”
“A student should not have to feel unsafe in any learning environment,” said a survivor in a Never Again Facebook post. “A student should never have to send their final words to their parents via text message. A 19 year-old should not be able to get his hands on a gun that can do such harm… We, your children, are dying. And we have no distinct way of making a difference at our age. Make a difference for us. We need action and we need it now. No more innocent lives can be taken.”
The Parkland shooting, which took place now three weeks ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was just one of hundreds of school shootings the US has seen in recent years. According to an ABC report, in the almost 19 years since the Columbine shooting in Colorado, there have been approximately 270 shootings in schools across America. These shootings have collectively left 141 people dead. Of those, most have been students.
The response of the American public to these types of massacres has become remarkably familiar. There is an initial outpouring of sympathy from both political leaders and the general public, a push for stricter gun control from the left, resistance from the right, and finally silence as the nation moves on with day to day life.
However, the aftermath of this shooting seems to be taking a different form.
This time, rather than quickly dissipating, the political discussions surrounding the reformation of US gun policy seem to be gathering steam. For the first time since Sandy Hook, it appears as if the nation may be ready for a sustained discussion on enacting gun reform.
The key difference in this case seems to be that this most recent push isn’t being led by prominent political figures or established activists, it is being led by a group of high school survivors.
Never Again is planning a nation-wide class walkout for March 24. The event, called “March For Our Lives,” includes both a call for students across the US to walk out of class and a march on Washington DC in protest of the NRA and US gun policy. It is expected to bring tens of thousands to the streets in one of the first mass protests against gun policy in US history.