Why was Parkland Different?


Zach Gibson

Students protesting due to their inspiration and newfound powerful voice against gun violence.

Lydia Sidrys and Bella Druckman

      Two-Hundred Ninety. That’s the number of school shootings there have been in America since 2013. Though all of these shootings are different on some level, there is an underlying cause of these shootings: weak gun restriction laws. Even though there has been an extraordinary number of school shootings, none have generated the response generated from the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. So why was this shooting different? The revolutionary movement that erupted after the Parkland shooting occurred because of the severity of this particular shooting, the age of the victims, and the realization that American government must change. All of these reasons have generated an extraordinary response to a tragic event.                                                           

       In the past, media publicized school shootings for a maximum of two weeks, then abruptly forget about the tragedy. The goal of the Stoneman Douglas High School students is not to be forgotten, but rather used as a starting point for change. The maturity derived by the old age of the Parkland students compared to students of past school shootings, such as Sandy Hook, allow them to understand the problem that mass school shootings continue to occur. Although the parents of Sandy Hook students did vocalize the issue, the difference now is that society decided to listen to the cries of the victims. The students of Parkland want to achieve better gun control laws than those in the past in order to prevent future school shootings from occurring. 

John Angelillo
Survivors grieving after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

       Many of the school shootings that have recently plagued America in the past have been relatively small, with few or no casualties and varying degrees of injuries. However, the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida was extremely deadly, with seventeen casualties. The severity and deadliness of this shooting not only allowed it to make the headlines of all major news sites, but generated a large emotional response. The headlines of the shooting at Parkland High School, made America realize how much gun violence, particularly in schools, has been plaguing America.

       The students in Parkland High School varied between the ages of 14-18. With the maturity and wisdom gained from classes such as AP Government and AP US History, the victims already had a deep understanding about the US Government and how it has changed throughout history. Students such as Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg have realized that they have a voice in politics and can catalyze change by contacting government officials, protesting, and using social media.

Emma Gonzales and David Hoggs, two survivors of the Parkland school shooting who spurred the revolution for better gun regulations.

       In the past year, an attitude of progression and change has emerged in America, particularly among people in their teens or twenties. This attitude of progression has allowed the young people of America to generate an emotional response to tragic events that has the possibility to actually change laws. This attitude of promoting change in America, particularly among the youth, has encouraged walkouts, protests, and letter writing campaigns, in response to this tragic shooting. Much of this awareness is due to social media, as social media offers a progressive platform for people to share their ideas, and for their ideas to be heard. 

Stephanie Strasburg
Students in Pittsburg exercise their right to protest against gun violence.

       The recent shooting in Parkland, Florida has generated an extraordinary response that advocates for change in many of the laws regarding guns in America. Though there have been almost three hundred school shootings in the past four years, none of these shootings generated a response touched the hearts of this many people across America and across the world. This response developed into a forceful movement that has opened the eyes of Americans to the gun violence that occurs both in schools and in cities such as Chicago. As this shooting was extremely severe,  kids were able to use their understanding about laws and severity of gun violence to cause change. The shooting also occured at a time when America possessed the attitude to promote progressive change. The students realized that adults were not changing America so it was their duty to raise grievances about the issue. The Parkland shooting was different for a variety of  reasons. Students, even those at Saint Ignatius, can help promote the change to prevent more shootings like this from happening in the future.