On February 14th, 2018, we lost a total of 17 lives in yet another mass shooting. But we all know this by now and we all feel deeply sorry for each and every single family who's lost a loved one. We send positive vibes, prayers, and we might even make some sort of monetary contribution.
This is all great, and I'm glad we are not completely desensitized as a society. It is clear that we are grieving as a whole. Yet, why do we keep talking about the shooter? Nikolas Cruz shouldn't be relevant anymore. Think about it, we know he had mental health issues, we know he came from a rough upbringing, and we know that he probably didn't have much of a support system. Perhaps we could've seen this coming? But how is this different than any other dysfunctional human being who takes other people's lives?
Are we curious as to why exactly the shooter did what he did? Maybe, but there are other things that are of much more concern than the motives behind his actions. Let's stop questioning why he did it. Let's stop focusing on how rough of a life he had. Let's stop talking about him for once and for all. Why don't we talk about a little bit more about Emma Gonzalez and the other survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? Why don't we talk about how these young students who are trying to make a difference so no other individual has to go through what they went through.
Our generation might be all the things people want to call it, but if there's one thing we are not is silent. We write, we chant, we make art, and we advocate for what we are passionate about. Do we do it differently than previous generations? Yes, we do! We mobilize people through social media and we make our voices heard in a different way, but that doesn't make our process any less valid.
Emma Gonzalez has become one of the faces and advocates for gun control laws in our country and while she acknowledges that mental health is an issue, we also have other issues to address.
"We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife."
The only way tragedies like this one won't happen again is if we remember to advocate long-after the media stops talking about the shooting. Movements like the one the students are advocating such as March For Our Lives can be promising, but we need to be resilient and persistent when it comes to remembering that we are fighting not to bring back the ones we lost, but to prevent this from happening again.
This is why we are not only having vigils for all the students who lost their lives, but the survivors are actively participating in causing a change. A change in the way we vote, in the way we think, and in the way we approach issues in our country.
Be resilient. Be informed. Be brave.