Op-Ed: Prayers Aren’t Working.


Onlookers after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Sam Bisno, Editor-in-Chief

Just for a moment, imagine. Put down whatever you’re doing, clear your head of all distractions, all worries, and just imagine. Imagine that you are a student – that part probably isn’t too difficult. Now imagine that you’re in school – also not too tall of a task. It’s just like any other day. Maybe you’re in math class. Maybe it’s lunch. You’re thinking about what you’re going to do after school, whether you’ll get Chipotle or pizza. You feel comfortable. You feel safe.

Now imagine that all of a sudden a man walks in with an AR-15 and murders 14 of your peers. Maybe you knew them. Maybe they were your best friends. Maybe you were one of them.

Maybe you had always picked on them, and you kept telling yourself that you were going to apologize, to make it up to them, but now it’s too late. They’re dead. Their parents just received a phone call at work – something terrible has happened. In a matter of minutes, 17 families – because three teachers were also killed – have lost a son or a daughter. These families were going to see a movie together this weekend, and now they have to arrange a funeral service.

At this point, it’s clear that more could have been done to prevent the Florida shooting. Police had received at least 20 warning calls regarding the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, prior to the incident. He had commented on a YouTube video in 2017 blatantly stating his intentions. The signs were all there. I’m not saying that the situation couldn’t have been avoided.

What I am saying is that this is the eighth school shooting this year. It’s February. How many more is it going to take before we do something to stop the trend? How many bodies? How many families? 50? 100?

People do not need assault rifles. No one needs to be able to fire 400 rounds per minute to protect themselves from the intruder trying to steal their T.V. That’s not opinion. That’s fact. Say what you will about pistols, responsibility, your Second Amendment rights, whatever. That’s a discussion for another day. But don’t tell me that any normal human being needs an AR-15.

I am a student. I get on the bus every morning and sit in class for seven hours under the assumption that I will not end up with a bullet in my head. That is not an unreasonable demand. That should not have been an unreasonable demand for those 14 kids, either. And the same principle applies to their mentors.

And yet nothing changes. There were more mass shootings than days in the year last year, and yet the same conservatives in Congress refuse to acknowledge reality. Words aren’t helping. Facts aren’t helping. It’s time to take action.

On March 14, the #Enough walkout will take place. Organized by the same warriors who authored the Women’s March, the occasion is intended for students and teachers to stand in solidarity and send a message to our elected officials that we won’t quit until we secure substantial gun reform.

Ten days later, on March 24, is the March For Our Lives, where the faculty and attendees of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the site of the shooting, will storm Washington to face lawmakers and push for change. Once again, students are encouraged to walk out in support.

Finally, the National Day of Action Against Gun Violence is slated for April 20, with a similar tenet: cause disruption enough to show once and for all that we’re not just going to sit idly by and take it.

At the top of this rant, I asked you to imagine. My friends, the time for imagining is over. Now is the time for doing. I implore you to participate in at least one, if not all, of these demonstrations. If you’re skeptical, simply ponder these historic events. The Vietnam War protests. The anti-apartheid rallies in South Africa. Tiananmen Square. What do all of these have in common? Each involved some form of student intervention – the youth of the nation banding together and rising up to let those in power know that they will hear our voices.

This is your chance to make a difference, to be a part of history. Vow to join the resistance and fight back until they have no choice but to bow to our will. Tell your friends and relatives. Let Wednesday be the last day that we ever have to read headlines about a school shooting via assault rifle.

We owe it to those 17 victims, and to the countless other victims that have lost their lives as a result of the obstinacy and indolence of our representatives and of our country as a whole.

We can’t let them die in vain.