By Abdirahim Mah
Mass shootings are plaguing America, and lawmakers are bystanders.
In Sandy Hook, 20 deaths. No gun reform.
In Las Vegas, 59 deaths. No gun reform.
In Orlando, 50 deaths. No gun reform.
Every time there is a mass shooting there is outcry and it fades away.
The public has learned there is no response to their outcry. This has resulted in learned helplessness: the need to make changes but not take any action. They feel powerless, deprived of energy and sometimes ruthless.
Victims want to abolish guns after any mass shooting but rather thoughts and prayers are sent out. There is no sense of hope and cynicism has taken over the American soul. A natural tendency to believe that people are driven by self-interest, rather facing problematic issues.
The people are exhausted.
And now the Parkland School shooting, 17 deaths.
So what’s next?
Change is on the horizon and more importantly, gun control is knocking on our doorsteps.
Everything is different this time in the never-changing argument about guns in the United States. This time, students voices were heard in the mainstream media.
This time students are more active. They have organized a nationwide march and walkouts to protest the accessibility of guns. Students in Stoneman Douglas High School are keeping guns at the center of the discussion in America. Where as in the past, the NRA (National Rifle Association) diverted to video games, Hollywood and security.
This time there are tears for change rather than tears for loss. The narrative is shifting from thought and prayers to demanding legislative action that has been a major issue in the United States for decades.
Teen involvement is nothing new. Teens led the anti-Vietnam war protests. We were the ones who stopped tanks in Tiananmen Square. We were the ones who led the Hong Kong pro-democracy protest. We were the ones who led demonstrations in Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution.
The youth have been educated to articulate their point seamlessly. They have been taught to become well-rounded citizens and active members of society and now that just spoke for itself. So when they see the NRA and politicians harming their country, of course, they’re going to speak out against it.
Teenagers have a tremendous advantage because learned helplessness is something that happens over time. Unlike adults who have seen gun violence their whole lives, students look at this as something very absurd.
Progress has been made in the never ending discussion about gun control as we finally see some actions being taken. Companies are extracting there deals with the NRA. According to the New York Times, major companies such as United, Delta, Metlife, and Hertz are cutting ties with the NRA.
With progress and change comes legislations.
And this is exactly what happened. Not for the first time teenagers were heard. Just recently the Florida passed a gun control legislation with an increase of age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. Furthermore, “it also includes funding for local sheriffs to train school staff to carry concealed weapons.”
So may I ask: Did anyone expect this? Did anyone see a bunch of teenagers who were eating Tide Pods last week get their seat on the table on the topic of guns? The government just really doesn’t know who we are, but hold on to your seats.
Because you’re about to find out.
- “Florida Passes Gun-Control Laws.” NPR, NPR, 10 Mar. 2018,
- Witt, Emily. “Calling B.S. in Parkland, Florida.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. Fortin, Jacey.
- “A List of the Companies Cutting Ties With the N.R.A.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Feb. 2018