Democracy Challenged: The government does not care about you

In the week since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., one thing should come to your mind immediately: the government does not care about your safety when it comes to gun control. While this idea is not new, nor will it ever become old, it is more apparent now than ever before.

Every mass shooting, we come to this same conclusion and go through the same cycle. We offer our thoughts and prayers, we are told not to politicize this tragedy, then nothing gets done. This must change, and in the days since the shooting it has, to a degree.

Students are now taking up the call for gun control, as they are sick of their friends and loved ones being gunned down and murdered with nothing being done about it in Washington. This time, the children are acting like leaders while our leaders are acting like the children.

Survivors of last week’s incidents, Cameron Kasky, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and others, have refused to remain silent after 17 of their classmates and teachers were killed. They have spoken on every major news network and have given speeches calling out Florida politicians for remaining more loyal to the NRA than to their fellow Americans.

Florida senator and outspoken Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has taken over $3.3 million in donations from the NRA himself. His response to this tragedy followed suit like every other NRA-bound Republican’s response: “It’s about the violence, not about the gun.”

These students have taken a stand like no others have in the past. They have been more forthright with their intentions than any politician, and their voices will be heard eventually. It is a sad day in America when children are more concerned with their fellow Americans than their elected officials are, yet it is also a promising one.

The future is bright in America, and these kids are just the beginning. However, our politicians fail to see it in any other light. This past Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Florida state house voted 36-71 against a motion to hear arguments for a bill banning assault rifles, ending the debate before it can even begin.

We can no longer rely on our current politicians to enact common-sense gun laws. We have given them every chance, but this has to be the last straw. The most important thing you, a member of the Lafayette community, can do is to register to vote and voice your opinion in the mid-term elections on Nov. 6. You can participate in the national walk out on March 14 to protest gun violence. You can participate in the student-run “March for Our Lives” protest in Washington, D.C., on March 24. But you have to do something—your voice matters more now than ever.

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