Editorial: We won’t forget Parkland. We can’t — not again.



People walk among a makeshift memorial outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and faculty were killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday, in Parkland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Photo credit: Associated Press

If you’re reading this, you’re a sitting duck.

That’s the reality of the world we’re being told we live in now, where mass shootings are now a part of American life.

That’s why Loyola’s offering an “Active Shooter Awareness” training session next Thursday in Miller 114.

And that’s only one of the steps being taken in many communities across the United States after the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

Politicians are talking of arming teachers and adding metal detectors at school entrances. “Stop the bleed” classes are being offered to teach people how to patch up their or another’s wounds after surviving a massacre.

These are the actual solutions those in power are looking at, that would essentially turn schools into prisons.

Do they make you feel safer?

Any rational person would answer “no.”

We should not have to adjust our way of life and accept that at any time we’re at risk of an unstable person, or person with evil intentions, randomly murdering us.

We should not be asking our teachers to be security guards and first responders and then spend money arming them when they are not even afforded up-to-date textbooks.

We should not be forming committees to try to investigate an issue that’s staring us in the face.

It’s too easy to buy a gun in the United States. Plain and simple.

And yet will politicians — particularly NRA-backed Republicans — acknowledge this, as they haven’t for so many other mass shootings?

The answer we should prepare for is the same as it’s always been — no. In fact, it’s an answer Parkland survivors have already heard. They watched from the gallery as their Florida legislators rejected to discuss an assault weapons ban just days after the shooting.

But we can’t accept that this time. Not again.

There’s a national call for a class walkout on April 20 — the 19th anniversary of the Columbine Massacre — and all students, as well as educators, should participate.

And as with any issue, you should contact your legislators. Call them, email them, smoke signal them — whichever way works best, let them know they need to enact stricter gun control.

But while we say that with any issue, it never seems to do much good. This time, though, we have something more.

That’s because this November, every seat in the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate will be up for election. We should demand to our representatives that if no action is taken before then, they will be voted out of office and replaced with someone who can make the obvious move to keep us safe.

This needs to be a make-or-break issue this fall.

If we are being threatened and someone is unwilling to take the appropriate action to mitigate that threat, then they have no business being anywhere near elected office.

It’s time to do something. This cannot be a new normal.

Nineteen years ago, the nation was shocked when the Columbine Massacre occurred. So much so that simply saying “Columbine” is met with the thought of that school shooting for many people.

The nation was shocked again with the Virginia Tech Massacre in 2007, then again with Sandy Hook in 2012, then again with the Pulse nightclub in 2016, then again with the Las Vegas shooting in 2017 — almost each time with a bigger death toll and a little less name recognition.

And let’s not forget the Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting last year, the Washington Navy Yard shooting in 2013 or the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting in 2012. They can seem to get lost in the weeds even though 52 people lost their lives in those.

So how will the Stoneham Douglas High School shooting, which had a higher death toll than Columbine, be remembered?

Will it be the one that finally sparked change? Or will it be like the others — another entry on the list, to be forgotten when the next big story hits the news cycle?

We owe it to the victims to not forget, just as we owe it to the victims of the shootings that came before and to everyone who has died because of someone who had access to a gun that shouldn’t have.

The violence must end now.