| 03.20.2018

Speak up, speak out

The latest mass shooting in Florida shows the young, student voice should be the leading voice in the gun control debate


Our current editorial staff has been producing editorials for just half a year now. This editorial will become our third piece on gun violence and our fifth piece on safety when gun violence is present.

Something is wrong, and students of all ages are taking notice.

In September, we wrote on a school shooting at Freeman High School in Spokane. One student was killed and three others were hospitalized after a classmate brought a rifle and handgun to school one Wednesday morning, according to The Spokesman-Review.

In October, we wrote on the mass shooting at an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas. That Sunday evening saw 58 deaths and 515 injuries after a shooter fired down on the crowd with an assault rifle from a nearby hotel, according to National Public Radio.

Now, we write on the latest shooting in a series of all-too-common events.

Just two weeks ago, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz killed 17 people, according to the latest CNN report.

This shooting is being called the third worst school shooting in American history.

Yesterday, nearly 3,000 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students returned to class, hoping to gain back some semblance of normalcy. They were met with swarms of security officers, cameras and plenty of questions.

At a press conference, one student said, “My innocence, our innocence has been taken from us. Because of the systematic failure of our government — on every level — people are dying every day.”

Another student commented on the lack of response from lawmakers to the student plea for change.

“… That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works,” the student said.

The dust has settled. Students are no longer just scared. They are angry.

It is not just the group of outspoken students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School making waves in the current, ongoing gun debate. The Idaho Statesman reports many high school students in the Boise area are lobbying our legislators to begin accommodating the student voice.

Throughout the month of March, high schools around the nation are planning student body walkouts in memory of the students lost Feb. 14, encouraging lawmakers to take action. Some of these walkouts will last for 17 minutes, while others will last for the day. High schoolers are not the only people participating.

University of Idaho students will host a 17-minute walkout March 7 at UI. According to the Facebook event page, participants will walk out of class at noon and meet with students outside their classroom to memorialize the 17 students killed in Florida.

The young voices in this ongoing debate have the ability to make change — the kind of change our demographic wants to see.

Students looking to get involved should seek out their local lawmakers at the city, state and national levels.

We should explore the possibilities surrounding gun control and gun rights. We should educate ourselves with the correct information. We should promote the change we feel the country needs. We, as a group of young, influential voters, citizens and humans, must make our voices heard in any capacity possible.

Because of young voices, and these courageous students, our staff is given hope in writing these editorials. Until lawmakers begin to hear the student voice, this Argonaut editorial will not be the last of its kind.

— HS

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