Editorial: Never again

February 27, 2018
Jonathan Teghtmeyer, ATA News Editor-in-Chief

Here we find ourselves again, standing in the aftermath of yet another tragic mass school shooting.

The cycle begins again: mass shooting; thoughts and prayers; gun control? – too soon!; arm teachers? – what?!?!; grieving; funerals; rhetoric; inaction; time passes; faded memories; more time; mass shooting. Repeat.

There was hope Sandy Hook would change things. A sympathetic president; the right words; apparent resolve.
Alas, nothing is more untouchable in American politics than gun control. No one will take on the NRA’s deep pockets and powerful lobby. If the gut-wrenching killing of 20 innocent six- and seven-year olds did not change things, nothing would.

Time passes. Repeat.

Now there is a new glimmer of hope. This batch of survivors is using their powerful voices to say “never again.” My words cannot compare to theirs:

“I was in a closet locked for four hours with people I would consider almost family crying and weeping on me, begging for their lives. I understand what it’s like to text my parents goodbye, that I might not ever, ever get to see you again and say ‘I love you.’ I understand what it’s like to fear for your life.”
Alfonso Calderon, junior

“I lost a best friend. Was practically a brother. And I’m here to use my voice because I know he can’t. And I know he’s with me, cheering me on to be strong, but it’s hard. And to feel like this, it doesn’t even feel like a week. Time has stood still. I can’t feel comfortable in my country knowing that people have, will have, are ever going to feel like this. I want to feel safe at school.”
Samuel Zeif, senior

“This happens over and over again and people are dying. And it seems like it doesn’t matter because, like, what are thoughts and prayers going to do when people are already dead?”
Carly Novell, senior

“I’m not trying to take everybody’s guns away, but there was a 19-year-old who legally bought an AR-15, which is a weapon of war, and if he had been through the least bit of screening, somebody would have said, ‘This person does not need a weapon like that.’”
Cameron Kasky, junior

“I am here to demand change from my government. To let these victims’ lives be taken without any change in return is an act of treason to our great country. To let our fellow countrymen fall beside us without fighting back is to me equal to leaving a soldier to die in the battlefield.”
Lorenzo Prada, junior

“We cannot protect our guns before we protect our children.”
Florence Yared, junior

“They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call B.S. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call B.S. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call B.S. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call B.S. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call B.S.”
Emma Gonzalez, senior

“We’ve had enough of thoughts and prayers...To every lawmaker out there: No longer can you take money from the NRA. No longer can you fly under the radar doing whatever it is that you want to do ... We are coming after every single one of you and demanding that you take action.”
Delaney Tarr, senior

“This is not just another mass shooting. No shooting is just another mass shooting. This needs to be a turning point… Ideas without action remain ideas, and when that happens, children die.”
David Hogg, senior

“My classmates and I are probably the most determined group of people you will ever meet. People are talking about how we aren’t serious because we’re children, but... we’re serious.”
Sofie Whitney, senior

“We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because… we are going to be the last mass shooting.”
Emma Gonzalez, senior

I welcome your comments—contact me at jonathan.teghtmeyer@ata.ab.ca.