April 22, 2019 | 56° F

JAWED: People should continue to push for reform despite resistance

Opinions Column: If Not Our Own, Then Someone's


Alyssa Alhadeff. Scott Beigel. Martin Duque Anguiano. Nicholas Dworet. Aaron Feis. Jaime Guttenberg. Chris Hixon. Luke Hoyer. Cara Loughran. Gina Montalto. Joaquin Oliver. Alaina Petty. Meadow Pollack. Helena Ramsay. Alex Schachter. Carmen Schentrup. Peter Wang. 

These seventeen names deserve not to be just skimmed over and lumped together as the victims of the Florida shooting, and they most definitely deserve to not be politicized. It is truly a national tragedy that we are apparently not above using a tragic time like this to point fingers. Florida is not the first shooting, it is not our first wake up call and the need for reform goes beyond any Democrat or Republican debate. President Donald J. Trump's suggestion of possibly arming school teachers as the proposed defense for school shootings instead of implementing stricter gun control truly reflects our national tragic flaw of wanting to be right regardless of the consequences. 

There are so, so many things wrong with considering arming teachers as protection against school shooters but just consider this: is more guns really the solution to anything in this context? Instead of eliminating the threat of school shooters to the best of our ability, the president of this country seems to be more comfortable placing children in the middle of a shoot-off inside a school setting. Clearly, this is more about having the right to bear arms than the lives and safety of the same people the constitution was written to serve. 

One of the worst and most unfortunate things to come out of this politicization is this outrageous claim of "crisis actors" being hired by certain people to further specifically Democratic agenda. An idea proposed by conspiracy theorists and rapidly spread through social media, it was suggested that survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting were actually paid actors and not actually survivors of an extremely traumatizing event. Even worse than conspiracy theories like this is the lack of media literacy which allowed this claim to spread like wildfire. Then there is also the fact that Donald Trump Jr. liked tweets strongly suggesting his agreement with this theory. 

David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting and a senior at the high school has been one of the most attacked supposed "crisis actors" because someone found footage of him on a news story in California, as opposed to Florida where he went to school, inaccurately (as confirmed) accusing him of partaking in such a heinous act. The lack of ideological debate based on fact and the excess of propaganda are very likely the root causes of both political parties are out to get each other based off of whims and inconsiderate of what is truly at stake. 

Instead of supporting the people who have taken upon themselves to speak for those deprived of a voice, instead of adding momentum to this movement of demanding change, instead of trying to make sure that what happened never happens again, people ate up the "crisis actor" story. For all the steps forward any gun control reform movement took, these people took twice as many steps back each time a person fell for the conspiracy theory without following through with any concept of media literacy. We are the stone dragging ourselves down. 

Besides politicization in regards to political parties, the news headlines following the shooting were also subject to scrutiny, especially by the Muslim community. The headlines labeled the shooter mentally ill as compared to a terrorist, which is what would have more likely been the headline if it had been a Muslim shooter. Wording headlines suggestive of mental illness being the excuse for the shooting is unacceptable, but addressing mental illness in all acts of terrorism is important to address the larger problem of mental health. 

The crucial need for more attention to mental health is also highlighted in this shooting, just as it has been in previous school shootings. Just like gun control, this issue has also not been addressed with the attention it deserves. 

The only thing we have going for us is our persistence in the pursuit of crucial reforms, and it should not waver in the face of government resistance. 

Malaika Jawed is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year. Her column, "If Not Our Own, Then Someone's," runs on alternate Fridays. 


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Malaika Jawed

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