Enough is Enough
Every year, numerous school shootings appear on the news causing a mix of emotions such as pain, grief, shock, and the desire for stricter gun laws.
On February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 17 people were killed while a few others were wounded. The 19-year-old shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was arrested and is currently in custody. Cruz had been reported by friends and family members for his violent behavior on social media and for possession of a gun but authorities did not take further action.
PBA senior Lisa Foo shared her class’s reaction upon hearing the news of the shooting.
“It made us realize that these people are our age and it could be any one of us at any time,” she said. “So we really learned not to take our lives for granted and that gun violence is a really serious issue that has to be stopped.”
One month after the shooting took place, schools across the nation participated in a 17-minute walk out to memorialize those who lost their lives and to demand stricter gun laws.
Some schools registered with EMPOWER, which is the youth branch of the Women’s March which provided tool kits for local student organizers. Over 2000 walkouts were registered with schools as far away as Ireland, Israel, and Mexico on the list.
Although PBA didn’t register, the seniors decided that the school should participate in this walk out and it was a student-planned event.
On March 14, 2018, students and faculty members of PBA went outside to give their respect. The event started off with senior Sheera Tamura ringing the Kanshyo bell 17 times for each life lost.
The ringing was followed by an oli that was chanted by a group of students and there was a moment of silence after. Later, the students planted sunflower seeds in pots that had each victim’s name written on it.
The seniors chose to include the planting of sunflowers since each seed represented not only the victims but their family as well.
“It’s a symbol of growth, you’re creating something new,” Foo said. “Even though they’re gone at such a young age, something beautiful is being created.”
After the event took place, students at PBA are continuing to stand up for their beliefs of improved gun laws.
Senior Aya Ikeda believes that those who are able to purchase a gun should have an annual mental health check and should be educated about their added responsibility before being able to purchase a gun.
“Gun owners should know and understand how important it is to keep their guns safe,” she said.
Foo believes that the problem with gun violence in the United States is closely tied to the low age limit of 18, which makes school shootings common.
“These weapons of destruction and death are so easily accessible especially by people our age,” she said.
PBA students are joining the fight for stricter gun laws by spreading awareness while nurturing the school’s mission of peace.
“Gun violence itself is the opposite of peace,” Foo said.