Dana Pope

By Dana Pope

We The People

150 150 Dana Pope

On February 14th 2017, a massacre occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A former student, armed with an AR-15 rifle walked through the halls on a shooting spree. Seventeen students and teachers were killed and fourteen others were injured. The assailant, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, purchased the rifle himself. This particular rifle, the AR-15, has been involved in several mass shootings. You might recognize some of these recent occurrences: Aurora, Colorado; Santa Monica and San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida and now Parkland.

The children have gone back to school, but understandably, with some trepidation. They have anxiety just being at school, dread fire drills, along with remembering the scene no child should have to see especially in a place that should be safe. Think back to when you attended school. Did anything like this even cross your mind? It’s unthinkable. Yet, since 2013 there has been an average of one school incident a week in the United States confirms USA Today.

Depending on how you define school shootings, there have already been 18 this year. How are our lawmakers handling this fact? They are arguing over how to define “school shootings,” states The Atlantic.

Luckily, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are speaking out. Recently the children met with President Donald Trump and with lawmakers in the Senate and the House. Their message was one of the horrors they experienced and the strength of demanding something be done.  They are confronting our leaders and holding them accountable for change.

Watching these kids from Florida describe what they went through and how they don’t feel safe in school is heartbreaking. Yet these events happen weekly. Where is the government in all this. Why haven’t things changed? We know there have been discussions in both houses and bills brought forth. These bills have experienced trouble getting passed. One reason is the tacking on of other issues that democrats or republicans want to be passed. They hope they can slide their issue in while the gun violence topic needs to be addressed now.

Another reason nothing gets accomplished is re-elections. This is an election year, so senators and congressmen don’t want to do anything to upset their chance of being appointed. Their focus in on themselves and how to keep or win the seat they want. Basically, they are working for themselves, not working for us.

Senators and congressmen are busy not only with their elections, but with keeping the powerful happy. The NRA is a powerful lobby that no one wants to upset and that gun group is against any changes to the existing laws. Who are the lawmakers working for? Not us.

Let’s take a look at what’s really going on. The recent State of the Union gives us our answer. One of the pictures taken of the house floor this year shows half the house standing in agreement and the other half seated. This not a President Trump thing. When you look at pictures of President Obama’s State of the Union you see the exact same thing except the sides of the room has switched. Our lawmakers are fighting with each other. How can anything get accomplished when the democrats and the republicans don’t work together? Our system is broken and We the People need to stand up.

The job falls to us. We are to hold our senators, congressmen, judges, city and state officials accountable. We are charged with this task by The Declaration of Independence. It states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [unalienable Rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

When our leaders fall away we are to speak out. Not in the shameful way the media does about our President. Instead, we require our leaders to succumb to the design our country was founded on. This is found in The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. We the People send the message to our lawmakers; adhere to the rules or you will be removed.

Our government is fractured and needs to be rectified. That means getting rid of those senators and congressmen who are not working for us. There are many leaders in office who have lost the reality of what the people want. They represent their own interests. We must cut them loose.

Our message is clear. No longer do we accept the shut-down of our houses. We don’t tolerate stall tactics; we demand action. We demand that you work while you are in the office we put you in. No longer will we pay the price of your lack of work or your own agendas.

This is an election year and it’s time to clean house. Put term limits in place. You serve two terms and then you are done. For those currently in office, when your second term is up you can’t run again, period. This can be pushed through the Senate and the House of Representatives if we push our leaders to get it done.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was named after a woman who was an environmental activist and journalist. She encouraged people to be a “nuisance” and “never give up” even when politics stand in the way. The students are doing just that. It’s our time to join them while they have the ears of our leaders. We must correct our country now.


“You have to stand up for some things in this world.”

-Marjory Stoneman Douglas

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