On Valentine’s Day 2018, Nikolas Cruz walked in to his old high school in Parkland, Florida and massacred 17 students, teachers, and adults. As with many cases of mass shootings in the U.S., many people were quick to send their “thoughts and prayers.” Republicans and their supported decried “politicizing” the issue—or in other words, bringing up gun reform and control in light of the 18th mass shooting in the U.S. for the year. Unsurprisingly, most politicians in South Florida are beholden to the National Rifle Association (NRA), receiving large sums of money from the association. Needless to say, despite the massacre hitting home, most South Florida representatives were in the “not politicizing” camp.

However, let me be very clear: the South Florida shooting did not have to happen. If Cruz—someone that has been reported to the FBI prior to the massacre—were subject to stricter background checks, 17 people would not be dead right now. No one would be injured right now. The U.S. has a gun problem and policy change is what is needed. If thoughts and prayers have not worked each time an incident like this happens—something else needs to happen. And that something else does not include having “more legal guns in schools” via arming teachers, because over half of these mass shootings are committed using LEGAL guns.


In South Florida, we need to hold our legislators and congressmen—like Marco Rubio who receive NRA funding, accountable. They are in the pockets of the NRA and exacerbate the mass shooting phenomenon— unique to the U.S.— by not acting on tougher and stricter gun laws. To make matters worse, less than one day after the Parkland massacre, politicians in Florida, were trying to vote to make gun laws in the state more relaxed. Because no one would agree to this, they tried to sneak it into an agricultural bill. This kind of behavior should not be tolerated— especially when people’s lives are on the line.

Although I can go on a rant about how Cruz was wrongfully linked to a white nationalist group that conducts paramilitary experiments, or to the fact that Cruz was a racist— none of that matters. What matters are those who died when they did not have to. What matters is recognizing the hurt and pain students (survivors), parents, and other loved ones—who had to prematurely bury someone– went through. What matters is recognizing that part of their mourning process, will include calls for stricter gun reforms, that should be adhered to. What matters is voting out politicians who will hear those cries, send thoughts and prayers, and do nothing because they’re beholden to the NRA.