It has been approximately nine months, or 270 days, since 17 lives were claimed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. According to ABC News, there have been 307 mass shootings in the United States since late October of 2018, indicating that on average, one act of gun violence has occurred each day since this tragedy. An Oct. 28 massacre left 11 dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue and yet another left 12 dead in a California bar on Nov. 8. These incidents show that gun violence since Parkland has not slowed down.
With the midterm elections coming to a close, many in both the Staples and Westport community rallied to get people to the polls in hope of solving the issue of gun violence. Ever since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, Westport Representative Jonathan Steinberg has become a proponent of gun reform in office.
“I've attended several March for Our Lives rallies, including the one staged by Staples students at the Veterans Green,” Steinberg said. “I plan to push again for a ban on ghost guns and seek ways to make homes more gun safe because so many gun deaths occur from accidents or suicides in the home.”
Many in the Staples community have also refused to stay silent about gun violence in the midst of election season. Addie Hogue ’19 has also been an active supporter of gun control and the #NeverAgain movement that took social media by storm following the Parkland shooting.
“Our democracy is about making everybody’s voices heard,” Hogue said. “There were several opinions formed after the Parkland shooting, and the opinions started getting stronger and stronger as more and more shootings occurred after.”
Hogue emphasized the importance of young people making their voices heard, specifically through exercising their right to vote, in achieving progress in dropping mass shooting numbers. On the days leading up to the midterm election, she took to Instagram and encouraged her peers to get to the polls.
“Every single voice needs to be used in order to make significant change, and that’s why this election was so important,” Hogue said. “America has a terrible history with unacceptably low voter turnout, and quite frankly, it’s embarrassing for the whole country.”
Cat Graham ’19 is another Staples student who has expressed her desire for further gun control in America. Like Hogue, she utilized social media on the days leading up to and day of midterm elections to inspire others to vote.
“My generation has witnessed headline after headline that says that another school became the site for a mass shooting, or another black person was shot in their home or a place of worship was no longer safe,” Graham said. “When there is a fear that places we once deemed safe have become places where we worry whether or not today will be our last day alive, something has to change.”
Though a tragedy as notable as the massacre at Parkland shook the nation to its core, the continuous number of mass shootings that have occurred in America since that day haven’t reflected progress Despite these statistics, several members of the Westport and Staples community have made it a priority, especially during election season, to demonstrate that their voices have the potential to shape their desired change.
“I respect every individual’s opinion, and believe that every vote, no matter which candidate it is for, is so important because those votes represent people’s voices,” Hogue said. “I believe we have been successful in increasing participation in our democracy, but only the statistics can show how much of an effect this movement has had on the 2018 election.”
At a Glance: Mass Shootings since Parkland
*According to the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting is described as four or more individuals being shot or killed in the same general time and location.
February 26: Detroit (5 killed)
3 people were shot to death at a gas station and another was found dead nearby. The suspect later died of a self-inflicted gunshot.
April 8: Miami (2 killed, 2 injured)
A 10th grader and former students at Miami Northwestern Senior High School were killed in a Liberty City alleyway. Another former and current student were injured in the incident.
April 18: Asheville, North Carolina (4 killed, 3 injured)
North Carolina resident Erica Nichelle Smith was killed along with two of her six children when a gunman opened fire in her home. The suspect was found dead due to a self-inflicted gunshot.
May 16: Ponder, Texas (5 killed, 1 injured)
A man shot his ex-wife, her three children and her boyfriend before turning the gun on himself.
May 18: Santa Fe, Texas (10 killed, 13 injured)
Ten people were killed and many others were injured during a school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.
June 10: Orlando, Florida (5 killed, 1 injured)
Four children were killed after their mother called 911 on the night of June 10 to report a domestic violence incident.
June 28: Annapolis, Maryland (5 killed)
5 Capital Gazette employees were killed in their newsroom a man who had made violent threats against the paper for years entered and open fired.
July 9: Wilmington, Delaware (5 killed)
Delaware law enforcement called to investigate a residence in Wilmington discovered five individuals dead of gunshot wounds — a man and woman in their 40s and three children, all under the age of 8. Police are still investigating the incident and did not immediately announce whether or not the victims were related.
July 27: Robstown, Texas (5 killed)
5 were killed in an apparent murder-suicide at a nursing home and neighboring residential area in Texas.
August 26: Jacksonville, Florida (3 killed)
2 gamers were killed during a live stream of the Madden NFL Championship in Florida. The shooter then turned the gun on himself.
September 6: Cincinnati (4 killed, 2 wounded)
4 people, including the gunman, were killed in Cincinnati, close to Fountain Square. At least two others were wounded at the scene.
October 28: Pittsburgh (11 killed, 6 wounded)
11 people were killed and six others were wounded after a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
November 8: California (12 dead, at least a dozen injured)
12 were shot and killed in a California country music bar and at least a dozen more were injured. Among those at the bar were several who had survived the Las Vegas massacre that occurred last October and killed 58. The gunman was found dead at the scene.