The Parkland, Florida school shooting was a tragedy that shook the nation five years ago. As we approach the fifth anniversary of this terrible event, it is clear that the tragedy was one of many examples of failed gun control policies. President Joe Biden recently used this opportunity to push for more gun control measures, and while his intentions may have been well-intended, organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety have been pushing gun control policies for years without any real improvement or change in gun violence.
As the father of one of the victims in the Parkland shooting, Ryan Petty has been vocal in criticizing those who use his daughter’s death as a political tool. In his recent Twitter post, he explicitly called out President Biden’s attempt to politicize the tragedy and questioned whether more gun-control laws would actually solve anything. While these sentiments are understandable and commendable, it does not address the larger issue at hand – that government has failed to adequately address gun violence through policy reforms and regulations.
Perhaps one of the most notable failures concerning this particular event is how Broward County School District’s policies for student discipline allowed Nikolas Cruz to stay in school despite numerous red flags associated with him. Their emphasis on avoiding involving law enforcement in criminal behavior was found to be an egregious misstep in allowing the gunman to remain free even after warnings from FBI officials were sent out. This appalling failure resulted in Justice Department paying out $127 million dollars as compensation without admitting fault towards them—a staggering figure that speaks volumes about how seriously governments take their responsibilities with regard to protecting citizens from potential threats such as Cruz.
It is clear that politicians like President Biden speak glowingly about their proposals for stricter gun-control measures but fail when it comes time for implementation and enforcement. We cannot allow tragedies such as Parkland to become political tools used by either party; rather we must work together if we wish to create meaningful solutions that will protect our children from senseless acts of violence like this one. It is easy enough to propose sweeping changes through legislation, but what is needed instead is hard work into making sure that all aspects of policy creation are thoughtfully considered before being implemented into action.
We can honor those lost at Parkland by ensuring that nothing similar ever happens again – and this begins with holding our public officials accountable and demanding excellence when it comes time for them to put forth solutions regarding gun control laws and regulations. We owe it both to those who perished five years ago and to future generations who should never have to experience what they did on February 14th, 2018.