Survivors mobilize on social media and in person after Florida shooting.
Survivors mobilize on social media and in person after Florida shooting. | Photo Illustration by Thecla Li / THE CHIMES
In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, high school students across the country are utilizing social media to promote stricter gun laws. Students recapped their experiences during the shooting on Twitter, prompting users to protest on the platform.
By the second month of this year, there have been eight school shootings, according to CNN. The FBI admitted that they did not address concerns reported to them about the Florida high school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, according to CNN. However, a security guard at El Camino High School in Whittier, California allegedly countered a shooting after he heard a student’s threats, according to CBS.
Hashtags for advocacy
With the hashtags #NeverAgain and #Enough, users have enlisted more support for anti-gun protests. Teachers and students plan to stage nationwide walkouts, marches and protests, with survivors participating as well.
Freshman philosophy major Gavin Susantio believes personal testimonials add significance to the movement.
“It can be impactful if it has a story,” Susantio said. “Most people get impacted more by stories than they are with arguments. They get affected by visuals more than they get impacted by reading.”
In the digital age, usage of social media has multiplied. Susantio believes social media has held increasing significance for millennials, having become a necessity for people as the center of news and entertainment.
“Social media is something that influences your beliefs and values,” Susantio said. “It can shape cultures. Just as it can shape fashion trends, it can shape mindsets as well.”
Arguments of conspiracy theories emerge
The conversation on social media has grown as users have observed the political importance of the platform. Some users have offered suspicions and conspiracy theories, claiming that interviews of victims are truly actors hired by Democrats and Liberals who are anti-Trump.
Junior business administration major Wilson Cao argues that although social media propels the enlargement of movements, it can also hinder progress with arguments that may occur online.
“I feel like social media can take things two ways—there [are] people who are really for things and there [are] people who are really against it, so it’s harder to take a stand on it,” Cao said.
Despite that, social media has proven to be a source for high school students to express their pain and provide an impetus for the larger gun control movement, according to junior journalism major Russell Spacy.
“I think social media gives a platform to people who normally wouldn’t be able to get their voice heard,” Spacy said. “The only reason that this is getting as much attraction as it is, is because these high schoolers have a place where they can call on adults to be proactive.”