Written by Lim Jin Jie

“Never again!”

Chanted the youth supporters in one of the largest youth demonstrations in the US to date, numbering an estimated 800,000 (Singapore’s youths number to about 1 million – imagine that!) at the main event in Washington D.C. The protest, held on 24 March, was accompanied by another 800 sibling events not just all over the US, but also overseas in London, Paris, Tokyo, Geneva, and other cities. This protest was sparked by the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida just barely a month ago.

“Six minutes, twenty seconds.”

That was how long Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Florida mass shooting, stood at the podium without speaking. She then noted that this was the exact time the gunman took to kill her classmates. This was one of many emotional speeches made by the youths, some of whom are as young as 11, at the rally. Most of them were survivors of the shooting.

The protestors want Congress to enforce meaningful legislative changes to break the deadlock. These include tightening background checks, and banning the sale of assault weapons (like the one used at the Florida mass shooting).

Yet, it would take a lot for the Congress to move into action. (Case in point, the Sandy Hook mass shooting was in 2012, and things have not really changed since then, have they?) This does not mean that protesters should give up – some state assemblies and city governments have already changed gun laws, and the strong support from famous figures (like Paul McCartney and Barack Obama) and the heavy media coverage suggests that Congress probably has to at least listen. (Bear in mind, the US mid-term congressional elections are due this year.)

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