Using Social Media as a Voice for Change

Alarmingly, America is once again carrying the weight of another mass shooting tragedy on its collective shoulders. We are left questioning — why did this happen? When will it happen next? When will it end? What will it take to stop it?

These questions are more than any one of us can answer, but the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting are doing their best to try. By taking to social media, students are voicing their disdain at the lack of action being taken to end such devastating mass shooting events. The Parkland, Florida, tragedy is the first such event after which tweets and other social media posts from victims themselves, and from other Douglas High School students who were caught in the midst of the shooting, were not only publicized, but went viral.

Most of the tweets were critical of President Donald Trump and his shifting of the blame from himself and government officials to the FBI and their supposed focus on Russia rather than on individuals such as Nikolas Cruz, the Douglas High shooter, who were on the FBI’s radar as possible threats. Further complicating the already difficult situation is the admission the FBI made that it did in fact overlook Cruz as a dangerous individual, though someone close to the 19-year-old had reported concerns about him.

Some of the tweets from Douglas High School students urged Trump to take responsibility for the actions of the FBI, while others did not place blame but were instead posted in support and solidarity.

Not only are these students taking to social to voice their opinions and feelings: they are taking to the streets. Students have planned to join together for a “March For Our Lives” in Washington, D.C. March 24 to send the message to lawmakers that they will not be silent until a solution to these mass shootings is found.

With social media presence of survivors at an all-time high, ignoring them and hoping they eventually fall silent seems to no longer be a viable alternative for lawmakers.

Maura Fenske is a senior public relations major and journalism minor, at Waynesburg University. She serves as Chapter President for the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America, and as an Account Specialist for Red Brick Communications. Maura hopes to combine her passion for public relations, writing and sports in her future career.


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