It keeps happening. At the time of this writing, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are mourning the deaths of fourteen of their classmates and three faculty members, all of whom a nineteen-year-old is accused of shooting on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018, with a legally acquired semiautomatic AR-15 rifle. Stricken and angry, the students have begun to organize, holding rallies, marching on the Florida capitol in Tallahassee, and staying on message when talking to the media. They’re baldly calling for stricter gun regulations, and they’re specifically calling out the National Rifle Association (NRA), one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country and a generous benefactor to legislators who’ve opposed strengthening regulation.
In other words, little has changed since Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine was released in 2002. Made in the aftermath of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, where twelve students and one teacher were killed by classmates Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the film takes an expansive look at America’s obsession with guns and its impotency when it comes to dealing with gun-related violence. Whereas the massacre at Columbine captured the attention of the world to such an extent that a film released three years later still felt raw and vital, these kinds of shootings have since become horrifically commonplace. In a conservative estimate, the Washington Post recently determined that, beginning with the Columbine massacre, nearly two hundred thousand students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus. (It is wretchedly likely that this number will have increased by the time this essay goes to press.) In the United States, guns are fired at or near children attending school nine times per year.
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