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DW: Teenagers against guns

18/10/2019

 

A man running amok in Florida took just six minutes to kill 17 people. Nationwide protests in the wake of the Parkland massacre called for tougher firearms laws. The killer had acquired the assault rifle he used in the killings legally.

The murder of 14 children and three teachers in Parkland, Florida in 2018 shocked the United States. A former student entered his old high school and opened fire with an assault rifle – one he bought legally. But instead of silently mourning, the town’s young people took a stand. Sick of the politicians’ empty promises, they organized the biggest demonstrations against armed violence since the protests against the Vietnam War.

Using Twitter accounts, the teenagers brought millions of people onto the streets in over 700 cities in the USA. They all shared one goal: stricter weapons laws and a ban on the ownership of assault rifles by private individuals. But as the young activists continued to mobilize, the arms industry was fighting back. The gun lobby said the weapons themselves were not the danger, the shooters who used them were. To prevent further massacres, they said that teachers should be armed – an idea President Trump himself supported. It pitted the teenagers against the powers-that-be. Their motto was: “If politicians don’t solve the problems, we’ll replace them,” and they set out to motivate young people aged between 18 and 29 to vote. And not only because of the shooting sprees: Of the more than 35,000 deaths per year caused by gun violence in the USA, only about one percent are down to mass shootings – most of them are the result of suicide or homicide. This documentary also looks at Chicago, the city with the highest number of victims of gun violence in the USA. We take a journey to a country where the younger generation is no longer willing to watch siblings and friends get killed.

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