I marched in the March for Our lives on Saturday. It was quite moving, but as I was marching I was thinking there’s nothing controversial about not wanting mass shootings in schools, theaters, workplaces, and shopping malls. It’s tragic and absurd that we have to march against America as a war zone. It’s like taking a stand against terrorist attacks. Who’s for terrorist attacks? So, why do we have to march to oppose this shit? Because of our dysfunctional political system. We have let runaway greed ruin our country. And until we value lives over money, we will not heal.

The Columbine High School shootings were 19 years ago. Mass shootings should’ve stopped after Columbine. But instead the horror has spread, proliferated, and continues unabated. According to the Washington Post, 187,000 students have experienced a school shooting on campus. That’s nearly 200,000 people whose lives will never be the same. Thousands of schools across the country conduct active-shooter drills in which children hide in closets and bathrooms from imaginary shooters. They’re supposed to be focused on learning–not life and death.

How did we become a society that accepts that children need to be prepared for mass shooting incidents? The NRA has a stranglehold on our politicians who were elected to serve and protect. But instead, they’re protecting killing machines. Let me say that again: they’re safeguarding weapons of mass destruction instead of us. Is it because the NRA is a terrorist organization with the not-so-thinly-veiled threat that if you cross them, you’ll end up in their cross hairs? Or is it because our representatives prioritize profits over principles? Or both.

We’ve become accustomed to hearing newsflashes about mass shootings, the ensuing media frenzy, the why-did-he do-it-aftermath, the don’t-say-his-name attempts that never fly, images of the fallen, and hopes and prayers from the men who are hoping and praying that we don’t find out they are bought by the NRA.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

We don’t have to live in a world in which we are held hostage by guns–a machine that exists to kill living things–to stop a heartbeat. Imagine giving any other killing machine such freedom to terrorize.

The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in their grief, outrage, courage, and determination, clearly see the sickness in our society and are not going to tolerate it anymore. The silence heard around the world when Emma Gonzalez stopped talking forced us to look at ourselves. There were no words to distract as she stared at us through her pain, her eyes saying: you have failed us. When we don’t protect our children, that is when we know we’ve failed as a society. Young people are seizing control of the world we’ve made a mess of.

Some say if nothing changed after Sandy Hook, things will never change. But this time is different. Thank you, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students for being the change we need. The change we’ve needed for a long, long time.