The “kids” that survived the Florida massacre are standing up to the “adults” of America and the strength of the movement is just getting started, with its focus firmly on the NRA and those politicians who are funded by them.
17 of their classmates and teachers died in the mass shooting at a South Florida High School last week. And this morning the surviving students are using their grief to show their anger to politicians that are supported by significant donations from the National Rifle Association. The survivors are strong in their resolve to stand up and make this the last school shooting in American history and say they don’t need the people in office to drive change, insisting their solidarity can move an agenda that decades of politicians could not until now and that those who oppose them will be shamed.
“My message for the people in office is: you’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” said Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“In the next election we are saying that if you are accepting money from the NRA there is a badge of shame on you, because you are enabling things like this to happen,” Kasky said on Fox News Sunday.
— #NeverAgain (@NeverAgainMSD) February 18, 2018
“My message for the people in office is: you’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” says Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS who survived the shooting https://t.co/7jSICvoB38 https://t.co/r8RceZVfVu
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 18, 2018
On Sunday, five of the surviving students from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School appeared on morning shows on ABC America, CNN, and Fox demanding that action be taken by “adults”. The survivors will lead a nationwide march that will call for action on Gun Control on March 24 and will push for politicians who take donations to be held accountable.
Their cries over the weekend were emotive and went heavily viral across social media and media alike. One junior at the school appeared on ABC’s program This Week with four other students saying, “We’re going to be marching together as students, begging for our lives.”
“People are saying that it’s not time to talk about gun control, and we can respect that. Here’s a time. March 24th in every single city,” he said.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was the 18th school shooting in the United States this year so far.
On Saturday, students gathered in Fort Lauderdale and spoke emotionally about why it is time to change gun laws.
One of the high school’s seniors, Emma Gonzales, a survivor who comforted her friends as ambulances arrived, promised this week’s shooting would be the last mass shooting in America. A transcript of her emotive speech is below.
Famously, in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre, Australia’s largest shooting, our politicians united to pass unprecedented gun laws. But the Australian political system is not the hunting ground for the gun lobby so its shift is nowhere near as significant as a sentiment shift in the United States, a country that has been funded enormously by gun lobbyists.
“We haven’t already had a moment of silence in the House of Representatives, so I would like to have another one. Thank you.
Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the Founding Fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed but our laws have not.
We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. In Florida, to buy a gun you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it you do not need to register it. You do not need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun. You can buy as many guns as you want at one time.
I read something very powerful to me today. It was from the point of view of a teacher. And I quote: When adults tell me I have the right to own a gun, all I can hear is my right to own a gun outweighs your student’s right to live. All I hear is mine, mine, mine, mine.
Instead of worrying about our AP Gov chapter 16 test, we have to be studying our notes to make sure that our arguments based on politics and political history are watertight. The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives. AP Gov had about three debates this year. Some discussions on the subject even occurred during the shooting while students were hiding in the closets. The people involved right now, those who were there, those posting, those tweeting, those doing interviews and talking to people, are being listened to for what feels like the very first time on this topic that has come up over 1,000 times in the past four years alone.
I found out today there’s a website shootingtracker.com. Nothing in the title suggests that it is exclusively tracking the USA’s shootings and yet does it need to address that? Because Australia had one mass shooting in 1999 in Port Arthur (and after the) massacre introduced gun safety, and it hasn’t had one since. Japan has never had a mass shooting. Canada has had three and the UK had one and they both introduced gun control and yet here we are, with websites dedicated to reporting these tragedies so that they can be formulated into statistics for your convenience.
I watched an interview this morning and noticed that one of the questions was, do you think your children will have to go through other school shooter drills? And our response is that our neighbors will not have to go through other school shooter drills. When we’ve had our say with the government — and maybe the adults have gotten used to saying ‘it is what it is,’ but if us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail. And in this case if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it’s time to start doing something.
We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because, just as David said, we are going to be the last mass shooting. Just like Tinker v. Des Moines, we are going to change the law. That’s going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook and it’s going to be due to the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most of all the students. The students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the student now suffering PTSD, the students who had panic attacks during the vigil because the helicopters would not leave us alone, hovering over the school for 24 hours a day.
There is one tweet I would like to call attention to. So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities again and again. We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn’t know this kid. OK, we did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife.
And how about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the student’s fault, the fault of the people who let him buy the guns in the first place, those at the gun shows, the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic, the people who didn’t take them away from him when they knew he expressed homicidal tendencies, and I am not talking about the FBI. I’m talking about the people he lived with. I’m talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.
If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.
You want to know something? It doesn’t matter because I already know. Thirty million dollars. And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States in the one and one-half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to being $5,800. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump? If you don’t do anything to prevent this from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number that they are worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you.
To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.
(Crowd chants) Shame on you.
If your money was as threatened as us, would your first thought be, how is this going to reflect on my campaign? Which should I choose? Or would you choose us, and if you answered us, will you act like it for once? You know what would be a good way to act like it? I have an example of how to not act like it. In February of 2017, one year ago, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.
From the interactions that I had with the shooter before the shooting and from the information that I currently know about him, I don’t really know if he was mentally ill. I wrote this before I heard what Delaney said. Delaney said he was diagnosed. I don’t need a psychologist and I don’t need to be a psychologist to know that repealing that regulation was a really dumb idea.
The outpouring on Twitter has been palpable, with people blaming the NRA supported politicians.
Cameron I have grandchildren your age and support what you said on CNN. Human lives ARE more important than unborn fetuses. You witnessed this massacre and we do need gun control and to stand up to the NRA and to politicians that bow to them. Great job!@cameron_kasky@Wolfocrat
— Make America Great Fire Trump (@fwbolick) February 16, 2018
Speaking publicly at a rally, Emma González, a senior, pledged that her school would be the site of the nation’s last mass shooting. How could she know? Because, she said, she and her peers would take it upon themselves to “change the law.” https://t.co/ihuobqsAwv
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 18, 2018