Ever since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, overwhelming support for common-sense reform of our gun laws has run into a seemingly immovable object–the National Rifle Association. Like clockwork, the NRA warns that any lawmakers who vote to close loopholes in our gun laws will be severely punished at the polls–and it has the money to ensure that isn’t an idle threat.
Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida appeared to be more of the same. But students who have grown up having to prepare for someone bursting into their schools with a gun aren’t taking this lying down.
Senator Marco Rubio, whose home in Miami is just a short drive from Douglas High, found this out the hard way. On Thursday, he took to the Senate floor and claimed that no law currently on the books would have kept Nikolas Cruz from killing 17 people. Watch here.
One of the students who survived, junior Sarah Chadwick, was having none of it.
Dear Marco Rubio,
As a student who was inside the school while an active shooter was wreaking terror and havoc on my teachers and classmates with an AR-15, I would just like to say, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
— Sarah Chadwick// #NEVERAGAIN (@sarahchad_) February 16, 2018
The pushback actually began literally within hours of Cruz finally being taken down. Donald Trump offered a boilerplate “thoughts and prayers” tweet within hours of the shooting.
My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
Several Douglas students let it be known they were having none of it. One of them was Chadwick, who called Trump a “f***ing price (sic) of s**t” in a now-deleted tweet. Some of her classmates were equally blunt.
why was a student able to terrorize my school mr president https://t.co/rwDRYz3ayx
— nikki (@nikta04) February 14, 2018
Fuck you. We don’t need your fucking prayers. GET BETTER GUN CONTROL. https://t.co/5JtH9wtJz5
— Kyra (@longlivekcx) February 14, 2018
Maybe I would feel safe if there was gun control??? 2+2=7 https://t.co/5qC2YY7SKO
— carly (@car_nove) February 14, 2018
Unless you are going to do something about gun control so no one else experiences what my school has, shut the fuck up. https://t.co/9i8Yr2233L
— Morgan Williams (@morganw_44) February 15, 2018
Another classmate, Cameron Kasky, wasted little time after getting home starting a Facebook page called “Never Again,” which has already attracted 32,700 followers. Largely due to their efforts, the hashtags “#NeverAgain” and “#DouglasStrong” have been heavily trending on social media.
The students have also let it be known that they aren’t shutting up any time soon.
let it be known that cruz messed with the wrong school. We as students are using social media as a platform to have our voices heard. Let it be known that we are and will be in contact with our legislators & politicians. Change is now. & it is starting with the survivors.
— Kyra (@longlivekcx) February 17, 2018
marjory stoneman douglas is one of the biggest schools in broward. when sandy hook happened, those children were too young (and are still too young) to speak.
— nikki (@nikta04) February 16, 2018
we have a voice and we will be heard. nothing will ever be the same again. not douglas, not broward, not florida, not the USA.
— nikki (@nikta04) February 16, 2018
For those in my mentions, telling me to shut up, telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about,& many other things. Know that I stand my ground, as a douglas student. A student who’s lost classmates, friends, & coaches. For the rest of my life, I will demand change. #neverforget
— Kyra (@longlivekcx) February 16, 2018
Right-wing pundit Tomi Lahren found that out the hard way when she begged the nation to give Parkland a chance to heal.
Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn't about a gun it's about another lunatic. #FloridaShooting
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) February 15, 2018
The survivors loudly told her that they aren’t just grieving–they’re acting, and they’re acting now.
I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren't there, you don't know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns. https://t.co/XnzhvuN1zd
— carly (@car_nove) February 15, 2018
A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatized from this tragedy. This could have been prevented. Please stfu tomi https://t.co/qNo03ZE3Ev
— Kyra (@longlivekcx) February 15, 2018
it is actually about guns u witch from hell https://t.co/mva3qYu0Tc
— nikki (@nikta04) February 15, 2018
So did right-wing culture jammer Mark Dice. When he told kids that they should have called 911 rather than post video of the carnage as it happened, Chadwick and classmate Connor Dietrich tore him apart.
17 people are dead. 17 of my classmates. This is how you fucking respond? How much of a heartless dick do you have to be to tweet something like this. And btw as we were running for our lives we were calling 911 to the point that they told us not to anymore. https://t.co/MQWae1mGwv
— Sarah Chadwick// #NEVERAGAIN (@sarahchad_) February 14, 2018
To people who didn’t see because the coward deleted the tweet I was responding to this: pic.twitter.com/9JcNxXE03I
— Sarah Chadwick// #NEVERAGAIN (@sarahchad_) February 15, 2018
The fact that you think the first thing we did was go to Snapchat is ridiculous. 911 operators don’t need 4,500 calls for the same thing. At least one kid in each room called 911 and the rest talked to their parents https://t.co/cgC6tiLiV8
— Connor// #NEVERAGAIN (@CDietrich1007) February 15, 2018
That effort isn’t going unnoticed. Students at nearby South Broward High School in Hollywood staged a protest on Friday in solidarity with their compatriots in Parkland. Students around the country have organized walkouts to protest the NRA-imposed inertia in Washington, with a big one planned for sometime this week.
CALLING ALL STUDENTS🗣
In response to the Florida shooting, there will be a nation-wide walkout held next week.
Take action. Start planning with friends and classmates. Spread the word.
Walkout time/date to be released by Monday the 19th.
— Student Walkout Against Gun Violence (@studentswalkout) February 16, 2018
At least one other walkout has already been scheduled for later this spring.
On Friday, April 20th we want students to attend school and then promptly WALK-OUT at 10:00 am. Sit outside your schools and peacefully protest. Make some noise. Voice your thoughts. "We are students, we are victims, we are change."
— National School Walkout (@schoolwalkoutUS) February 17, 2018
Everytown for Gun Safety was so overwhelmed with information requests from students that it has launched a student-focused group, Students Demand Action.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 17, 2018
This is nothing short of inspirational. It’s going to be awfully hard for the NRA to effectively combat this in the long run. After all, this can’t be dismissed as mere librul-influenced astroturf.
Admittedly, it may take awhile to get meaningful changes past this Congress and this president. But if these kids hammer away long enough, they may eventually be able to kick the proverbial door in.
(featured image courtesy Never Again’s Facebook)