"We call BS!"
"Enough is Enough!"
Florida Shooting Aftermath: Student Activists vs. Republican Inactivists and NRA
Quotes by the Students: Adam Alhanti, Daniel Bishop, Abby Brafman, Ellie Branson, Alfonso
Calderon, Sarah Chadwick, Julia Cordover, Jaclyn Corin, Ryan Deitsch, Samantha
Gittelson, Emma Gonzalez, Tyra Hemans, David Hogg, Lauren Hogg, Cameron Kasky,
Madison Mirsky, Mackenzie Mirsky, Nikhita Nookala, Carly Novell, Ariana Ortega, Daniela Palacios,
Delaney Tarr, Sofie Whitney, Morgan Williams, Alex Wind, Christine Yared and Sam Zeif
The student survivors of the Parkland, Florida massacre are mad as
hell, and they're not going to take it anymore. They are making their voices
heard and taking matters into
their own hands. The matter is their lives and the lives of their friends and
fellow students. They will march on
Washington, in March. On March 24, 2018, to be precise. Are you with them, or
against them? Is a phrase in the Bill of Rights worth more than their lives,
their futures, their health and their sanity? If gun dealers and gun owners have rights, does
that mean schoolchildren have no right but to be shot to ribbons by mass
murderers armed with fearsome assault weapons? Or do children have rights as well?
It's hard to pursue happiness while staring down the barrel of an AR-15.
have the right to drive, do you have the right to drink and drive, go 200 mph,
and crush children beneath your wheels? Or
should there be reasonable curbs on your driving rights, to protect children in
school zones? Are these children crazy to believe they have rights too, or have
Trump, the GOP and the NRA descended into madness?
Here is what the children say. Do you believe them, or the politicians who take
blood money from the NRA? Who is more believable, more credible?
"... we are begging for our lives ..."
"... the adults let us down ..."
"I don't think I'll ever recover from this."
"We're children. You guys are the adults."
"How many more students are going to have to die and have their blood spilled in
"We should change the names of AR-15s to 'Marco Rubio' because they are so easy
" ... our blood is on your hands ..."
"Vote them out!"
"I'd like them [politicians] to know that this can't keep happening ... there's
so much wrong with it ... I don't know how I'm ever going to get past this ... I
can't even use the bathroom by myself, or take a shower, or sleep by myself any
more ... I'm an absolute mess ... I need them to know that, and I need it to
"We will remember!"
The victims' names are Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, Scott
Beigel, 35, Nicholas Dworet, 17, Aaron Feis, 37, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Chris
Hixon, 49, Luke Hoyer, 15, Cara Loughran, 14, Gina Montalto, 14, Joaquin Oliver,
17, Alaina Petty, 14, Meadow Pollack, 18, Helena Ramsay, 17, Alex Schachter, 14,
Carmen Schentrup, 16, Peter Wang, 15
For those readers who are Christians, what does the Bible say? What would Jesus
"Whatsoever ye do unto the least of these, ye do it unto me."
"Whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones ... it would be better
for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in
the depths of the sea!"
"Blessed are the peacemakers."
"And a little child shall lead them."
Who would Jesus Christ side with—the children, or
money-grubbing, hypocritical politicians and the NRA?
compiled by Michael R. Burch, an editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry
Of Course the Students Don't Stand a Chance against the NRA ...
They're just kids. Naïve. Idealistic dupes manipulated by left-wing,
gun-control groups. That's how some critics are describing the Florida school
shooting survivors who have emerged in recent days as impassioned gun control
advocates. But those who've led and studied movements describe them this way:
They're the most formidable foes the NRA will face—and it's because they're so
young. After a teenage gunman killed 17 people at their high school in Parkland,
Florida, on Valentine's Day, much of the focus has shifted to the young
survivors of the shooting. One author who has covered mass shootings for decades
says, "I've never seen a phenomenon like these students." Another praised their
"disdain for hypocrisy." The student survivors are sympathetic figures, as they
should be. They are challenging adults with simple, direct questions:
Do you love us more than your guns?
Why are politicians taking blood money from the NRA?
Why are you voting for them, when they allow us to be slaughtered?
Will you take the time to vote, to protect us?
Are you with us, or against us?
Really, how can they lose, unless we adults fail them again?
Emma Gonzalez Quotes
Get out there and vote. For the love of God, prevent this from happening at your school.
Do we not deserve the Right To Live anymore?
We are tired of being ignored.
Now is the time to get on the right side of this.
He wouldn't have harmed that many students with a knife.
Not today. Never again.
Adults like us when we have strong test scores, but they hate us when we have
Dana Loesch, I want you to know that we will support your two children in the
way that you will not.
The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. These
people, who are funded by the NRA, are not going to be allowed to remain in
You don’t drive a NASCAR hotrod on the street, no matter how fun it might be,
just like you don’t need an AR-15 to protect yourself when walking home at
night. No one does.
Signs of the Times: Actual Protest Signs
Your hands. Our blood.
Protect kids, not guns.
Do we love our guns more than our kids?
How many more will it take?
March for our lives.
Shame on you!
Shame on US.
Vote them out!
Change is no longer near. Change is here. (Adam Alhanti)
We are too young to be losing friends like this. (Javier Lovera)
Hey @realDonaldTrump ... My question to you is, are we as America’s youth worth the risk? Is giving teachers guns really the answer? (Lauren Hogg)
We are children. You guys are the adults. Work together, come over your
politics, and get something done! (David Hogg)
This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly
ended because of guns. (Carly Novell)
The last hashtag, #BoycottNRA, and the larger NRA boycott seem to be working. After the massacre, major corporations quickly
broke ranks with the NRA, including Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, National,
Alamo, Allied Van Lines, North American Van Lines, TrueCar, United Airlines,
Delta, Wyndham, Best Western, First National Bank, MetLife, Chubb, Paramount Rx,
Harland Clarke, Symantec, Norton Online, Norton AntiVirus, Life Lock, Personify,
Starkey, Teladoc, SimpliSafe, REI, Mountain Equipment Co-Op and Lockton Affinity.
Companies that continue to do business with the NRA and which remain targets of
the NRA boycott movement include FedEx, Google, Amazon, Apple, YouTube, Roku,
MidwayUSA, Clearant, eHealth, FFL BizHub, Orchid Advisors, Life Insurance
Central, Life Line Screening, Medical Concierge Network, Vinesse Wines,
HotelPlanner and Bass Pro Shops.
In a major victory for the student activists and all American children, one of
the nation’s largest sports retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, announced that it
was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles in its stores. Dick's
also said that it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines and that it would
not sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws.
Then, in another YUGE win, Wal-Mart, L. L. Bean, Kroger and Fred Meyer said that
they will no longer sell guns or
ammo to people under age 21.
Emma Gonzalez now has more Twitter followers than the NRA, in just a few days.
Her Twitter account is @emma4change.
Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, addressed a
gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, mere days after a gunman entered her school and killed 17 students
and staff with an AR-15 assault weapon. The attack occurred on Valentine's Day,
February 14, 2018, at one of America's "safest" schools, in one of its "safest"
a sympathetic and vocal crowd, Emma spoke
passionately and eloquently, often pausing to brush back tears. There is a full
transcript of her speech below on this page, and it's well worth reading, thinking about,
acting upon. (I found a transcript of the speech on CNN, but it
contained a number of errors, so I took the time to listen to the speech several times,
correcting the errors. I think my version is more accurate than
the original CNN transcript.)
What can we do? One thing we can do is vote for politicians who are ready to
enact sane gun control laws immediately, and against those who want to
hem, haw, delay and pretend that all the other industrialized nations haven't
already solved the problem with strict gun control laws. Such laws really do
work, and countries like Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, France and
Japan are proof positive. The problem is not that children can't be saved. The
problem is that politicians like Donald Trump, John McCain, Mitch McConnell and
Marco Rubio are taking millions of dollars in "blood money" from the NRA. And I
mean that "blood" literally. We keep sacrificing our children on the unholy, bloody
altars of the NRA, when the cure has already been administered everywhere else
in the civilized world. Why? So that Trump can get $30 million from the NRA, win
an election, then strut around preening for cameras
while children get shot to ribbons? Which is more important: Trump's
"brand" or our children's lives? Well that's my solution, voting, for whatever it's worth. Now,
back to the students ...
Other student activists—all bright, articulate
and informed—include Emma's classmates David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind and Jaclyn
Corin. They're calling for elected leaders to act without delay. They have quickly
come up with attention-grabbing catchphrases and watchwords: "We call BS!" and #NeverAgain. They
are organizing on social media, planning marches and voter registration
drives, and seem determined to make their voices
heard and their presences felt. I have a feeling they will be heard, and I wouldn't put it past them to dethrone some fat-cat
lords and perhaps even a certain emperor sans clothes.
Before I share Emma's riveting speech, I would like to contrast her activism
with the "inactivism" of the people currently in power, the Republicans. What are they
saying? What are they doing, or not doing? And if they're doing nothing, is NRA "blood money"
The NRA Response: a Timeline of Blood, Lies and Resistance to Protecting
"Crying white mothers are ratings gold!” — harebrained NRA spokesperson Dana
Loesch, who claimed the media "love mass shootings"
If it bleeds, it leads, doesn’t it?” — Dana Loesch objects to any headline
reports about children being shot, calling them "it"
According to Dana Loesch, reports of children being shot to ribbons with assault
weapons should not be in the headlines. White mothers crying about the deaths of
their children should not be in the headlines either. Who knows where reports of
black mothers weeping for their children should go
... on the back pages, presumably. This is how the NRA seems to view massacres
of schoolchildren: as far too much liberal ado about very little. What are the
lives of children, compared to the rights of adults to buy assault weapons and
carry them wherever they please?
If the comments above don't make your skin crawl, God help you. If they do make
your skin crawl, please join the students in their marches to get NRA blood
money out of American politics.
NRA shill Dana Loesch lied to Emma Gonzalez, to all the survivors of the
Parkland massacre, to all the families of the victims, and to the entire nation
when—during a CNN town hall meeting moderated by
Jake Tapper—she tried to make it seem that she and the NRA are "in favor" of background
checks, and have been for "over 20 years."
In reality the NRA has repeatedly opposed background
checks and currently has this posted on its website:
"NRA opposes expanding firearm background check systems, because background
checks don’t stop criminals from getting firearms, because some proposals to do
so would deprive individuals of due process of law, and because NRA opposes
Forget the NRA's fake news. This is the real reality
timeline of what the NRA has done to help
"protect" our children from serial killers with guns:
• In 1871 the National Rifle Association is founded by
William Conant Church and George Wood Wingate. The NRA's main purpose
initially is to
improve marksmanship, not engage in politics.
• In 1977 during the so-called "Cincinnati Revolt," Harlon Carter and his followers
gain control of the NRA. Carter pledges to pursue "a more uncompromising defense
of an unqualified individualist interpretation of the Second Amendment."
• In 1981 Republican President Ronald Reagan and his press secretary Jim Brady
are shot by John Hinckley Jr., along with two Secret Service officers. Reagan
supports the resulting Brady Act. However, the NRA mobilizes and spends millions
trying to defeat the bill.
• In 1984 a gunman, Tyrone Mitchell, used an AR-15 and two shotguns to kill two
and wound 12 people at 49th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, before killing
• A 1986 law, the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, explicitly forbids the
government from creating a database of gun owners and places restrictions on
federal inspections of gun dealers.
• In 1989 Republican President George H.W. Bush
signs a ban on the importation of semi-automatic assault weapons after a gunman
armed with a Chinese-made assault weapon kills six children at a Stockton,
• In 1993 the Brady Act finally passes, with most
Democratic senators voting for the bill, and most Republican senators voting
against it. The NRA had fought against the bill, tooth and nail.
• In 1996 the NRA lobbied a Republican-controlled congress into stripping the
CDC's funding for gun violence research. The Dickey Amendment, named after its
author Jay Dickey, forbids the CDC to
spend funds "to advocate or promote gun control."
• In 1997 the NRA fails in its attempt to get the
entire Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act tossed out. Since 1998, around 1.2
million firearm sales have been blocked by background checks, mostly due to
felony convictions. If the NRA had had its way, many felons would have been able
to purchase weapons.
• By 1998 the NRA's PAC,
the Political Victory Fund, is ranked as "one of the biggest spenders in
• In 1999 a Fortune magazine survey said
that lawmakers and their staffers considered the NRA to be the most powerful
lobbying organization, for a third year in a row.
• In 1999 two teenagers shoot and kill 13 people at
Columbine High School in Colorado, using a semi-automatic handgun and other
• In 2003, in a major "victory" for the NRA,
the Tiahrt Amendment, named after Republican congressman Todd Tiahrt, requires
the FBI to destroy background check data for firearms within 24 hours. (Tiahrt
won an NRA award for that bit of madness.)
• In 2004, in another major NRA "victory," Congress
lets the assault weapons ban expire after the NRA opposes the renewal.
• In 2005 the NRA scores
yet another major "victory" when President George W. Bush signs the Protection
of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, granting the gun industry immunity from
• In 2007 a gunman kills
32 people and wounds 17 on the campus of Virginia Tech, using two semi-automatic
weapons in the deadliest shooting incident in U.S. history. “Our thoughts and
prayers are with the families,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says in a
statement after the shooting.
• In 2007 a gunman,
Tyler Peterson, uses an AR-15 to kill six and injure one at an apartment in
Crandon, Wis., before killing himself.
• In 2011 Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords
and 18 other people are shot near Tucson, Arizona. Six people die. The killer
used a semi-automatic Glock pistol with a 33-round magazine. “Our thoughts and
prayers are with the victims of this senseless tragedy, including Representative
Gabrielle Giffords, and their families during this difficult time,” the NRA
• In 2012 a gunman,
James Eagan Holmes, kills 12 and injures 58 at an Aurora, Colorado, movie
theater. The primary weapon used was a AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle with a
100-round magazine. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their
families and the Aurora, Colorado, community,” the NRA says.
• In 2012 a gunman, Adam
Lanza, uses an AR-15-style semi-automatic Bushmaster assault-style rifle to kill
27 Sandy Hook Elementary School students, teachers and his own mother in
Newtown, Conneticut. “We were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of
the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,” the NRA says. After President
Obama calls to impose new limits on guns and
ammunition in the wake of the Newtown shooting, the NRA calls for stationing
armed guards at every school in America. Experts say it won't work.
• In 2013 a gunman, John Zawahri, used an
AR-15-style .223-caliber rifle and a .44-caliber Remington revolver to kill five
and injure three at a home in Santa Monica, Calif., before he was killed.
• In 2013 after meeting
with Vice President Biden and others to discuss efforts to curb gun violence,
the NRA claims there is an "agenda" to "attack the Second Amendment."
• In 2015 a gunman, Justin Fowler, used an AR-15 to kill
one and injure two on a street in Little Water, N.M., before he was killed.
• In 2015 a gunman, Jeffrey Scott Pitts, used an AR-15 and .45-caliber handgun
to kill two and injure two at a store in Conyers, Ga., before he was killed.
• In 2015 two gunmen, Syed Rizwyan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, used two
AR-15-style, .223-caliber Remington rifles and two 9 mm handguns to kill 14 and
injure 21 in San Bernardino, Calif., before they were killed.
• In 2016 the NRA raised a record $366 million and spent $412 million for
political activities. (The NRA also maintains a PAC which is excluded from these
• In 2016 a gunman, Omar Mateen, used an AR-15 style
rifle (a Sig Sauer MCX), and a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol to kill 49 people
and injure 50 at the Orlando Pulse nightclub before he was killed.
• In 2017 Trump (after the NRA paid a staggering $30 million to help get him elected president)
signed a law to revoke an Obama-era gun regulation that made it more difficult
for those with mental illnesses to acquire guns. The media wasn’t allowed to
attend, to keep it quiet.
• In 2017 a gunman, Stephen Paddock, used a
stockpile of guns including an AR-15 to kill 58 people and injure hundreds at a
music festival in Las Vegas before he killed himself.
• In 2017 a gunman, Devin Kelley, used an AR-15
style Ruger rifle to kill 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas,
before he was killed.
• Also in Trump's first year as president, House Republicans passed The Concealed
Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. It would force states with stricter gun laws,
such as New York and California, to honor out-of-state permits from states with
less restrictive requirements.
• In 2017 a gunman, Nikolas Cruz, used an
AR-15-style rifle to kill at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
School in Parkland, Fla, on Valentine's Day.
• Republicans are trying to pass the NRA-sponsored Sportsmen's Heritage and
Recreational Enhancement Act (the SHARE Act), which would loosen restrictions on
silencers and deregulate sales of armor-piercing bullets.
• Around the nation, the NRA has pushed and advanced
state bills to allow guns in bars, parks and
Ironically, visitors are not allowed to bring guns into the NRA's headquarters.
Talk about hypocrisy! Let the innocent children get shot to ribbons, but protect
the adults who imperil their lives! If you don't believe me, try this little
test. Grab your AR-15, load it, and try to carry it openly into the NRA's main
office building. Or try to carry a loaded AR-15 into a courthouse or legislative
plaza—the most public of buildings. The NRA's Wayne
LaPierre has preached sermons about the right to bear arms being a sacred,
god-given right that can never be infringed. But try to get close to him with a
loaded AR-15, and you can bet your bottom dollar that your "sacred" right will
be infringed, bigly, YUGELY. Or try getting close to Trump with any weapon, and
a sniper will take you out, pronto. If American presidents, senators,
congressmen and judges can be protected by infringing on our right to bear arms,
then surely we can protect children as well.
The Democratic and Republican Response to the Parkland Massacre
Democrats called for swift and decisive action, led by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who urged his colleagues to act to stem US gun
violence, particularly in schools. "This happens nowhere else other than the
United States of America," said Murphy, who previously represented the district
that included Sandy Hook Elementary School. "This epidemic of mass slaughter—this scourge of school shooting after school shooting—it only happens here, not
because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our
Former president Barack Obama said: "We are grieving with Parkland. But we are
not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly
say that we're doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue,
common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change."
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, pointed out the real
facts: "Gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S. than in any other
high-income country. Every day, seven children and teens die from gun violence.
In many states, people are more likely to be killed by a gun than in a car
accident. This is not normal. This is not acceptable. This is not inevitable. We
must stop pretending that we are powerless to prevent these tragedies." To the
students, he said: "We know that your courage will outlast the cruel
indifference of the NRA and the cowardice of Congressional leaders who refuse to
bring any meaningful legislation to the floor. We know that one day, when you
are the adults, we will no longer live in a nation that sees its children
murdered and does nothing."
Other prominent Democrats who have called for action on gun control include
Gabby Giffords (who was shot and nearly killed herself), House Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Florida Senator Bill Nelson,
California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, California Representative Adam Schiff, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, former
president Jimmy Carter, former president Bill Clinton, former vice president Joe
Biden, and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, among others.
Republicans, however, are having none of it. Their solution? To pray, to
shed a few tears, and do nothing. The right of a child to live is, according to
them, nothing compared to the right of an adult to purchase military-grade
weapons without restrictions, to carry them anywhere, and to be presumed
responsible until it's too late.
Donald Trump offered his "prayers and condolences," posed for photo-ops
while inappropriately flashing grins and thumbs-up signs, then puttered off,
presumably to play golf or gobble down some Big Macs while watching Fox News.
[Please refer to David Hogg's scathing retort to Trump's inaction, in the
student's responses below on this page.]
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida pled that lawmakers must
acknowledge their power is limited, even though lawmakers in other nations have
acted to prevent such massacres. Here is Cameron Kasky's withering reply: "It's
not our job to tell you, Senator Rubio, how to protect us. The fact that we even
have to do this is appalling. Our job is to go to school, learn and not take a
bullet. You need to figure this out. That's why you were unfortunately elected.
Your job is to protect us and our blood is on your hands." Another student,
Ryan Deitsch, pointed out in an interview that "Rubio danced around the
question" of whether he would continue to take money from the NRA. Sarah
Chadwick tweeted: "We should change the names of AR-15s to 'Marco Rubio' because
they are so easy to buy." After refusing to side with the students on gun
control, Rubio's approval rating crashed into negative territory.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for a moment of
silence and prayers, but no action. After the Las Vegas massacre in which 58
people died, McConnell said it was "premature" to consider legislative action.
Apparently, it is always "premature" to talk seriously about protecting
children from obliteration. The students, however, did not think it was “too
soon” to bring up the issue of gun control—in fact, several students would start
shouting “gun control” within "the very sanctum of the candlelight vigil."
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan's solution? "I think we need to pray, and
our hearts go out to these victims." But he advised against action, which
according to him would
be "knee jerk." Ryan also advised against "jumping to conclusions."
But how many
years will it take before we can conclude that children are being
massacred before our eyes, while we sit on our hands and wait for more evidence?
Incredibly, Ryan also said that we should "step back and count our blessings."
As we will see, the students who survived do not agree with that statement.
Some of the survivors met with the powerful speaker of the Florida House,
Richard Corcoran, a Republican who had agreed to take their questions. Alondra
Gittelson, age 16, asked him why individuals were allowed to buy AR-15 rifles.
Mr. Corcoran responded that he would not be in favor of banning weapons like the
one used in the attack on the students, because they are sometimes used on boar
hunts! Later a crowd of students and other people shouted "Shame! Shame! Shame!"
outside Corcoran's office door.
Florida Senator Aaron Bean, a Republican, said it was "too early" for him to say
if he would vote to do anything different.
Florida Senator Debbie Mayfield, a Republican, rebuffed the student survivors,
saying "We can't stop crazies." Amanda De La Cruz, 16, looked
distraught. “I want the ban on semiautomatic weapons,” she said. “I don’t care
about the crazies.”
Republican Senator Ted Cruz said Democrats were trying to "politicize" the
shooting by talking about doing anything, such as enacting stronger gun-control measures.
Republican White House Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "Now is the
time to unite as a country," but said nothing about acting to save the lives of
children. Unite in apathy and inactivity, apparently.
Republican Vice President Mike Pence also declined to address gun control.
So very "Christian" of him! What are children's lives compared to the NRA's
coffers? Surely Jesus Christ would concur!
Republican Representative Chris Collins warned that it would be dangerous to
even talk about gun control and said that he would start carrying a handgun
himself: "The rhetoric has been outrageous—the finger-pointing, just the tone
and the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters. Really,
then, you know, some people react to things like that. They get angry as well.
And then you fuel the fires." As with the Incredible Hulk, we shouldn't make
Chris Collins angry. And apparently he gets very angry if anyone suggests that children too have rights and deserve to
So according to Republicans, the victims are not the slaughtered children, but
Trump, the NRA, and gun owners who get angry when anyone suggests that assault
weapons are dangerous.
The Students' Tweets and Other Responses
The student activists do not agree with the Republicans in power. Nor or they
fooled by Trump, like so many adults ...
"We won't be stopped," Samantha Fuentes told CNN's Jim Sciutto, explaining that
Trump showed a distinct lack of empathy when he called her. Samantha, who was
shot in both legs and has shrapnel lodged in her head, said she had “never been
so unimpressed by a person in my life” after Trump assumed that she was "a big
fan" of his, claimed to be "a big fan" of hers, and said "oh boy" a "solid eight
times." She concluded: "He didn't make me feel better in the slightest."
Sarah Chadwick, a Douglas High School sophomore, informed Tweety Trump, via his favorite medium, in words that quickly went viral: “I
don’t want your condolences you fucking piece of shit, my friends and teachers
were shot.” She also said, "Never again should students have to protest for
their lives. Never again should an innocent life be taken while trying to gain
Other student survivor tweets:
"My friends were brutally murdered and you [Trump] have the nerve to make this
about Russia. I can not believe this!"
"17 of my classmates are gone. That's 17 futures, 17 children, and 17 friends
stolen. But you're right, it always has to be about you. How silly of me to
"Oh my god. 17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY
TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA???!! HAVE A DAMN HEART. You can keep all of your fake
and meaningless 'thoughts and prayers'."
After Tomi Lahren, a Republican pundit, accused "the left" of having an
"anti-gun agenda," one of the students tweeted: "it is actually about guns u
witch from hell."
the Press, David Hogg said that he wouldn't feel safe going back to school
until mental health and gun control legislation had been passed: "This is not
the time for inaction and debate ... How many more students are going to have to
die and have their blood spilled in American classrooms?" He also chided
Trump: "You're the President, You're supposed to bring this nation together, not
divide us. How dare you? Children are dying, and their blood is on your hands
because of that. Please take action. Stop going on vacation in Mar-a-Lago. Take
action. Work with Congress. Your party controls both the House and Senate. Take
action, get some bills passed, and for God's sake, let's save some lives."
Emma Gonzalez issued a direct threat to politicians who prefer NRA money to
children's lives: "Well, what we have set up right now ... we have a website, March
for Our Lives. We're going to be doing a march in March on Washington where
we get students all over the country to join us. These kids are going to make
the difference, because the adults let us down. And at this point I don't even
know if the adults in power who are funded by the NRA ... I don't even think we
need them anymore because they're going to be gone by the midterm elections.
There's barely any time for them to save their skins. And if they don't turn
around right now and state their open support for this movement, they're going
to be left behind. Because you are either with us or against us at this point."
Cameron Kasky agreed, saying: "We are giving a lot of the politicians that we
feel neglected by a clean slate, because that's the past and we understand that.
But from here on, we are creating a badge of shame for any politicians who are
accepting money from the NRA. It's a special interest group that has, most
certainly, not our best interests in mind. And this cannot be the norm. This can
be changed and it will be changed. And anybody who tells you that it
can't, is buying into the facade being created by the people who have our blood
on their hands."
Cameron also explained how flawed the current "gun control" laws are, in a
nutshell (emphasis on "nut"): "Because if Nikolas Cruz had gone through five
minutes with any medical professional they would have said this person does not
need an AR-15. This person needs a counselor and 17 people would not have needed
At one point Cameron said "... we are begging for our lives ..."
David Hogg had blistering words for Trump, who tried to shift blame to
Democrats: "President Trump you control the House of Representatives. You
control the Senate and you control the executive branch. You haven't taken a
single bill for mental health care or gun control and passed it. And that's
pathetic. We've seen a government shutdown. We've seen tax reform but nothing to
save our children's lives. Are you kidding me? You think now is the time to
focus on the past and not the future to prevent the deaths of thousands of other
children? You sicken me!"
Earlier, David had had made a call for adults to act like adults: "We're
children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role.
Work together, come over your politics, and get something done."
David also said, "Children will continue to die if we don't take a stand now."
Abby Brafman, a 2017 graduate Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who is now
studying at Vanderbilt University in Nashville,
said: "Inaction is painful. It stabs at our hearts." After the massacre, she had
the number 17 tattooed on her neck as a tribute to the 17 people who were gunned
down so needlessly. She is now organizing a march in Nashville and said: "We are
going to be the school that changes the nation."
Alex Wind had strong words for Marco Rubio and other politicians: "March 24th on
the March for our Lives is only the beginning. This is the first march. But I
can guarantee it will not be the last. We will be marching for the 17 we lost at
our school. We will be marching for everyone we lost at the Newtown Sandy Hook
shooting, at Columbine, at Virginia Tech in San Bernardino, Orlando at the Pulse
shooting and at Las Vegas. This is only the beginning and March 24th things are
going to change."
Madison Mirsky, a ninth grader, when asked what she would say to American
politicians, said: "I'd like them to know that this can't keep happening ...
there's so much wrong with it ... I don't know how I'm ever going to get past
this ... I can't even use the bathroom by myself, or take a shower, or sleep by
myself any more ... I'm an absolute mess ... I need them to know that, and I
need it to stop."
Mackenzie Mirsky, her twin, when asked the same question, said: "I want them to
Carly Novell said: "I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours ... This IS
about guns and about all the people who had their lives abruptly ended by guns."
Morgan Williams tweeted in response to President Trump blaming the FBI for
spending too much time on Russia and missing this murderer: “Oh my god. 17 OF MY
CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT
RUSSIA???!! HAVE A DAMN HEART. You can keep all of your fake and meaningless
‘thoughts and prayers.’”
Tyra Hemans carried a poster with the word "ENOUGH" and "NO GUNS" to a
Tyra said: "I want our politicians to stop thinking about money and start
thinking about all these lives we had lost. I want to talk with him [Trump]
about changing these laws."
Daniela Palacios, age 16, said: "Wherever you bump into someone, there is the
fear that they're the next shooter, and every bell is a gunshot." But "I feel
like some change is going to come of this," she went on, her voice barely
audible amid the roar of the crowd. "I feel hopeful."
Ellie Branson, 16, asked: "Can you include the names of the victims? Their names
are more important than mine."
Delaney Tarr, a senior, said: "We've spoke to only a few legislators and ... the
most we've gotten out of them is, 'We'll keep you in our thoughts. You are so
strong. You are so powerful.' We know what we want. We want gun reform. We want
commonsense gun laws. ... We want change. We've had enough of thoughts
and prayers. If you supported us, you would have made a change long
ago. So this is to every lawmaker out there: No longer can you take money from
the NRA. We are coming after you. We are coming after every single one of you,
demanding that you take action, demanding that you make a change."
Sam Zeif pointed out that the purpose of the Second Amendment was safety, but no
one needs a weapon of mayhem like the AR-15 for defense, then asked: "When will
Julia Cordover said: "We will be famous for this moment of change."
Ariana Ortega, at the funeral of her friend Alexander Schatcher, said: “We’re
here to make change. We don’t want another community going through this.”
Christine Yared had an op-ed column in the New York Times with the
headline “Don’t Let My Classmates’ Deaths Be in Vain.”
"I don't think I'll ever recover from this," said Daniel Bishop, a sophomore at
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "How am I supposed to (go back to) a place
where 17 of my peers were slaughtered?"
Nikhita Nookala, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and a staff writer on
the Eagle Eye newspaper, wrote: "Let’s get something passed. The status quo
cannot continue to be acceptable, in schools like mine or on Capitol Hill."
Sofie Whitney said, "People say we aren't serious because we're children, but
have you heard my friends talk? We're serious."
Rebecca Bogart, Josef Bagiv and Ashton Boukzam had been together in a class on
the Holocaust when the shooter started his attack. The students had run together
with their teacher and several others to hide behind the teacher’s desk, where
they hid holding hands. As Nikolas Cruz passed by, spraying bullets through the
door, two students, Nicholas Dworet and Helena Ramsay, were killed. One of the
students' rallying cries would be "Never again!" That's what we say about the
“Seventeen lives are more important than gun rights,” said Christopher Lormeus,
18, who had walked from Coconut Creek High School, six miles away.
Outside the Florida statehouse building, a crowd of students and their
supporters burst into chants of "Vote them out!" as speakers called for the
removal of Republican lawmakers who refuse to address gun control issues. One
sign read, "Remember the men who value the NRA over children's lives" and then
listed Republicans in Florida's congressional delegation. Other signs said,
"Kill the NRA, not our kids" and "These kids are braver than the GOP."
In conclusion, students and Democrats agree that it is past time to act.
Republicans, however, show no interest in doing anything meaningful to save children's
lives. Doesn't that seem odd? Could this be the reason why? ...
Tears, Prayers and NRA Blood Money
Prominent Republicans seem to have a "battle plan" that does not involve
fighting to save children's lives. Rather, they offer tears and prayers, while
taking millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association. This despite the
fact that, according to the Washington Post, a staggering 150,000 students have
experienced gun violence since Columbine. Here is what Republicans had to offer
students, and what they have received from the NRA ...
Donald Trump: "... prayers and condolences ..." (NRA $30 million)
Sen. John McCain: "Cindy & I are praying for the victims of the terrible #LasVegasShooting
& their families." (NRA $7.7 million)
Marco Rubio: "Today is that terrible day you pray never comes." (NRA $3.3
Cory Gardner: "I am heartbroken for the students." (NRA $3.9 million)
Rob Portman: " Heartbreaking news out of Florida. Jane and I send our prayers."
(NRA $3.0 million)
Bill Cassidy: "Praying for the students, teachers and first responders." (NRA
Thom Tillis: "Tragic news out of Florida. Please keep the victims … in your
thoughts and prayers." (NRA $4.4 million)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "This is a moment for national mourning
and for prayer." (NRA $1.3 million)
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa): "My prayers are with all of the victims in Las
Vegas and their loved ones affected by this senseless act of violence." (NRA
Do we detect a trend, perhaps?
The NRA Response
No modern American president has had a closer bond with gun owners than
Trump, who won 62% of their votes in the presidential election, then promised the NRA that he would "never, ever infringe on the right
of the people to keep and bear arms."
"That's very encouraging, that he's not mounting up with the anti-Second
Amendment posse," said Larry Pratt, executive director emeritus of the Gun
Owners of America. "The response from gun
owners will be principally that he didn't say the kind of things Hillary Clinton
would have said had she been president and the way Barack Obama reacted to other
situations like this."
"The fact that the president didn't talk about rifles ... that was
good," said Chris Waltz, president and CEO of AR-15 Gun Owners of America. "He's been, so far, the most outspoken president on
gun issues, as far as supporting the Second Amendment."
"I'm confident that the president meant what he said: that he's not going to
pursue a potential solution that's going to infringe on our constitutional
rights," said David Bozell, president of the conservative group For America.
"We're always concerned after a tragedy that the response will be either
poor, misguided or just emotional," said Dudley Brown, president of the National
Association for Gun Rights. In particular, he said he was discomfited by
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's response to a question from Rep. John Lewis,
D-Ga., at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Thursday. "I will say
personally, I think the gun violence—it's a tragedy what we've seen yesterday,
and I'd urge Congress to look at these issues," Mnuchin said. While Mnuchin
didn't back any particular action, the words struck Brown as
"intimating gun control" and a potential waver in the administration's stance.
"Our concern is the canary in the coal mine," he said.
Heaven forbid that anyone should get too "emotional" about children being
massacred! Or that we should even express concerns! Never mind about the rights of children not to be shot to ribbons!
What really matters is the Second Amendment, and the rights of gun
Donald Trump Jr. liked and retweeted an attack on one of the students, David
Hogg, because his father is an FBI agent.
George and Alma Clooney pledged half a million dollars to the student's cause.
Hours later, film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn said they would
donate the same amount, calling the students “brave young leaders” who have
“taken their pain and grief and turned it into action.” Steven Spielberg and his
wife Kate Capshaw soon did the same. Oprah Winfrey matched their contributions,
tweeting: "These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the
60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard." Gucci
later pledged another half million dollars to the cause. Other celebreties including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Amy Schumer and Cher have also
voiced their support. Cher said she believed the movement could scare Congress
into action, tweeting: “KIDS CAN BE CATALYSTS 4 CHANGE.” Shutterfly contributed
$50,000 on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Speaking on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert said that the one group that
gave him hope that "we can protect the children" in the wake of the tragedy was
the children themselves. Citing inaction on gun control from legislators,
Colbert said with a straight face, "I think we need to change the voting age.
Until we do something about guns, you can't vote if you're over 18." Noting that
students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school had been present at the Florida
State House on Tuesday, Colbert added, "I hope these kids don't give up. Because
this is their lives and their future. Someone else may be in power, but this
country belongs to them. And there is reason for hope." Citing the "Me Too"
movement and how it brought down men in power, Colbert added, "This is an
election year. If you want to see change you have to go to the polls and tell
the people who will not protect you that their time is up." Later in the show,
Colbert sat down with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and asked why a reform hasn’t
been put in place regarding gun control. “This is unfathomable how many deaths
we’ve had to see over and over and over again and Congress has done nothing,”
Gillibrand began explaining. “The silence is literally deafening and they don’t
get anything done because the NRA has a chokehold on Congress. The NRA is
concerned only with gun sales. It’s all about money. It’s all about greed. It
has nothing to do with the second amendment. And we’ve seen death after death
after death and it has to stop.”
Trevor Noah called the students, approvingly, "meddling kids." It is past time
for them to meddle in trying to save their lives and the lives of their fellow
Other Things to Consider
The NRA Twitter account "liked" a Valentine's Day image professing love for
assault rifles. The image was posted by a firearms company around 30 minutes before the
Florida shooting started.
One Florida social media user issued a warning for other schools, pointing out
that Parkland is one of the
wealthiest and safest cities in the state: "If schools in Parkland
aren't safe, no school is safe." Some of the students who survived pointed
out that their school was one of the best-prepared and most-drilled for such an
event. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High has fences, gates and emergency procedures
designed to keep students safe. It also has a School Resource Officer, a Broward
Sheriff’s deputy. But all the security measures and drills failed to protect 17
people from being killed by a lone wolf armed with military-grade weapons.
We call BS!
by Emma Gonzalez
They haven't already had a moment of silence in the House of Representatives, so
I would like to have another one ...
Every single person up here today, all these people should be at 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. [Gandhi said we must become
the change we want to see in the world.]
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 the 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
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 students' right to live.
All I can 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 about this
topic that has come up over 1,000 times in the past four years alone.
I found out today there's a website called 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 the Port Arthur 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 have 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 that you read about in textbooks. Not because
we're going to be another statistic about mass shootings in America, but
because, just as [fellow student] David [Hogg] said, we are going to be the last
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 all going to be due to
the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members
and, most importantly, the students.
The students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the students
who are now suffering from 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." [Referring to Trump's tweet.]
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 that there are mental health issues, and I
am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this isn't
just a mental health issue. He wouldn't have harmed that many students with a
And how about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the
shooter'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 that he expressed homicidal tendencies—and I am not
talking about the FBI. I'm talking about the people that 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, [sarcastically] 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.
[The crowd repeatedly 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.
[The crowd boos.]
From the interactions that I had had with the shooter before the shooting and
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 that
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.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was the sole sponsor on this bill
that stops the FBI from performing background checks on people adjudicated to be
mentally ill, and now he's stating for the record [sarcastically], "Well, it's a
shame that the FBI isn't doing background checks on these mentally ill people."
Well, duh! You took that opportunity away last year!
The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And
us kids seem to be the only ones who notice, and our parents, to call BS.
Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that
all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission
when our message doesn't reach the ears of the nation? We are prepared to call
Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA,
telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS!
They say that tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS!
They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS!
They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We
They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies
that have occurred. We call BS!
That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to
understand how the government works. We call BS!
If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congress people. Give them
a piece of your mind!
[The crowd chants, "Throw them out!"]
What Can We Do?
The single most important thing we can do, in my opinion, is to vote in
election, whether national, state or local. The Republican Party has made it
abundantly clear that its fealty is to the NRA. Republicans are willing to let children
die on the unholy, bloody altars of the NRA. If voters start kicking Republicans
out of office at every level, the party will be forced to regain its lost marbles, or
Democrats will soon have the numbers to implement sane gun control laws.
We can also support the student activists with our money, time and cheers. They
are very impressive—bright, articulate,
passionate, courageous and determined—and who knows what they can do with our
help? Let's give them every chance to succeed.
And we can write letters to the editors of newspapers, call our government
representatives, make our voices heard online, and let everyone know that we are not willing to let children
die over a phrase in the Bill of Rights, or for the sake of gun dealers'
What we cannot do is be apathetic and do nothing, when children's lives are