Former President Barack Obama celebrated the survivors of the February shooting massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in an entry for Time’s “100 Most Influential” issue, writing that they had mobilized a political movement against “mealymouthed politicians[,] mendacious commentators” and the gun industry.
“Seared by memories of seeing their friends murdered at a place they believed to be safe, these young leaders don’t intimidate easily,” the former President wrote. “They see the NRA and its allies—whether mealymouthed politicians or mendacious commentators peddling conspiracy theories—as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay. They’re as comfortable speaking truth to power as they are dismissive of platitudes and punditry. And they live to mobilize their peers.”
“Our kids now show us what we’ve told them America is all about, even if we haven’t always believed it ourselves: that our future isn’t written for us, but by us,” the entry concluded.
Obama, who’s said that the 2012 gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was the “toughest day” of his presidency, has long criticized congressional inaction on gun control.
A month after the Stoneman Douglas shooting, he and former first lady Michelle Obama wrote to survivors at the school.
“Throughout our history, young people like you have led the way in making America better,” their letter read. “There may be setbacks; you may sometimes feel like progress is too slow in coming. But we have no doubt you are going to make an enormous difference in the days and years to come, and we will be there for you.”