A group survivors of Wednesday’s mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida appeared on several nationally-broadcast talk shows Sunday with a message for lawmakers: “You’re either with us or against us.”
Those were the words of Cameron Kasky, a junior at Stoneman Douglas who told CNN’s Dana Bash (and several other anchors) that students nationwide would participant in a “March For Our Lives” on March 24th, with a goal of preventing mass shootings and placing a “badge of shame” on lawmakers who accept money from the National Rifle Association.
“We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” Kasky said, adding: “On March 24th, you are going to be seeing students in every single major city marching, and we have our lives on the line here. And at the end of the day that is going to be what’s bringing us to victory, and to making some sort of right out of this tragedy.”
“This is about us begging for our lives,” he continued. “This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about us creating a badge of shame for any politicians who are accepting money from the NRA and using us as collateral.”
Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: “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.” (via CNN) https://t.co/ShcPmXgXJR
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 18, 2018
“This is a student-led grassroots movement,” Stoneman Douglas senior David Hogg told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “This is not a debate, this is a discussion between Americans, because we’ve had too many debates before and we’ve gotten nowhere. We need a discussion where we hear both sides.”
“From the Republicans, they can talk about mental healthcare,” he continued. “And from the Democrats, they can talk about gun control.”
“But what we need to do here is come together not as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans, and work together to solve this issue through love and compassion, because this event occurred on Valentine’s Day, sadly, and sadly 17 people had to take a bullet to the heart and so did our community. This is a time for change and we can’t let this ever happen again.”
Asked why this school shooting would lead to a different result than others have in recent years — namely, an unchanged status quo — Hogg responded in part: “I think this time is different because immediately — the same day as the shooting — I immediately went on Fox News, in fact, and talked about how this needed to be different, how this could not be just another mass shooting.”
CBS’ Nancy Cordes asked him to respond to a tweet from President Donald Trump blaming Democrats — inaccurately — for failing to pass legislation to prevent gun massacres.
“President Trump, you control the House of Representatives, you control the Senate, and you control the executive,” Hogg said. “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 shut down. 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.”
Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg to Trump: “We’ve seen a government shutdown, we’ve seen tax reform, but nothing to save our children’s lives… you sicken me.” pic.twitter.com/pq6c87Od01
— Axios (@axios) February 18, 2018
A website for the march reads in part: “March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.”
“This is a case of simple– Please stop!” Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Stoneman who delivered a powerful speech on the politics of gun legislation Saturday, said. “Please stop allowing us to be gunned down in our hallways.”
“People are telling us that we should run for president. We want an education. At this point we are trying so desperately hard to communicate what we are feeling and so many people are listening to us.”
She told ABC’s Martha Raddatz: “The people who are out there, the kids who need to take part in this, are everyday kids just like us. They are students who need to understand that this can very quickly happen to them, and we’re doing everything within our power to prevent it from happening to them, but they need to join us and they need to help us get our message across.”
“We want to give them the opportunity to be on the right side of this,” she said of politicians currently accepting donations from the National Rifle Association, including President Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The students brought their advocacy to online outlets like NowThis, as well:
After surviving the shooting in Parkland, @cameron_kasky and @davidhogg111 are demanding adults and lawmakers prevent this from happening again pic.twitter.com/0vz46PKvra
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 18, 2018