Parkland shooting survivors are calling ‘BS’ on gun laws and inspiring a nation
That’s why this shooting is different
by Una Dabiero
Last week, America witnessed the 18th school shooting in 2018. The Parkland High School shooting was an outrage we were horrified, but not surprised, to see. 17 people were living their lives as usual before they were murdered by a white man with an AR-15, like hundreds of gun violence victims before them.
But over the weekend, the conversation shifted in a way that makes this shooting feel unfamiliar. This new conversation has somehow broken us out of a drudge where gun violence is something we are desensitized to. Rather than focusing on the shooter, his motivations, or his 'mental illness,' we are talking about the High School survivors. And we're talking about the change they are trying to effect.
This is what feels different: We are talking about the affected students making change and not the shooter and his motivations. The whole conversation has shifted.
— Evelyn Lauer (@evelynalauer) February 19, 2018
Parkland is different, I can feel it. I’ve never heard students and survivors be so vocal post-attack. I’ve never seen this much media focus put on the victims and survivors. It’s important. Keep pushing.
— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) February 17, 2018
One specific High Schooler, Emma Gonzalez, moved the nation on Saturday when she gave a speech about gun control at a rally full of Parkland High Schoolers
She called 'BS' on current attitudes and legislation surrounding guns. "They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call B.S.!," she said, "They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call B.S.! They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call B.S.! They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call B.S.! That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call B.S.!”
Behind her, her classmates and supporters swore they would be "the last school shooting."
Her passion and insight inspired people to look at this shooting differently
"I know that it's hard to watch those videos, and some people are saying 'how dare they post something like that'—no, if we had to live through it, you should have to live through it too, if that's what it's gonna take for you to understand what it feels like."
~ Emma Gonzalez
— William LeGate (@williamlegate) February 19, 2018
If you told me that there would be a day when a high school student could beat the US President in a debate, I would have called you crazy.
Then Emma Gonzalez spoke.
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) February 18, 2018
We are with you Emma Gonzalez ✊🏽 https://t.co/M62MbgwiVm
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) February 19, 2018
And Emma isn't the only survivor voicing the need for change. Parkland students swore to make things different from the day of the tragedy.
In one viral video, 17-year-old David Hogg called for action, reminding Congress, "We're children. You guys are the adults"
And countless survivors have been speaking out on Twitter and met with massive support
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
despite having our hearts ripped out of our chests. Despite losing our friends and coaches. Despite living through a nightmare. As students of Douglas, we are the voice of this generation. And I’ll be damned if anyone thinks they can silence us.
— kyra (@longlivekcx) February 18, 2018
— Aly Sheehy (@Aly_Sheehy) February 18, 2018
With this momentum, they've inspired a March in Washington D.C., and a nation-wide walk out
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
This level of survivor mobilization hasn't been seen before. The Parkland High School survivors are poised to inspire a movement strong enough to effect real change, by reminding us gun violence isn't normal, it can happen to anyone, and it is something we can change.