Following the Valentine’s Day mass-shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of students who experienced the shooting first hand, and those who have been inspired to be apart of the movement, have begun what some are considering to be a new-age revolution.
Being interviewed by news outlets after the massacre, students took advantage of their new-found platform to express their disappointments, not only with the National Rifle Association, but also in the gun laws currently implemented in the U.S. that some students and citizens believe to be ineffective, particularly in realms of purchasing assault weapons.
The U.S. makes up less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but holds 31 percent of global mass shooters, according to a CNN study on gun violence in America and around the world. Many of the responses from students in the interviews gained momentum and went viral on social media.
This propelled the students to take questions and conversations beyond the television interviews and consequently spent their days shortly after the shooting speaking out against Washington, whether it be in the form of a walkout or sit-in. A panel of students and parents from Parkland appeared on CNN’s “Stand Up” town hall meeting Feb. 21 with Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ben Nelson, Rep. Ted Deutch, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch. President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott of Fla. declined to attend the event.
The students asked a number of questions ranging from “Do you believe it should be harder to obtain semi-automatic weapons and fully automatic weapons?”, “Why should we (students) have to march on Washington to save innocent lives?” and “Will you reject NRA money?”
“There is a message that’s come through loud and clear, and that is beyond simply the pain— mixed with that pain is a demand for action,” Sen. Rubio said. “I think all of us would like to see that action, but I want to tell you what we’re going to struggle with… we’re a nation of people that have isolated ourselves politically and to a point where discussions like this have become very difficult,” he said.
According to CNN Politics, Sen. Rubio accepted two donations of $4,950 from the NRA; one donation given prior to the Florida Senate primaries and the other following his winning of the Republican nomination.
President Trump has since proposed the idea of giving armed teachers a bonus to compensate for gun training, saying that shooters “will not walk into a school if 20 percent of the teachers have guns.”
“Teachers don’t want to be armed, we want to teach,” Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers said. “We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be sharpshooters.”
After the town hall meeting, many felt as if their concerns will not be met with substantial changes in policy. “It was more of a debate than a discussion,” Avery Anger who is a survivor of the shooting said. “I don’t feel like they answered my questions.”