Students are ready to take action themselves and they want to change things now
UPDATE 5:30 PM – Right now, over 18,000 people across the country plan to attend the National School Walkout planned for March 14th– a date which is exactly one month after the shooting occurred. There also a plan to march on Washington on March 24th to demand what they feel is that children and their families MUST “become a priority” to US lawmakers. They want other protests to happen simultaneously in other cities on the same day.
Something happened this weekend that will change the way the state of Florida looks at gun legislation and perhaps it will have national repercussions. I watched on the BBC as did millions around the world and in the United States, on CNN and MSNBC.
We saw students challenge the lawmakers calling for a national march on Washington as well as marches and walkouts to be held throughout the United States. This will be schools, colleges and international support is growing for marches and walkouts.
Thousands of students, parents and a small group of lawmakers got together in Ft. Lauderdale. They were there to grief together but make no mistake about it they were also there to show their anger at Florida’s lawmakers and the president.
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where Wednesday 17 of their classmates were killed have a message for President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott along Sen. Marco Rubio and better listen. They said that any lawmakers who took money from the National Rifle Association (NRA), including Gov. Scott and Sen. Rubio had “Blood on their hands.”
Furthermore, the students were quick to say to lawmakers, that your thoughts and prayers are meaningless if you don’t begin to enact common-sense gun laws, address the mental health issues facing citizens in the United States and have a plan to keep students safe in their classrooms.
There were many who spoke all with the same message one that was best summed up by a survivor of Wednesday’s massacre.
“The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call ‘B.S.,'” Emma Gonzalez, a student who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said. “We are prepared to call ‘B.S.'”
They were all very clear that they wanted the state to take up common-sense new gun restrictions. They also made sure they did not leave out Gov. Scott, Sen. Rubio, President Trump, or the National Rifle Association (NRA) who they deemed to be their self-serving and ultimately hollow responses to the shooting.
Many students held signs demanding new action on gun control. “My friend died for what?” read one sign. “Stop gun violence now,” read another.
The students are mad and they want a debate, they want to confront the lawmakers face to face. That could happen as soon as this week as CNN has offered to set up a town hall meeting.
Invitations went out to the students, as well as President Trump, Florida Gov. Scott, Rep. Ted Deutch (R-Fla.) and Sens. Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). We know that President Trump won’t be there and as for the other lawmakers News Talk Florida was informed that they are giving the meeting strong consideration as they checking schedules.
Students are hoping that the state of Florida who has some of the most liberal gun laws in the United States will reconsider the laws on the books in favor of stronger gun restrictions.
Not lost on the students is the fact that Gov. Scott has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association and his strong pro-gun position earned him praise from the organization. In 2014 the NRA sent an email out to the membership stating that Governor Rick Scott has now signed more pro-gun bills into law — in one term — than any other Governor in Florida history.”
It should be noted that Gov. Scott said on Friday in an interview with CNN “All options are on the table including common sense gun laws.” Also, in a Friday meeting at the White House the Washington Post reports that prior to leaving for Florida he told his team that “something has to be done.”
Broward County students have been contacted by students worldwide and there will be a national march on Washington as soon as this Spring. There is also a very strong possibility there will a student march on Tallahassee.
The big question remains can students do something their parents and others tried to do for years. Can they force the Sunshine State and politicians nationally to change gun laws, look at mental health issues and address school safety in a meaningful way?
I don’t know but I do know some can vote now and others are just a few years away so their voices need to be heard.