A New Activism
- 02/22/2018 by Linda Perry (WBAI News)

Parkland Students and Parents at CNN Town Hall, February 21, 2018
Students have taken the lead in the national debate on gun control after a 19-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle murdered 17 and injured at least 14 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th. Students who survived the massacre have been recounting the terror they experienced in what was supposed to be a safe place, their school.

They've been sharing their tears, their grief, their rage, as well as their fierce determination to get lawmakers to make changes in the nation's gun laws. These Florida students are facing down trolls on social media, taking on the NRA, spearheading a national student movement and reminding the country what strength of character looks like. 

On Wednesday evening, CNN held a Town Hall in Florida with Parkland students and parents. High school student Cameron Kasky addressed Florida Senator Marco Rubio, "It's hard to look at you and not look down a barrel of an AR-15,” said Kasky. He went on to grill the Senator about taking NRA money. "In the name -- in the name of 17 people, you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?" Rubio said, "I think in the name of 17 people, I can pledge to you that I will support any law that will prevent a killer like this from getting a gun." To jeers, implying he isn't bought by the NRA he said, "People buy into my agenda.” 

When there is a mass shooting gun rights proponents say it’s too soon or inappropriate to bring up gun reform and they attack the media. At CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, current NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch said, “Now I’m not saying that you love the tragedy, but I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold.”

Zoning in on one of the NRA’s favorite punching bags, one Trump uses often, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre said, “Opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain.. with “the breathless media ready to smear the NRA.” LaPierre described schools as  “wide open soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder.” He says, “Lean in and never forget these words. “To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun.”  

Comments following CPAC by Donald Trump come straight from LaPierre's NRA playbook. Trump said, “If you harden the sites, you’re not going to have this problem because these guys who lack courage will never go into those schools. Those schools are going to be safe, but when you say a school is gun free, its got no guns no nothing, its gun free, boy that’s what they want to hear.”  He has been pushing a proposal to arm trained teachers with guns in the nation's schools.