I had originally started writing a specific article about this shooting on February 14th, but because of how the days following it transpired, my original post, which was to discuss how SOMEONE needs to stand up and demand changes, has since evolved into this post. To talk about the fact SOMEONE has. Many SOMEONES. I had an 11 paragraph post all ready, just working on the last few details, when the words of 1 particular student caught my eye, and I realized all I was about to say..... was starting to happen already. Because of that, only about 1/2 of my original post has made it into this blog. The rest, I have re-written, three times now.
On February 14, 2018 I awoke (I had been sleeping through the days because of watching the Olympics, where the best the world has to show is on display. Ironic) to news there had been another massive school shooting in the United States Of America.
At Marjory Stomeman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A city with a population of only around 30, 000, students, teachers & staff had their lives taken from the, and for those who didn't get killed in the cowardly temper tantrum, their lives were still taken from, and replaced with a new life. One where fear & anxiety about anything might affect them for years to come.
Next to the actual shooting itself, what appalled me the most as I read up on this, was the cookie cutter “thoughts & prayers” the NRA bought politicians tossed around as freely as a drunk person at a party tosses around “woooo” at everything. None of them mean it. We all know they dont mean it, because they continue to accept bribes for death creators to profit. If one of them were to stop accepting the bribes, I'd be inclined to believe they have had a change of heart. But they don't. They continually accept blood money.
The NRA has so much political influence they have paid INDIVIDUAL members of government literally multiple millions of dollars to be their advocates in congress, and even the White House. They cant be beat by the well meaning public in the bribery department. They just cant. But, they CAN be beat.
At this point in the blog, I had planned to plead with the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of survivors of gun violence, and their close family and friends, to demand action. To finally step up & take a stand. I really felt this was a breaking point. If it didn't happen now, it may never actually happen. I had written, what I felt, was a strong several paragraph long statement on rallying around this moment. But a crazy thing happened, I wasn't actually needed (well, not to get it started).
As I scrolled through the media stories on the most recent tragedy, I came across a link to a young mans Facebook post. He has since removed his whole account because of growing threats against him from Russian paid bots & emotionally unstable manchildren, as well as a second one from that same day, which recounted what he had to endure there, as well as, demands for change. Luckily, I found his posts saved on a page called DailyKos. In there you can see the start of a movement that the country, and much of the world now knows as the Never Again MSD movement [twitter, (125K followers) facebook, (150K followers) instagram 16K followers]. Led by that young man who I first read about that night, Cameron Kasky, this movement has grown to include a Nationwide March that is scheduled to happen March 24th, 2018 & has managed to generate a live debate on Television with the survivors, parents of victims, a representative of the NRA and politicians which aired live on CNN.
With the addition of other incredibly vocal young voices from MSD, such as Emma Gonzalez, who generated so much support after her call out of "B.S." resonated across the country on most major news networks, that she generated a twitter account that got verified within 24 hours, and passed 1 million followers within a little more than a week. As well as David Hogg, who despite having a plethora of tweets about his time at MSD prior to the horrific events, has been called a "crisis actor" that supposedly was sent there to lobby for gun reform & never even went there (again, despite a plethora of tweets showing he IS from there). Sarah Chadwick, who garnered her most attention when she roasted a woefully unprepared radio & TV host who foolishly tweeted she was a sophomore in a tweet trying to take a jab at how her, and her new compatriots were talking about an elected official who cowardly insisted he would keep accepting bribes from the NRA at that town hall debate on CNN. Chadwick shut her down with 3 simple words "I'm a Junior". A searing jab at someone who felt she had the moral high road because of her age, but came across as foolish, and incompetent when she couldn't simply get 1 easy to find fact right.
The kids of Stoneman Douglas might be that rare, unique bunch that this fight needed. Well educated, angry, and frustrated. On top of that, they are so young, they don't actually KNOW that you just "can't" do things. They have been told their whole life they "can" do things if they just put their minds to it. The idea they can't do something just because no one else has yet seems illogical to them. They see a problem, see a simple solution, and go "well... do this, and this problem is fixed." and when someone tells them "well we can't", they simply reply "well, yes, you can, actually".
When Columbine happened, people were so in shock that it DID happen, to really get on top of the fight against it happening again. By the time people started discussing it, the NRA had put a stranglehold on their bought & paid for talking heads to push the discussion away from there. When it happened again at Virginia Tech, there was SOME pushback from it, but again, the tight grip of the NRA on the voices in charge saw those scattered pleas silenced. The world, as well as the country of the U.S.A. was sure when Sandy Hook happened, things would change. I mean HOW could anyone casually take bribes in the face of slaughtered 6 & 7 year olds? But they did, and that again, might have been because those that could have mounted the biggest offensive in that time, the survivors, were just too young to articulate what they were feeling. With the high school students of an affluent community like Parkland, in an era where social media sometimes has as much, or more value, than actually calling or writing to a member of Government, in the middle of this most recent avoidable tragedy, the narrative has shifted greatly.
This is a group of kids extremely capable of expressing their viewpoints. Many of the youngsters at the forefront of this charge were taking classes, or involved in extra curricular activities which make them uniquely qualified to take this on. They are capable of standing up to the plethora of misinformed critics. They were forged in a generation that uses social media to trash talk each other as a hobby. Telling them they are actors, or are a grade lower than they are is not going to phase them. If anything, it will only make them strike you back twice as hard on a platform they have mastered.
This is a group that in the early days was a bit individualistic in its approach, as the Sarahs, Davids & Camerons of the campaign all seemed to be attacking on their own fronts. They were doing something that the Gun Debate had never had before in all the prior attacks. They had survivors stepping up, and telling the talking heads, YES, NOW IS THE TIME. They had survivors going on the offensive. They had survivors directing their anger in ways no other group had before, directly at the politicians who allowed such loose gun laws to exist. While they have placed blame on many facets, the largest target on their attack has been clear & simple to follow, stop allowing assault style weapons to be purchased by the public. They have also been very clear about who they hold accountable for these failings. Government officials mostly, authorities as well.
While these youngsters were busy coping with the death of friends, classmates & faculty, they also were busy coping with who to press for changes. They organized a trip to the Florida Capital to watch a bill get shot down. They took dozens, maybe even hundreds, of TV and print interviews on what they needed, and from who. When I tweeted in the early hours of February 15th "Will someone give @cameron_kasky a National Podium to talk on right now? Survivor of yesterdays School shooting is well thought out, angry, and wants change. Someone let him speak up." I was really hoping someone was going to take notice. I tweeted it at 9 different news & talk programs/stations, and while some of them were a little slow on the draw, I believe all of them, sooner or later, had him on. As well as an almost daily growing roster of strong, well thought out, and still angry teens who can smell the fear in the air from the gun obsessed NRA cowards.
I had started writing this blog post, hoping I would inspire anyone, whether they were from that school, or elsewhere, to take a stand. To be the guiding voice in this fight. While I felt, it was possible a movement COULD start this time. I had my doubts much would come of it without someone stepping up & taking charge. But for the first time in my lifetime, I see REAL hope for REAL change. This group of youth has made changes already. A national gun debate happened on live television, notable gun favorable politicians have admitted that changes need to happen, and on March 24th, they will hold a massive march in Washington DC, the March For Our Lives will take place, as well as smaller marches all across the country. Changes haven't exactly happened YET, but the ingredients for it are already being mixed together. There is real hope this time that real changes will happen. Even the deeply bribed President has publicly acknowledged that some things need to change.
In my original blog post that I mostly scrapped, I had stated, that someone needed to create a march. Some type of protest. To get angry, and inconvenience the world till their voices were recognized, heard, and acted upon. It never occurred to me that all my suggestions, which I had spent so much time writing up a post about to try and inspire some people would all happen because of this incredible group from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida before I even finished it.
I have honestly tried to write posts in the past demanding the same action I am seeing this time. After Las Vegas. After Orlando I wrote blogs, similar to this one.... but I never finished them. I got distracted, I got lost in what exactly I was looking for from it, and eventually, time passed & I felt the impact of posting it was just going to fall on deaf ears as I saw the world already "moving on". It is different this time. Everyone sees it. Everyone feels it. Everyone knows it. Everyone on both sides of the debate, whether they are part of the 97+% of Americans who feel background checks need to be stricter, or, they are part of the 5 million NRA members who try and push that number around to try and make it sound important (for a stark reality check, thats only 1.5% of the American population, and less than 0.07% of the Worlds population). As John Oliver once pointed out on Last Week Tonight, they have less members than Planet Fitness. Yet still, politicians & some parts of the public get deluded into thinking they are unbeatable. They roll over & accept that things "can't" change, because this vocal minority tells them they can't change things. But right now, this very moment, a group of people who are not yet even legally old enough to vote, are making it abundantly clear to everyone, they CAN be silenced. They CAN be stopped. They CAN be defeated.
On March 24th, 2018 a crowd will come to hear speeches from individuals who hold no public office, have no albums, movies, tv shows or modeling contracts. A group that is not even legally allowed to vote yet, speak on making changes to gun laws. That crowd, will ABSOLUTELY be larger than the crowd that came to see the inauguration of the current "acting" President. The combined marches around the country will ABSOLUTELY be larger than the combined base of the NRA.
To any current politicians who are actively taking bribes from the NRA that might read this. This is a simple, clear cut situation that you can not fence sit on.
You either are in support of murdering people, including children in their schools.
You are in support of your constituents, you are in support of their right to live, you are in support of making it illegal for people who probably are unfit enough to manage a social media account, access to machinery that can mass kill.
Whichever side you choose. The paltry bribes from a group who supports terror on its public, or, remaining gainfully employed, that is up to you. You can unfortunately, no longer have both. It is time to make a choice.
To the amazing youngsters at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. To the amazing staff at their school who have helped them become who they are. To their parents, and friends, and the community who have rallied behind their decision to take action. You have every reasonable persons support, applause, thanks and gratitude.
To the Amazing companies who have cut ties with the NRA in light of the recent changes in the publics perception of the organization. THANK YOU!. To the companies who sell guns & gun accessories who have decided to take it upon themselves to stop selling the weapons that have caused the most terror on Americans, and have put in age limits, without any pressure from law makers. THANK YOU! Just a few I can recall right now.(thanks to HelloGiggles for compiling many of them into 1 list)
- Dick's Sporting Goods (they wrote a letter stating they had sold a gun to the Parkland shooter, not the weapon he used, but a gun that COULD have been used. They are going to stop selling specific types of guns, and gun accessories, and would have a mandatory 21 years or older policy.) twitter facebook
- Walmart twitter facebook
- Hertz Car Rental twitter facebook
- Enterprise Car Rentals twitter facebook
- Best Western twitter facebook
- Wyndham Hotels twitter facebook
- Delta Airlines twitter facebook
- United Airlines twitter facebook
- Allied Van Lines twitter facebook
- Chubb twitter
- MetLife twitter facebook
- Avis twitter facebook
- North American Van Lines twitter facebook
- Teladoc twitter facebook
- TrueCar twitter facebook
- Simplisafe twitter facebook
- Starkey Hearing Foundation twitter facebook
- Symantec twitter facebook
- First National Bank Of Omaha (the ones who got the ball rolling when they stated they will no longer offer an NRA credit card). twitter facebook
There ARE companies standing behind the terror supporting group still. Most notably Amazon, FedEx. Personally, I am proud to say I have never used Amazon. But I sadly have used FedEx on multiple occasions over the years for specific customers. A practice I will NEVER do again..... even if today they cave to the pressure, because trying to justify keeping them JUST ONCE, is enough for me to be done with them.
If you want to read more of the comments, thoughts and see more articles from the powerful group of youth that have come out of this Florida shooting (and I really recommend doing so if you have some time). I have made a twitter list of those I have found so far HERE
While we may not know for some time what the full impact of this horrific event will be on the culture of guns in the United States. I think everyone who has been paying attention for the last two weeks can say with certainty, this time, this group, there will be changes, and probably many changes.
*edits added - March 2, 2018
About this blog
Canadagraphs personal blog page - rants, praise, observations and opinions.