Alfonso Calderon, a Florida school shooting survivor: "Trust me, I understand. I was in a closet locked, for four hours...I understand what it's like to text my parents, 'goodbye, I might never ever get to see you again, I love you'" pic.twitter.com/UaooVSPNNA-- BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 21, 2018
It has been a momentous week, to say the least - in the wake of the horrific mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, many of the families and surviving students have been loudly protesting for stricter gun regulations and laws, joining in the chorus of other Americans who feel the same way (which is literally around 97%, by the way).
American voters support stricter gun laws 66-31%, the highest level ever measured by @QuinnipiacPoll.-- Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 20, 2018
• Universal background checks 97-2%
• Nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons 67-29%
• Mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases 83-14%
And that's what's setting this gun massacre apart from the dozens and dozens that preceded it in the last few years - the surviving students who lived through the nightmare are speaking up, using social media platforms and news interviews to make the world know "HEY, NEARLY GETTING MURDERED AND HAVING TO WATCH A BUNCH OF YOUR CLASSMATES DIE ISN'T FUN."
We are KIDS - not actors. We are KIDS that have grown up in Parkland all of our lives. We are KIDS who feared for our lives while someone shot up our school. We are KIDS working to prevent this from happening again. WE ARE KIDS.-- Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) February 20, 2018
The gun lobby is clearly running scared over this - conspiracy theories have been abound over the outspoken teens, including: they're "crisis actors" (aka not actually students, but actual actors who are pretending to be students in order to push a political agenda), that they're being paid off by wealthy liberal donors, and a million other incredibly stupid things that needlessly complicate the unbelievably simple reality of "they don't like getting shot at." And for those pro-gun individuals who aren't so craven as to stoop to accusing teens of conspiracy, they're simply sticking to the message of "they're kids - we shouldn't take them seriously."
All of this came to a head last night, with a CNN town hall debate over gun control, attended (notably) by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch. It did....not go well, for either of them.
Rubio scores an own goal when he says the assault weapons ban "would literally ban every semi-automatic rifle that's sold in America" and the crowd erupts in cheers pic.twitter.com/VfIqxCloyo-- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 22, 2018
Remarkable. I don't think I ever expected a *Florida* sheriff to confront a NRA spokesperson this aggressively pic.twitter.com/fT1Jz8rQML-- Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) February 22, 2018
And among the solutions being peddled by NRA-supported politicians are "arming teachers" and "turning schools into prisons." And because we can't actually get any kind of gun legislation passed for some reason, all we can do is appreciate some jokes.
i believe in a shadowy organisation so powerful that it is able to manipulate public opinion by orchestrating false-flag attacks with actors as victims,-- Shaun (@shaun_jen) February 21, 2018
but i also believe this organisation is so incompetent as to use the same actors in multiple events. behold my amazing brain
The same people that said 13 and 14 year olds were perfectly mature enough to date Roy Moore are now saying 17 and 18 year olds are too immature to have opinions on gun control.-- Nicole (@NicoleK8686) February 19, 2018
Are high schoolers unqualified to discuss complicated policy issues? Up next we debate the issue with Ted Nugent and the father from Duck Dynasty-- Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) February 20, 2018
Wanted: Teacher-- Wendy Molyneux (@WendyMolyneux) February 21, 2018
Job Description: Low pay, no respect from society, might have to kill someone, probably a student, will need to know which one to kill while panicking, starts immediately, art supplies not provided.
school shooter (notoriously rational): according to my risk analysis the teachers at this school might have a gun so i've decided against doing the shooting-- the hippo account (@InternetHippo) February 22, 2018
Teachers should have guns.-- Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) February 22, 2018
Principals should have guns.
Waiters should have guns.
Tailors should have guns.
Doctors should have guns.
Nurses should have guns.
Uber drivers should have guns.
Dogs should have guns.
Cats should have guns.
Guns should also have other guns.
GUN PEOPLE: Whoa, let's not overreact here. Can't let a few dead children every so often limit our sacred Liberty and Freedom-- Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) February 22, 2018
ALSO GUN PEOPLE: DID YOU HEAR THEY'RE CONSIDERING A BAN ON BUMP STOCKS?! EVERYBODY BUY BUMP STOCKS NOW GO GO GO AHHHHHHH
Student: Can I go to the bathroom?-- F A D D E L G H A N D O U R 🇱🇧 (@faddelg7) February 19, 2018
Teacher: *reaching for gun* : I don't know, CAN you? https://t.co/xow7HKfy1K
Hero teacher gets shot by police who couldn't tell which random idiot with a gun was the school shooter-- pixelated boat [ASMR] binaural ~4 hours~ (@pixelatedboat) February 21, 2018
REPLACE MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL WITH TEENS OWNING ELECTED OFFICIALS SO HARD THAT THEY CRY-- Dan Ozzi (@danozzi) February 22, 2018
13. And, finally, the cast of Parks & Recreation all telling the NRA to go fuck themselves. We can't get further background check laws passed, but at least we can tell the NRA to leave Leslie Knope alone.