In the wake of the tragic massacre at the Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School, Florida, the survivors of the shooting will be heading to Washington to protest the American government’s soft stance on gun control.
The students, who’ve gone through hell this week, want their voices to be heard loud and clear when it comes to the country’s debate on guns.
Last week’s attack left 17 people dead – including members of staff as well as students – after alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz walked onto the premises with an AR-15 assault rifle.
It’s the deadliest school shooting in the country since 2012’s attack at Sandy Hook, Connecticut, where a total of 27 people died – not including the perpetrator’s mother at home.
Yesterday, (February 17), protestors chanted ‘shame on you’ towards US lawmakers, as well as President Donald Trump, a noted pro-gun advocate, who’s so far done little to address America’s gun culture problem.
In the past, Trump has stated how he’d never ‘infringe’ on US citizens’ rights to bear arms, however, in the wake of this latest massacre, which is the 18th school shooting in America this year, the pressure is on him to take decisive action.
In typical Trump style, he’s tried to shift the blame towards the previous administration (under Obama) and the FBI, who he feels focused more time on the Russia investigation instead of working on previous tip-offs about Nikolas Cruz.
It remains up for debate whether these are genuine points made by the POTUS or a tactic to derail the ongoing investigation into his administration?
In the wake of Sandy Hook, President Obama pushed for tighter gun laws but was blocked at every turn by a majority-Republican held House of Congress – many of whom have received sizeable donations from the country’s most powerful gun lobbyists, the National Rifle Association, (NRA).
Speaking to the media on Sunday morning, survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School announced their ‘March for Our Lives’ campaign.
The students are planning to march on Washington come March 24 to demand children and their families ‘become a priority’ to US lawmakers, when the debate of tougher gun laws comes up again.
They’re also encouraging other cities across America to take part in the protest on the same day, as an act of unity and solidarity.
Cameron Kasky, a survivor from last week’s attack said:
We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around.
Students and parents – along with politicians – took part in an emotionally-charged rally in Fort Lauderdale, close to Parkland.
"They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS!" Florida high school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez calls on President Trump and lawmakers to tighten gun restrictions in impassioned speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale https://t.co/DgnqrrVs9x
— CNN (@CNN) February 17, 2018
The climax of the event came when high school student Emma Gonzalez took to the stand and launched a barrage of criticisms on President Trump, as well as other politicians for accepting political donations from the NRA.
At one point the 18-year-old student said:
If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face it was a terrible tragedy and how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,
It doesn’t matter because I already know. Thirty million dollars.
To every politician who’s taking donations from the NRA – shame on you!
According to a study from the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA managed to spend $11.4m (£8.1m) supporting Mr Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign and a further $19.7m opposing Hillary Clinton, report the BBC.
Our thoughts continue to go out to all those affected by this tragedy.