Parkland students call out Trump, Rubio and the NRA

Dylan Stableford

Students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are demanding action on gun control — and they continue to call out politicians who accept donations from the National Rifle Association in the wake of last week’s massacre.

“If they accept this blood money, they are against the children,” senior Emma Gonzalez said on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday. “You’re either funding the killers, or you’re standing with the children.”

Both Gonzalez and David Hogg, a fellow senior at the high school, criticized Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who on Thursday expressed doubts about whether more gun laws would prevent these types of massacres.

“I’m trying to be clear and honest here — if someone’s decided ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they will find a way to get the gun to do it,” Rubio said in a speech on the Senate floor. “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a law to make it harder; it just means understand, to be honest, it isn’t going to stop this from happening.”

Gonzalez urged action.

“That might be true, but we don’t have to encourage them to get those guns,” Gonzalez said. “We can make it harder — absolutely make it harder. And we can prevent some seriously nasty crimes and some seriously indescribable tragedies from occurring. And if somebody doesn’t want to do that at this point, that’s pathetic.”

Said Hogg, “It’s absolutely terrifying that he immediately got up and started talking about how gun control is not the solution. Every answer is a solution at this point because we haven’t tried any of them. And we need a multifaceted approach to this extremely complex problem.”

The students also expressed their dismay over President Trump’s tweet suggesting that the FBI might have been able to stop the gunman who killed 17 people at the school had the bureau not been so focused on its investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.

“I think it’s disgusting, personally,” Hogg said. “My father’s a retired FBI agent and the FBI are some of the hardest working individuals I’ve ever seen in my life. They work every day 24/7 to ensure the lives of every single American in this country. And it’s wrong that the president is blaming them for this. After all, he is in charge of the FBI.”

Gonzalez said, “The FBI were some of the amazing first responders who were helping us get to safety. And the fact that he wants to discredit them in any way and he’s trying to shift our focus onto them is. … It’s not acceptable.”

Gonzalez has become one of the leading student voices to emerge in the days since the massacre. Her impassioned speech at a weekend rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday has been viewed more than 20 million times since it was posted to Facebook.

“They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence — we call B.S.!” she said at the rally. “They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun — we call B.S.! They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars — we call B.S.! They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred — we call B.S.! That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works — we call B.S.!”

And Gonzalez and her fellow students at Stoneman Douglas have become unlikely leaders in national debate over guns, organizing a national school walkout on March 14 and a “March For Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., on March 24 to demand action on gun control.

“We are going to make ourselves so loud and so brazen so they won’t be able to ignore us in the White House,” Delaney Tarr, another Stoneman Douglas senior who is helping to organize the “March For Our Lives” event, said on “CBS This Morning.”

“I hate that it took hitting me right at home for me to get involved with this,” Cameron Kasky, a junior at the school, added. “But I just have to forgive myself and keep moving.”

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