Every time there is a mass shooting involving students in America, we collectively hope that this time will be different. We hope that something will break the usual cycle of grief, anger, condolences, and inaction by Republican politicians. When the attention fades, Republicans take the opportunity to weaken gun control laws.
The students that survived the February 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida might just be the catalyst for change. Instead of quietly going back to school, these students are refusing to be ignored. They are not letting this issue fade from the national consciousness.
Survivors of this shooting have taken aim at the root of the issue: things never change because right-wing politicians don’t want them to. And right-wing politicians don’t want things to change because they count on funding from the National Rifle Association.
Students have held rallies and eloquently stated their position.
Emma Gonzalez. A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
An American Hero.
All of it.
The young people will set us free. https://t.co/yftQ2OeZfO
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) February 17, 2018
They have sat down with national media and challenged the status quo:
Student David Hogg who survived the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting has a message for President Trump: “We've seen a government shutdown. Tax reform. But nothing to save our children's lives. Are you kidding me?… You sicken me.” (edited) pic.twitter.com/UZBXePaoSi
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 18, 2018
In response, President Trump honored the victims by not playing golf for exactly two days (he was back to it on Monday). He hung out and watched a lot of television, and then hit up a Mar-a-Lago party to make small talk about the massacre.
One thing that Trump does excel at is doggedly finding a way to reach new lows.
CNN is doing their part to amplify the voices of the students involved in the massacre. One commonality that’s woven throughout each student’s previous statements regarding the way forward is that they would welcome the opportunity to directly speak to Trump. This is why CNN invited Trump to meet with the students during a town hall meeting.
‘President Donald Trump also declined a invitation to speak to the students and parents.’
Just let that sink in. He declined. Instead of going, will be spending that evening rubbing shoulders with the head of the NRA at CPAC.
The reactions on Twitter are sad and savage.
Why did Trump decline? What is he afraid of? These students deserve answers.
— Boston Leigh ? (@GirlNamedBoston) February 19, 2018
Of course @realDonaldTrump declined! Because he has no empathy and no answers
— Jordan E. Jaquay (@coachjakes12tvc) February 19, 2018
@realDonaldTrump you’re in Florida on our dime anyways.. show up.
— Jamie Garwood (@garwoodj) February 19, 2018
RUBIO AND TRUMP ARE AFRAID OF TEENAGERS BC THEY SHOULD BE! I’ve never been more proud of this generation!
— Princess of Brunei (@arjonbenet) February 19, 2018
Well of course they did! They don't want to deal with the real issues. They know the kids are going to shred them.
— Karmascoming4u (@rayofliteindark) February 19, 2018
Scott and Trump declining is no surprise – @POTUS will be in bed with a cheeseburger by 9 PM and Rick Scott is bought and paid for by the @NRA. Imagine – a current Republican protecting his interest group over his constituents #Bluewave2018 ? #VoteThemOut
— Alexander T Riggs (@ARiggsKY) February 19, 2018
I feel sorry for the Congressman that are attending, they are gonna get served by kids who are 150% smarter then them, this is a MUST WATCH!!!! #MarchForOurLives
— Todd Vincent (@wingnut2112) February 19, 2018
— Mark Deitch (@MarkDeitch1) February 19, 2018
#TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids #TrumpAfraidOfKids
— WE MUST CALL OUT LIARS (@Trump_Rhymes) February 19, 2018
— Matthew (@Lynk__) February 19, 2018
But he won't attend this town hall?
I suggest Mr. Scott that you DO NOT run for Senate.
— lynda (@crazyfamilyomg) February 19, 2018
– Visites hospital (PR gig… didn't even visit those recovering from shooting)
– In aftermath of shooting, threw a gala at his Florida golf course (is this guy for real?)
– Now, as the head of the country, won't answer questions about mass shootings, gun control, from TEENAGERS.
— Sascha Rainier (@Silent__C) February 19, 2018
Trump doesn’t have the balls to show up. What a weak President. Shame on you!
— Jim (@zeeman1011) February 19, 2018
Scott and Trump – two NRA peas in a rotting pod. They can't handle the passion and intellect of these young people and their families.
— Nina Espina (@espinaDuran) February 19, 2018
Governor Scott can’t make it. He’s speaking at an NRA meeting in Dallas.
— Matthew (@Matthew34534401) February 19, 2018
Chickensh*t Trump and Gov Scott! Their attendance should be mandatory FFS! Please moderators of this event disclose and ask for explanations regarding how much each politician received from the #NRA .
— Suzanne Woodard ? (@whidbeywoodard) February 19, 2018
Bone spurs acting up, Mr. President?
— Dawn Sherling (@dharrissherling) February 19, 2018
Featured image: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty