Last month, 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when a former student returned to the campus and opened fire. In the wake of that high profile shooting, despite the best efforts of “gun rights” activists, the movement for common sense gun control is continuing to build across the United States, culminating in part this Saturday with the March for Our Lives. The march will take place in Washington, D.C., with an array of affiliated demonstrations across the country.
As the country continues to feel the effects of the renewed movement for common sense gun control in the wake of Parkland, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft chose this week to lend his team’s plane to survivors of the Parkland shooting making their way to D.C. for the March for Our Lives.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said that Kraft was moved to do so by a specific request to that effect from former Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. Giffords is herself among the many faces of the movement for common sense gun control in the United States; she survived being shot in the head back in 2011.
Commenting to The Washington Post about the matter, Kelly said:
‘Not only did their friends and teachers get shot and killed, other friends shot and injured… most of them, they had bullets flying over their heads. This is not fair that they have to deal with something like this at their age.’
The survivors of the Parkland shooting have worked to turn the period of recovery from their tragedy into something meaningful. Survivors like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez have conducted a string of media appearances on behalf of common sense gun control. Concurrently, on the recent one month anniversary of the Parkland shooting, students across the country held a walkout protest, leaving their classrooms for 17 minutes in a demonstration on behalf of common sense gun control.
Students who used the Patriots plane to get to D.C. on Thursday voiced their appreciation on Twitter.
Heading to D.C. & I’m so thankful to be here with so many amazing people. Thank you @Patriots for donating your plane to help us get to D.C.! And always so happy to have @isabelabarry by my side through everything I do✨? pic.twitter.com/o8I7EfzQED
— soy | #shineMSD (@SawyerRayne) March 22, 2018
— Kali Clougherty #ShineMSD (@kali4change) March 23, 2018
Thank you so much @Patriots for your generosity! We are so grateful to have been lent your plane to fly up to Washington DC. See you at the march!!
— ShineMSD (@ShineMsd) March 22, 2018
Besides the support of Giffords, Kelly, and Kraft, the students behind the March for Our Lives initiative have also attracted the support of high profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and George and Amal Clooney, who between the three of them contributed $1 million to the advocacy efforts. Other celebrities to donate include director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw and film studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn.
In the face of these advocacy efforts, the White House has dragged its feet, to say the least, not so far coming up with any new pieces of legislation to combat the proliferation of firearms in the United States. The administration did unveil a plan that includes increased support for arming teachers and the establishment of a commission led by Secretary of Education Betsy “Bears in Schools” DeVos for addressing school safety.
The tide of violence that the Parkland survivors and their allies hope to stem is substantial.
Since the beginning of this year, the Gun Violence Archive estimates that over 3,100 people have been killed in incidents of gun violence, excluding suicides.
Featured Image via Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call