This last week brought us yet another school shooting in the United States. Death total: 16 children, 1 teacher, and all semblance of civil discourse on the American gun epidemic perpetrated largely by white male shooters.
Instead of focusing on the while male shooter who checked almost all of the usual domestic terrorist boxes: confirmed as abusive to women, reputed to be abusive to animals, and confirmed to have embraced white supremacist beliefs (not yet confirmed “christian,” usually the final box), I’d rather focus on the heroic survivors and how they are unflinchingly changing the narrative about school shooting and guns in America.
First, these teens are all incredibly media literate. In addition to live-tweeting, shooting live video, and otherwise working to control the narrative during the shooting (while they were at risk!), they have been dominating the media narrative ever since. By drowning out the usual GOP and NRA-driven pablum of “it’s not time to talk about this yet – even if it has been 20 years since Sandy Hook with dozens of school shootings in between then and now,” or “but it must be mental illness – in spite of the low percentage of actually mentally ill people who harm others with guns hurr durr durr,” or “here are a bunch of useless, garbage thoughts and prayers – instead of actual action to prevent more shootings” or any number of other trite statements, these kids are making sure we work to make change happen this time.
They are sharing their live videos with the masses, doing savvy interviews with the press about the impact of this shooting on their lives, planning school walkouts, organizing a march on Washington, and even getting their local sheriff to take a stand. Could this be the breath of hope we’ve been waiting for on this issue? Time will tell.
Meanwhile, we firmly support their efforts and will amplify and participate fully, however we can. We stand with these kids for gun reform in America. To that end, let me center them in their own words by highlighting some of their efforts from the last few days:
The video, for those who are asking. pic.twitter.com/KCCfuiFhQK
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) February 15, 2018
— mieke eoyang (@MiekeEoyang) February 16, 2018
A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatized from this tragedy. This could have been prevented. Please stfu tomi https://t.co/qNo03ZE3Ev
— kyra (@longlivekcx) February 15, 2018
I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns. https://t.co/XnzhvuN1zd
— carly (@car_nove) February 15, 2018
This interview was taken by a student at the school, talking to fellow students while they hid from the active shooter in a closet.
“My message for the people in office is: you’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” says Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS who survived the shooting https://t.co/23UcS7BvpW https://t.co/ERSSNzMPbu
— CNN (@CNN) February 18, 2018
Parkland student also demonstrated at the NRA offices.
Of note, as The Atlantic pointed out, this isn’t the first time teens have tried to change the narrative here. Here’s hoping this time it sticks.
Header image credit, Sun Sentinel