“They messed with the wrong ones,” an alum of Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said recently during a fundraising event held here for the victims of the shooting that left 17 dead.
Vowing to change or revise a conversation about gun control, the fired up patron joined graduates of the Parkland community institution to raise moneys and also endorse a March 14 national student walkout at schools but mostly to promote the March For Our Lives protest rally slated to be held in Washington D.C. on March 24.
Angered after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a troubled former student at the school confessed to assassinating his former schoolmates and a coach using a legally-purchased AR-15 semi-automatic rifle she expressed determination to wage war against the National Rifle Association, elected officials, and supporters of the sale of assault weapons.
Ready to join half a million students and supporters of the national anti-gun demonstration she is mobilizing with a delegation from New York to convince Congress of the urgency of their action.
No one had ever issued such a declaration – not after mass killings of 49 party-goers to a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, 58 country music lovers in Las Vegas, nine, Blacks worshippers at a Charleston South Carolina Church, 20 first graders and six adults in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, 15 high school-aged students at Columbine, Colorado, 32 students and faculty at Virginia Polytechnic and all the tragedies that have shamed the most boastful country for being the leader of the free world, the most powerful and most Democratic.
Issuing an ultimatum to detractors of a campaign to end random shooting, the make and sale of assault weapons at gun shows and also reprimand and penalize enablers, students are also meeting in towns, cities and states to use the date to convince the president of the United States to rebuke the NRA and spare the nation’s children.
Emma Gonzalez, a current student at the southern institution captured worldwide attention when she called for a public student protest. Addressing a crowd, she delivered a powerful speech assailing President Donald Trump. She accused him of accepting hefty multi-million-dollar donations from the gun lobby to fund his campaign.
Like her like-minded New York sympathizer, she too promised to strive to make her school the location for “the last mass shooting.”
In making the vow, the 18-year-old urged politicians to join a conversation about gun control.
“We want to give them the opportunity to be on the right side of this,” she said.
In addition to challenging President Trump, Gonzalez cited the need for cooperation from Florida’s Republican elected representatives Sen. Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott.
Rubio, a former presidential hopeful has attracted criticism for accepting millions in political help from pro-gun groups, has since posted on social media that he would participate in the protest.
Singling out links between politicians and the powerful gun advocacy organization, Cameron Kasky another student said any politician “who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this” and should be held accountable.
They are “fostering and promoting this gun culture,” Kasky added. The students seek “a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s accepting money from the NRA.”
The fact white supremacists have been waging war against individuals and groups they hate and feel compelled to eliminate by indiscriminately shooting into mass gatherings is an urgent initiative politicians she is convinced should be fixing.
Kasky initiated the fundraising campaign to aid what is expected to be a massive movement. She said the money will go towards the organizing process required as well as contribute to the victims’ families.
Her statement caught traction with power couple George and Amal Clooney.
The actor and his wife pledged to donate $500,000 to the cause.
“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School,” Clooney said in a statement.
“Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating 500,000 dollars to help pay for this groundbreaking event. Our children’s lives depend on it.”
Movie director Steven Spielberg did the same with film producer and Jeffrey Katzenberg, former CEO of DreamWorks Animation matching that amount.
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey followed her rich colleagues by donating another half a million.
She said students represented “inspiring young people” and that they reminded her of the Freedom Riders of the 1960s.
In less than 24 hours, major celebrities joined thousands of people all over the world to raise more than three million dollars for the march.
The United States has more mass shootings than any other country in the entire world. That’s a fact.
No other developed nation comes close to the rate of US gun violence. Americans own an estimated 265million guns, more than one gun for every adult.
Reportedly, Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than many leading causes of death combined tallying approximately 11,000 people in the US killed in firearm assaults each year.
“Studies indicate that the rate at which public mass shootings occur has tripled since 2011. Between 1982 and 2011, a mass shooting occurred roughly once every 200 days. However, between 2011 and 2014 that rate has accelerated greatly with at least one mass shooting occurring every 64 days in the United States.”
Often employing assault weaponry killers achieve maximum casualties with the ammunition’s rapid dispense of bullets targeting unarmed and unsuspecting victims.
In response to the frequency of incidents and outcry from anti-gun groups, the president proposed more guns in schools to include the arming of all teachers. Some teachers expressed outrage citing that their mission is to educate not contribute to adding to the gun cache.
With each new tragedy much is made to avoid blaming white men, Americans, domestic terrorists, racists and gun collectors.
“It’s not a Republican or Democratic thing,” is often a talking point while placing much of the blame on mental illness.
Reportedly, there have been 1,624 shootings in 1,870 days.
Excuses against reforms of gun laws have also mostly focused on second amendment Constitutional provisions guaranteeing ownership of guns for protection.
Most of Congress and the White House defend a literal view of the Amendment which promises a right “to keep and bear arms.”
The fact the founding founders specified such a right, speaks to the long history and obsession sacred to American citizens who interpret the provision to mean that every individuals should own weapons of mass destruction.
The students claim they will be targeting any politician who receive support from the powerful gun lobby, with the aim of creating “a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s accepting money from the NRA.”
The NRA, a traditional ally of Republicans has since been losing major support from companies. Many have recently severed ties with them, among them: First National Bank of Omaha, the nation’s largest privately held bank; car rental companies — Enterprise, Alamo, National, Hertz, Avis and Budget; Symantec, a cyber-security company, insurers MetLife and Chubb and Delta Airlines.
Wayne LaPierre chief of the NRA countered saying “you should be anxious and frightened” of the wave rising against the NRA.”
Apparently the wave has been propelled by students.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo added to the conversation saying “students are displaying more responsibility than politicians.”
According to the New York governor, under his direction since last December, 75,000 mentally ill people were placed in a state database designed to keep guns out of the hands of unstable and dangerous people.
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