As Parkland anniversary approaches, anti-gun efforts step up

(Max Ortiz/Detroit News via AP)

It’s been nearly five years now since the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was a horrific day for everyone involved.

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Hell, it was a bad day for me and I was hundreds of miles away. It was infinitely worse for those who lost someone or witnessed the carnage first-hand.

With this anniversary coming up tomorrow, the anti-gun efforts are stepping up as well.

David Hogg fine-tunes his kick-flip between classes at Harvard and his work building consensus around gun violence prevention. Cameron Kasky immerses himself in comedy and writing in Los Angeles, frustrated with a broken American political system. Sari Kaufman flies to protests of the gun industry across the country while managing her political science coursework at Yale.

Nearly five years since a gunman killed 17 of their classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, three survivors at the forefront of the March For Our Lives movement in 2018 spoke with USA TODAY about their lives now – and what they want Americans to know as the nation reflects on the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“I’m still feeling the impacts of the shooting every day,” Kaufman said.

In May, Kasky watched as news broke of a former student fatally shooting 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Just like in Parkland, armed officers didn’t go inside, he said. He fears Americans simply don’t have the “bandwidth” to mobilize around school shootings anymore.

“Any gun control nonprofit can print out a list of accomplishments that have been made and talk about them, but in all reality what’s been done to stop school shootings?” he said.

So why did he pursue comedy?

“When you meet certain members of Congress and look them in the eye, it’s hard not to want to parody everything you ever see.”

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Interestingly, USA Today failed to speak to any Parkland survivor who was pro-gun. They exist, of course. Kyle Kashuv, for example, was at the same school that day and has been an outspoken critic of his peers’ efforts. Why no mention of him or literally any of the other survivors who refuse to try and take away people’s rights because of the actions of a single deranged individual?

The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t fit the post-Parkland narrative. That narrative is one in which all the students stand united, and it’s only us stubborn old folks who refuse to budge.

But the students of Parkland aren’t as in lockstep as the media would like you to believe, and that matters.

If literal survivors of mass shootings don’t agree that gun control is the answer, why should anyone else?

What happened that day was awful, but as we’ve talked about ad nauseum, there were multiple failures that day. None of them, however, were attributable to guns, gun rights, or anything of the sort.

It’s just too bad that in all the talk about the anniversary of a horrible tragedy, that will never come up.

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