‘Why was a student able to terrorize my school Mr President?’
It’s no secret that mass shootings in America are common. Though it's only February, there has been 30 of them so far in 2018. When a gunman opened fire on students and staff at a high school in Parkland, Florida earlier this week, killing at least 17 people, it was the 18th school shooting of the year.
What makes Florida’s school shooting on Wednesday markedly different has been the victims' and witnesses' determination to take control and dominate the narrative. Despite their young age, many of the students who were trapped in the shooting have used social media to take on Donald Trump and right wing commentator Tomi Lahren, in the process articulating America’s policy problems better than most adults could.
Lahren took to Twitter in the wake of the tragedy to bash the left: “Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gun owner agenda? My goodness. This isn't about a gun it's about another lunatic. #FloridaShooting”.
Parkland students used their accounts to reply to her directly:
Never in a million years did i think i would have EVER gone through this. There is NO reason why i should have had to run past deceased friends and classmates to get to safety because there isn’t a control on how easy it is to get a gun. #stonemandouglas#parkland— Morgan Williams (@morganw_44) February 14, 2018
Similarly, President Trump took a soft stance on guns in response to the news, instead choosing to target the shooter's community. “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behaviour,” he wrote. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
Again, when Trump addressed the nation to offer his condolences, students used their online voice to steer the conversation towards gun control. “I don’t want your condolences you fucking price [sic] of shit, my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers,” Sarah Chad wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happening again.”
About my tweet directed to president trump, I apologize for the profanity and harsh comment I made. I hope you know I’m a grieving 16 year old girl who lost friends, teachers, and peers yesterday. I was and am still angry. I am apologizing for my comment but not for my anger.— sarah // NEVER AGAIN (@sarahchad_) February 15, 2018
These tweets have been liked and shared hundreds and thousands of times, making the voices of the victims heard. It'll take a lot to steer America in the right direction towards gun control, but thank God for these brave and well-informed teens who, in the wake of huge loss, are taking on Trump directly. If you want to help advocate for gun control, no matter where in the world you are, read our guide here.
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