Something different happened after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. Instead of the usual cynical narrative of thoughts and prayers and a total lack of political action, the students spoke out. Senior Emma Gonzalez had a particularly powerful speech, in which she “called BS” on all the typical narratives that are so closely associated with gun control in this country. She then brought that same intensity to a CNN Town Hall, in which she knew exactly how to question the NRA’s Dana Loetsch about her contradictory and outdated beliefs about guns. Another student, David Hogg, who has been equally outspoken in his fight for gun control, became the target of a disgusting and surprisingly prevalent conspiracy theory that he was a “crisis actor.” He squashed those theories live on CNN with the grace and steadfastness of a true hero.
As a group, the students who survived the shooting have made many promises: theirs will be the last school shooting. In an effort to keep people’s attention, they have organized the March For Our Lives, a nationwide demonstration on March 24 that will demand change from Washington D.C. All of the students from Parkland who are involved in the gun control movement are taking a distinctly 2018 approach to their activism: they’re active on Twitter, where they roast the ignorant politicians and conservatives who dare defy them into oblivion. More importantly, they know that their true power lies in voting, and they are actively working to encourage everyone to vote out politicians who think it’s more important for people to have military-style weapons than for high school students to survive a day at school. It’s one of the most inspiring stories to come out of 2018, and thankfully, it’s just getting started.