When Republican politicians refused to have a conversation about gun violence, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper took the discussion to the high school students who just survived the shooting.
With the exception of NRA-inspired platitudes, and in Trump’s case, blaming grieving classmates and neighbors, Republicans are completely unwilling to have a discussion about the horrific mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
But CNN’s Anderson Cooper refused to be deterred. When Republican politicians refused to talk to him, he found heroic students who would.
“We wanted to talk with Senator Rubio about what happened here in Parkland. He declined. We wanted to talk to the Florida governor, Rick Scott. He declined. We wanted to talk to House Speaker Paul Ryan. He declined. And we wanted to talk to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He said ‘no’ as well,” said Cooper.
“We wanted to talk to all of them about not only gun control, but about what their specific plans are, any plans at all to make sure this does not happen again,” Cooper continued. “But since none of these so-called adults would talk to us, we thought we’d hear from some of the kids from the high school themselves, since they’re the ones who are actually going through this right now.”
Cooper then brought on three teenagers from the school. “What’s the thing you want people to know here?” Cooper asked one of them, Isabelle Robinson.
“I think everyone’s just in shock that it happened here,” said Robinson. “And we don’t want this one to be like all the others, where in a couple months everyone’s completely forgotten. And I know that this graduating class, and also all the other classes, are very, very strong and very, very opinionated, and we’re not going to stop talking about it.”
Another student, Emma Gonzalez, railed against the gun lobby.
“We are not to be bought by the NRA,” said Gonzalez. “They’re not supposed to be listening to the NRA about our protection, they’re supposed to be listening to the people who are getting hurt about our protection. And we’re the ones who deserve to be kept safe, because we were literally shot at.”
These teenagers’ stoic and forceful reactions to the violence in their community and her school is shared by other students.
Another survivor, high school junior Cameron Kasky, blasted Rubio and Scott in a Facebook post, telling them that “your prayers do nothing.” Isabella Gomez, a sophomore, criticized Trump on national television for refusing to discuss guns in his speech on the tragedy, saying “There’s no reason that a kid, 19 years old, that’s been investigated already and not even a year ago, being able to purchase a AR-15.”
And when Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren attempted to shame people talking about the tragedy for their “anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda,” she was promptly slammed by multiple students who had survived the shooting.
Sometimes, younger people are able to look at the world’s problems with clearer eyes. That these kids could do so mere hours after having to defend themselves from an unspeakable horror is a mark of more bravery than the entire Republican Party put together.