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How The Survivors Of Parkland Began The Never Again Movement
Photo of David Hogg by Jonathan Drake / Reuters

How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement

By Emily Witt of The New Yorker

By Sunday, only four days after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, the activist movement that emerged in its aftermath had a name (Never Again), a policy goal (stricter background checks for gun buyers), and a plan for a nationwide protest (a March for Our Lives, scheduled for March 24th). It also had a panel of luminary teens who were reminding America that the shooting was not a freak accident or a natural disaster but the result of actual human decisions.

The funerals continued in Parkland and surrounding cities—for the students Jaime Guttenberg and Joaquin Oliver and Alex Schachter and the geography teacher Scott Beigel—with attendance sometimes surpassing a thousand people. On a local level, at least, the activism did not overshadow the grieving. The tragedy affected this student body of more than three thousand people in different ways: some students lost their closest friends, others hallway acquaintances. And the student leaders knew, with the clarity of thought that had distinguished them from the beginning, that the headline-industrial complex granted only a very narrow window of attention. Had they waited even a week to start advocating for change, the reporters would have gone home.

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This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. How about if politicians are given “grades” by the survivors of mass shootings as to how they are voting on gun control and protection of children and citizens, similar to the grades that they receive from the NRA

    1. I hope that the effort by the younger generation grows into a national movement / organization. One that the public can pay dues to and receive a monthly or quarterly newsletter. One that organizes a response to the nra and brings pressure to bear on our government. Together we can do it divided we won’t be as successful. I might be dreaming but I think we could get a million members in short order. Thank you.

  2. Something I’ve been posting on news sites. I think pictures and letters from the doctors to the amount of damage needs to be released because nobody understand except those who has been in war. It’s time to put it in everyone’s face and in the house and senate. This is my reply to arming teachers.
    Dumbest thing I ever heard U.S.M.C vietnam vet. A marine with training wouldn’t do it and no officer would ever put a soldier in that position. A handgun round goes about 700 miles a hour and goes in leaves a clean line and unless you are lucky and hit a head shot you will empty 15 rounds and he will still be able to reload and empty another clip A AR15 hits at 2300 MPH and when it hits the round deflects and tumbles. The shock from that impact throws a shock wave that shreds a area about 8 inches round destroying beyond repair several organs then leaves a hole in the back the size of a grapefruit. hit a arm, leg or head they fly off in pieces. you put a teacher with a 9mm against a AR 99% of the time you add a dead teacher and he keeps going. Giving teachers handguns does only one thing and that is massive gun sales. Extra pay would cost a billion and the handguns would cost a billion and things will be more dangerous because you now have teachers killing kids. By the way if someone shots up a school with a 9mm most will survive.

  3. One other thing I would like to pass on to these kids if they want to get active. Nothing will ever happen until all causes get together and deals with Citizens United and Corporate personhood that puts unlimited bribery in Washington. Until that court decision is overturned and bribery is illegal again nobody will win anything. If you get everyone such as BLM SSI healthcare and every other group out there to create a critical mass to fix this nobody will get anywhere. Anything you do they will pull at the bottom of a must pass bill 6 months down the road. The NRA pays 3 to 30 million to buy politicians. Fix that and they go back to working for us. 2ed truth and fairness back in news and shut the properganda down. Then your battles will be won and not until. Happy to see the kids step up. Hasn’t happened since the 60’s and it’s your future your fighting for.

  4. Please make your “Contact” easier to find…. I had a hard time finding you.

    PLEASE be sure to stress your movement is about GUN VIOLENCE…. not just “school shootings,” as horrid as they are. All of the “theories” about arming teachers et al would NOT have helped stop the shootings in the church in Texas where 26 lives were lost. I DO pay attention to the news but NO ONE has mentioned those shootings…. only 3.5 months ago…!!! A control, any control on guns would decrease gun violence EVERYWHERE…. the emphasis on school shootings is understandable, but it is PART of the problem — not the WHOLE problem.

  5. Parkland Shootings – There is another industry that must be held accountable for maintaining the pressure on our elected officials. That is the mainstream news media.
    I’m speaking of ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, PBS. Same for the electronic News papers.They need to step up and create a daily progress report that will be shown on primetime, reporting what is being done.
    Every day that passes without a report on progress loses momentum and attention for the Movement. The NRA trots out their paralytic propaganda and waits for the memories and anger to subside. The politicians forget their promises. Pretty soon the survivors internalize the pain and hide the scar.
    Who remembers the 550+ victims of the Las Vegas Massacre on October 1st of last year.
    Every report should be specific as to who is doing what. Name names and who takes money from the NRA.
    Finally every report should end with the face of one or more of the victims.
    If the news media doesn’t act because it is not newsworthy, they are complicit in the failure of the Movement.
    For God’s sake, how many of our children need to be sacrificed on the altar of the Second Amendment before our nation recovers its soul.
    How the Survivors of…
    neveragain.com

    1. All I am saying is that the mainstream media has a major role to play in keeping the movement alive and growing by giving on-going progress reports. Don’t let politicians off the hook. Don’t let the NRA define the Movement, and most important dont’t let us forget the faces of the fallen.

  6. Are we going about this from the correct angle? Why are gun fanatics SO fanatic? Is it because they believe it is their god-given right to own a gun? Does it come down to just that? If so, they have zero incentive to favor anything they perceive as gun restrictions. So why wouldn’t we go for the ultimate life saving measure? Why not take a page from other countries that are successful in this area and repeal the 2nd amendment. Once it is no longer an issue of people choosing to mis-read the amendment (I don’t believe all 300 million+ guns in the US are owned by members of “a well-organized militia”) then people would be free to take appropriate gun safety and use courses to be permitted, their firearm for hunting registered (to insure that the owner is responsible for any lawful or unlawful use of that firearm) and those who are avid hunters may continue to hunt with the firearm they have registered. No weapons of war could be privately owned. If someone is a shooting enthusiast and loves weapons of war, they could go to a licensed gun range and fire any type of weapon, leave it there and go home when they are finished. Until the gun fanatic no longer can claim a “right” to stockpile weapons, there will never be a sense of safety in this country and no school (short of a prison) will be a safe learning space for our most precious resource, our children.

  7. Learn from our history. In the 1960’s young people started to protest the war in Vietnam. The older folks just thought the younger ones were unpatriotic and should serve in the military if drafted. Public opinion rapidly changed when the TV news networks – we only had ABC, CBS and NBC at time time – newspapers and magazines started showing pictures of dead or wounded soldiers, dead or wounded civilians and Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protect the war. People were horrified by the images. I don’t think it is right to show the bodies but as long as you survivors keep pushing the story, it is hard for the public to ignore it. I saw on HLN that one young man recorded the feelings of his classmates while the shooting was going on. You should release these recordings but not all at once. Every time you release one, it brings the issue back to the spotlight. The GOP and the NRA are hoping you will stop talking and the public will move on and they can continue on as usual. I’m 60 years old. I was too young to be involved with the peace movement. I’m not too old to join this one.

    Stay respectful of law enforcement. Sing patriotic songs while protesting. It makes anyone who attacks you look bad!

    You can make this happen!

    God Bless America! God Bless all of you!

  8. Can Technology Help in Establishing and Enforcing Gun Free Zones?

    Background:
    I am a registered Democrat but consider myself an Independent. I like to think that I vote for what’s best for the Country or my state not a particular party. I have never written to a local, State or National Representative. I am a middle class 69 year old retiree. Never had any trouble with the law, always pay my taxes and always believed in America although I complain as much as anyone. I guess you can describe me as just a regular guy. I don’t own a gun and never hunted but have many friends who do. I have no first hand knowledge of the technology which exists or is in the planning stages. I was just compelled to put this out there to see if this has ever been discussed before.
    In my opinion, I believe all Americans would agree with following statements:
    • We need to do everything possible to protect our citizens, especially the children, to assure long and fruitful lives for all.
    • Freedom, as laid out in our Constitution, is the signature of being an American and must be protected at all costs
    • The senseless killing of innocent Americans, especially children, is unacceptable and un-American
    • The mass shootings we’ve witnessed these past several years in schools, churches, movie theaters, offices, etc, are unacceptable and go against what it is to live in America. Something must be done to stop them.
    Challenges:
    • Establishing and acting on a plan to guarantee the safety of all Americans has become focused on gun rights and not assuring the safety of Americans, especially our children
    • It has been whittled down to being for or against the 2nd Amendment, i.e. For – “I have the right to bear arms and nobody will take them away” Against – “ I don’t want to take all your guns away, just certain ones”
    • Some Americans want to be sure that they have the opportunity and firepower to protect themselves and their families even against a Government or police force that could turn against them. (As history has shown in this land before America was born and throughout the world even today ) “I have the right to protect my home and family and that right was given to me in the Constitution”.
    • Some Americans feel free access to any type of gun is the root cause of mass shootings. “I don’t want to take guns away, but why would anyone need an automatic weapon? They are not for hunting but for killing people.
    Focus:
    Besides existing measures and laws already in place or being discussed especially around mental health, the age a person can purchase a gun, stricter background checks, etc.I wanted to offer the following as it relates to the role guns play in the safety of all Americans but especially our children.
    In this day and age of technological breakthroughs, WHY CAN’T WE UTILIZE OUR TECHNOLOGY TO ELIMINATE MASS SHOOTINGS?
    Let me throw out an idea. We have vehicles that can drive themselves. We have “smart bombs” that can hit a precise target from miles away. Almost everyone carries a small computer in their pocket that can do amazing things. All developed in my lifetime.
    • Establish “gun free” zones throughout the country i.e. schools, churches, movie theaters, malls, etc. but start with just the schools and start with the focus on automatic weapons.
    • Monitor gun free zones utilizing satellite technology, like GPS.
    • All weapons ( public, law enforcement, military )contain a chip or program so that if an automatic weapon enters a gun fee zone, the weapon is disabled so it cannot fire or if not the weapon, the ammunition becomes inert and useless
    Summary:
    Automatic weapons are only one part of the problem related to mass shootings but it is the most controversial and difficult to even discuss. The above idea does the following:
    • Does not limit or change the type of weapon a person can own. If they want an automatic weapon, so be it. It is their right as established by the Constitution. The term “Arms” means all weaponry and ammunition.
    • It allows the NRA to demonstrate that they can protect the 2nd Amendment and our children at the same time
    • Technology takes the human factor out of the equation and will allow those for or against gun ownership to work together on finding the ultimate solution to protecting our children.
    • Gun owners get what they want, gun control advocates get what they want and maybe, just maybe, a new industry is born and jobs created
    I know this is far more complicated than a few words on paper but if turning to technology has even some merit, we need to pursue it.

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