The Wayne Stater

The heros of Parkland Florida

Justin Yost, Editorial Writer

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I am an almost 23-year-old college student, and I am not sure if I could do what these 17 and younger kids did who survived the shooting at their high school in Parkland, Florida.

These kids went through an unimaginable tragedy and have rallied together to make a national movement to change the United States. I talked about how more than 100 students went to meet with Florida law-makers last week. A lot has happened since then.

In the world of politics in 2018, these kids have been subject to a lot of criticism and smear campaigns. Probably the most disgusting of these has been by some prominent figures in the far right-wing media, suggesting these kids are paid actors given talking points by public relations experts on the left. An aide for a Florida legislator was fired for making such claims.

These claims are easily debunked, but they have still made the rounds in conservative circles. David Hogg, a 17-year-old senior, has been at the center of most of these claims. “The fact that some of the students at Stoneman Douglas high school are showing more maturity and political action than many of our
elected officials is a testament to how disgusting and broken our political system is right now in America. But we are trying to fix that,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

CNN held a town hall meeting with survivors of the shooting, their families, Sen. Marco Rubio and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, among others. Survivors and their families asked frank questions of their senators and the NRA. One student asked Rubio point blank if he would stop taking money from the NRA, and Rubio replied by not answering the question. I encourage you to find the video.

Many students from Stoneman Douglas are leading the charge for change. Survivor Emma Gonzalez has more Twitter followers on an account she made four days after the shooting than the official Twitter page of the NRA, which joined Twitter in 2009. Gonzalez has more than one million followers, compared to the 594,000 followers the NRA has. Gonzalez gave an empowered speech shortly after the shooting challenging the NRA and politicians who are bought by the NRA. This may not sound important to some, but these kids are a part of the next generation to shape the United States and they are off to a head start. With the help of many celebrities, and their own doing the students are organizing a protest in Washington, DC.

Many mass shootings in this country will receive a short news window and be brushed under the rug, but this one feels different. And that has everything to do with these kids who are mature beyond their years. I applaud these young hero’s and hope they won’t be brushed under the rug like so many others.

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The heros of Parkland Florida