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Wednesday marks one month since 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Zach Hibshman, a junior at the school, survived the shooting and went on to create an organization with his friend Adam Buchwald called Parents Promise to Kids. It asks parents to sign a contract promising their kids they will only vote for candidates that put children's safety ahead of guns.
Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Hibshman about the organization, and his activism since the shooting.
On memories of the shooting
"It never goes away from you. It's always that little chunk in your heart, but it does subside and it does fizzle out over time. And I never want it to ever happen to anyone again, because what I experienced that day was just on a whole other level of just being scared, and not knowing what to do, and just the fear of the unknown was overpowering. So we're fighting so that it will never happen again."
On the promise contract
"The promise is children under 18 obviously cannot vote and [children] obviously want to change laws, but since they can't vote on that yet, they have their parents promise that they'll vote for legislators and politicians who put the safety of children over guns."
On how people might interpret the promise and what increasing safety looks like
"We wanted the concept to be simple. I know you can interpret it in a lot of different ways, but our whole main objective is for people to put the safety of children over guns and over money. We don't want politicians taking money and supporting the NRA, who is not going to put child safety over guns."
On the contentious discourse surrounding gun control and safety
"I know that a lot of people are making this about red and blue. We're getting too into the political aspect, and I'm just — we're fighting here for our safety. I feel like we're getting too much into, 'Hey, let's start bashing politicians. Hey, let's start fighting with people on Twitter.' "
"I know you can interpret it in a lot of different ways, but our whole main objective is for people to put the safety of children over guns and over money."Zach Hibshman
On whether he's heard from friends who might say "there's no room for me in this"
"I haven't heard anyone say that, but if they do, my response would be, 'Please stop making this about red and blue, for the love of whatever.' I mean, come on now. People think that we're trying to make their guns go away, but that's not true. It's just there has to be regulations to stop a 19-year-old psychopath from getting an AR-15, a mass killing device that killed 17 and could have killed a lot more at my school."
On Nikolas Cruz, the shooter
"He's been suspended for hurting animals, for breaking glass at the middle school. He's just always been a bad kid, but somehow he was able to purchase a weapon. And I don't think that should be allowed."
On the consequences of the shooting for him
"I'd say there's a loss of a feeling of safety and protection, because I just feel like every time I hear a trunk slam, it raises my awareness. Every time I see someone a little bit weird walking into my school, it makes me wake up. It's just stuff like that that didn't affect me before is now scaring me a little bit in public. And that's just, nothing I can change about that. It's just, time has to heal, but stuff like that is making me more aware more than ever."
This segment aired on March 14, 2018.
- 'We're Doing Everything In Our Power' To Push For Gun Control Action, Florida Student Says
- School Safety Debate Lacks Focus On What's Best For Kids, Expert Says
- After Parkland, Don't 'Turn Our Schools Into Prisons,' Says Education Activist
- 'This Time Must Be Different,' Florida Shooting Victim's Father Says As Students Return To School
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