Students at Marjory Douglas Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are set to return to school after a gunman killed 17 of their classmates and staff.
Nothing will be the same again for the survivors of America's latest school shooting.
“I will never be satisfied until every single person that is supported by the NRA or the gun lobby or any lobby that promotes the endangerment of the American public and our democracy, until those elected officials are out of office,” David Hogg, a 17-year-old senior and survivor of the shooting, told On Point Monday on our latest show about the shooting.
Hogg and Michelle Lapidot, a 15-year-old freshman, joined us to talk about how they’re continuing to push for change after the shooting.
Gun politics in the past few years have seemed to hit the same impasse: After every massacre, calls for change on gun control, and then resistance from those who argue that cracking down on law-abiding gun owners will do nothing to stop criminals and madmen.
Students like Hogg and Lapidot are trying to break that pattern.
“I want people to know that change is coming and you can either be on the right side or the wrong side of history,” Hogg said. “But if the past is any given as to what the right side of history is, it's the side that agrees with people, and the side that makes people come together and learn to love each other, not the side that hates.”
Here are some more highlights from our conversation, hosted by Jane Clayson:
During the shooting, David interviewed some of his classmates:
David: “It was absolutely horrifying to have to interview my friends, but I knew that if I died there and our souls were left behind spattered across their classroom in our own blood, hopefully some of these congressmen would see, essentially, the writing on the wall. You look back at history and realize what what really happened here, and realize maybe if we died hope their voices unlike our souls would carry on and hopefully echoed through the halls of Congress and across the nation
Jane: “What were the students saying to you?”
David: “They were saying essentially that they can't believe that politicians like Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott and various other people who continue to allow this to happen continue to be supported by the NRA.”
What the students are pushing for:
Michelle Lapidot: “We want to see gun control. We want to see security that is willing to protect us. They want to see better construction that won't be able to get shot through.”
On whether teachers should be armed, as President Trump has proposed:
David Hogg: “There are so many people that should have stepped in that were armed, trained police officers that didn't. How can we expect teachers to do the same thing?”
On Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and his recent appearance at a CNN town hall:
David: “It's almost like Marco Rubio is a professional dancer because he's amazing at sidestepping questions. If you noticed when we asked him about the NRA and whether or not he would take donations... he would not give us a simple yes or no answer, even though we asked him multiple times. Will you take donations from the NRA? He said he will continue to take donations from the NRA. But he said it in like a five sentence answer in an effort to distract the American public.”
On canceled meetings with Florida legislators:
David: “We were supposed to have a day full of constant meetings, and person after person at the Florida legislature canceled on us, and that's because they want people in Florida to forget. This session's almost over and they just want to get reelected with NRA backing.”
On baseless claims that David is a ‘crisis actor’:
David: “To those people that have been saying this stuff I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry to you that you've lost enough faith in America to believe that we would have actors out here doing this type of thing.”
Michelle on the prospects for some reforms:
Michelle: “I really I don't think that they're going to do it, just because they're all receiving so much money and backing from the NRA. But I know Rubio at least, he did support raising the age limit, but as far as I know, it really does not seem like they are going to be doing anything as of now. So we keep making more noise."
On recently going back to the school:
Michelle: “As I was walking through the high school it was really nice to see police there and to see security and to see how seriously everyone was taking it now, and I guess they realize it's not a joke but I'm not going to feel safer — I'm just going to feel closer with my peers.”
This segment aired on February 26, 2018.