17-year-old Cameron Kasky is lucky to be alive. The teenager went to school on Wednesday, thinking it was going to be an ordinary Valentine’s Day and it ended in horror. Cameron was picking up his special needs brother at the end of the school day when the fire alarm went off. He was told to go back into the building, not realizing it was an active shooter situation and spent a terrifying hour huddled in a classroom until a SWAT team rescued him. Now Cameron is speaking out against and telling lawmakers that his generation wants change.
In an op-ed for CNN, Cameron said:
We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises. And so, I’m asking — no, demanding — we take action now. Why? Because at the end of the day, the students at my school felt one shared experience — our politicians abandoned us by failing to keep guns out of schools. But this time, my classmates and I are going to hold them to account. This time we are going to pressure them to take action. This time we are going to force them to spend more energy protecting human lives than unborn fetuses.
Cameron is absolutely right, the Republican Party spends more time trying to legislate women’s health decisions than they do protecting living, breathing children. Lawmakers throughout the party constantly stress that they believe the “right to life” is the most sacred right–until that right to life interferes with their right to own tools that serve no other purpose than to kill. In fact, the Trump Administration has made it easier for mentally ill people, like the shooter at Cameron’s school, to purchase firearms while at the same time claiming we need to “do something” about mental health in this country. Even at 17, this teenager recognizes how unbelievably convoluted that is:
I’m just a high school student, and I do not pretend to have all of the answers. However, even in my position, I can see that there is desperate need for change — change that starts by folks showing up to the polls and voting all those individuals who are in the back pockets of gun lobbyists out of office. Please do it for me. Do it for my fellow classmates. We can’t vote, but you can, so make it count.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on Friday morning, Cameron reaffirmed his position and called on lawmakers to protect the people of this country. He told Cooper that he believes the NRA sends the GOP a talking points memo after every shooting to ensure that they never do anything and he said that he believes all the discussions about mental health care is to “get out of discussing gun control.”
We have seen a lot of survivors speak out after mass shootings, but I have to say Cameron is the most articulate, intelligent survivor I have ever seen interviewed and he is only a kid. He gives me hope that maybe one day we will not have to watch students streaming out of schools with their arms in the air after witnessing their teachers and friends being murdered. Hopefully, he goes to college and runs for office because we need more Camerons in our government.
17-year-old Parkland shooting survivor Cameron Kasky says he thinks lawmakers are using the mental health discussion "to get out of discussing gun control" https://t.co/PHRBn308sA https://t.co/3zSuX5Va1K
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 16, 2018