Exactly one month after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, which galvanized a wave of teenaged activism like we've never before seen, thousands of students walked out of schools across the nation to urge gun law reforms. The walkout was meant to last 17 minutes. One for each of the lives lost in Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting rampage. In many cities around the nation, it lasted considerably longer. And in areas that voted for Trump, there were no student protests at all.
The breakdown over this issue tends to run along political lines — Democratic strong holds like the urban areas of New York City and Chicago, amongst many others across the nation, saw students stream out of their buildings at 10AM. In NYC, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo even laid down in Zuchotti Park (famed site of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement) in a "die-in" to bring light to gun-related deaths. The above photo was taken at Borough Hall in Brooklyn. The signs were on point (a collection of the some of the best are below).
Meanwhile, in red states states like Iowa, where the 2nd Amendment is read literally and protected fiercely, students went on with their days as usual. An Iowa school superintendent by the name of Russell Reiter explained his school's lack of walkout to the New York Times like so: "Students here are just not interested in what is going on in bigger cities."
The National School Walkout was organized by a group called YouthEMPOWER, and a principal target of their activism is the NRA. With the ball in their court, the NRA responded today with a pair of tweets. First:
Let's work together to secure our schools and stop school violence. We protect our banks, our sports stadiums and our government buildings better than we protect our schools. That must change. #StopSchoolViolenceAct #DefendTheSecond #NRA pic.twitter.com/98dWIv0giM— NRA (@NRA) March 14, 2018
And then, more directly:
The Parkland students have been using Twitter, too, keeping the story around their shooting tragedy alive these past few weeks with savvy tweets. In facts, they've often found themselves embroiled in direct threads with conservative media figures and Republicans. For example:
The students' activism hasn't had pervasive legislative success yet: while Florida's Governor signed a bill to raise the state's minimum gun purchasing age to 21, President Trump has backed off of promises for similar action on the federal level. But this moment is already historic. It's the moment that teens commanded the airwaves and owned their voice in a wave of national tumult. After Colubmine, it wast the parents on the morning news programs. After Parkland, it has been the students. There's real passion there. And as today's signs show, real creativity, too.
My friends daughters sign for #NationalWalkoutDay today in Daly City, CA. Summit Shasta HS, where the teachers are in full support of the students. #NeverAgain #VoteThemOut #ParklandStudents #abolishthenra #GunControlNow #WakeUp pic.twitter.com/7d1PkhyyPC— John Steen (@JohnSteen) March 14, 2018