As the national news media descended on Parkland, students shared their horrific stories of survival after Wednesday's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and increasingly they are turning to another message: Something needs to change.
Many survivors of mass shootings have gone on to become staunch gun control advocates months and years later in Parkland, the timeline has seemingly accelerated. In the days after the shooting, students have been active on social media and cable news channels, saying now is the time to talk about changing gun laws.
Senior David Hogg has appeared on cable news multiple times since the shooting, urging lawmakers to act and calling the shooting "unacceptable."
He and hundreds of others rallied at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale Saturday, calling for more legislation to regulate guns.
"Vote them out!" and protesters chanted repeatedly, referring to lawmakers who oppose restrictions on guns.
“People keep asking me, What about this (shooting) will be different?” junior Cameron Kasky said at the rally. “All of you are proof that this could be different.”
On Saturday morning in Parkland, protesters lined the road to the school, which is still an active crime scene, with signs reading anti-gun messages like "broken system."
“After every shooting, the NRA sends a memo saying ‘send your thoughts and prayers.’ This is the only country where this kind of thing happens," Kasky told CNN. "This is the time to talk about guns.”
“But there’s much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done and much more that people like Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott are not doing," he said. "It’s scary to think these are the people who are making our laws when our community just took 17 bullets to the heart. It feels like the only people who don’t care are the people making the laws.”
At a vigil for the victims, a crowd of more than 1,000 people, consisting largely of students, chanted “No more guns, no more guns.”
Students elsewhere have started joining the chorus from Parkland. On Friday, about 100 students from South Broward High School walked out of school to protest gun violence, carrying signs that said “Do Something” and “Protect our Kids, Not Your Guns.”
“We are angry! We are angry!” the students cried. “We want safety! We want safety!”
On Wednesday night, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren took to Twitter, saying it was too early to talk about gun control.
"Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn't about a gun it's about another lunatic," she wrote.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Student Caryl Novell quickly responded.
"I was hiding in a closet for two hours. It was about guns. You weren't there, you don't know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings," Novell said. "This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns."
Her message to Lahren has been retweeted more than 300,000 times.
"We are children. You guys are, like, the adults. Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done," Hogg said.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.