Students who survived Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida unequivocally rejected the "prayers and condolences" offered by President Donald Trump—calling on him to enact strict gun control laws instead.
"We're children. You guys are the adults." —David Hogg, student
One student, identified as Sarah on her Twitter account, angrily called the president a "fucking piece of shit" and said of the deaths of her classmates, "Prayers won't fix this. But gun control will prevent it from happening again."
My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
I don’t want your condolences you fucking price of shit, my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happenMarjory Stoneman Douglas High School studenting again. https://t.co/UZPgcPoPUX— sarah (@chaddiedabaddie) February 14, 2018
Seventeen people were killed in the shooting in Southern Florida, which was allegedly carried out by a former student, Nikolas Cruz, with a legally-purchased AR-15 assault rifle.
Sarah's sentiments were echoed by David Hogg, a 17-year-old senior at the high school, who told CNN that in light of the 18th school shooting in the first six weeks of 2018, action to pass stricter gun control laws is needed to prevent more mass shootings.
"Ideas are great, ideas are wonderful and they help you get re-elected and everything, but what’s more important is actual action," Hogg said. "We're children," he added. "You guys are the adults."
Powerful plea from a student who survived the Parkland shooting, David Hogg: “Please! We are children. You guys are, like...the adults. Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done.” pic.twitter.com/UcTNungORp— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) February 15, 2018
The students' words directly contradicted those of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, who chastised gun safety advocates, lawmakers, and journalists for bringing up gun control legislation after the shooting.
"The reaction of Democrats to any tragedy is to try to politicize it," Cruz, who has received among some of the biggest NRA donations in Congress, told Fox & Friends. "They immediately start calling that we've got to take away the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens. That's not the right answer."
Cruz added that victims of mass shootings have told him, "gun control is not the answer."
Strong gun control legislation has broad support across the political spectrum, with 58 percent of Americans telling NPR/Ipsos in October 2017 that they were in favor of banning assault weapons like the AR-15.
In response to Lahren's tweet asking, "Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda?" a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student also made clear that calls for gun control are not coming solely from "the Left," but from those affected by the violence.
A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatized from this tragedy. This could have been prevented. Please stfu tomi https://t.co/qNo03ZE3Ev— kyra (@longlivekcx) February 15, 2018
The school community also pushed back against the president's Wednesday evening comments tying the shooting to the shooter's mental health and even suggesting that his peers had not done enough to prevent the shooting.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
The FBI had in fact been warned last year about a YouTube comment left by a person by the name of Nikolas Cruz in which he said, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." School authorities had also warned teachers that Cruz had exhibited threatening behavior toward other students.
On MSNBC, a teacher who hid 19 students in her classroom during the shooting said the community had done all it could to protect itself from an attack.
"We could not have been more prepared for this situation, which is what makes it so frustrating," said Melissa Falkowski. "We did everything that we were supposed to do. Broward County Schools has prepared us for this situation and to still have so many casualties, at least for me, it's very emotional. Because I feel today that our government, our country has failed us and failed our kids and didn't keep us safe."