August 17, 2022

A Parkland survivor just broke the internet with a powerful response to today’s school shooting

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America witnessed another mass school shooting today, the latest in an interminable bloody procession of near-identical incidents. This is the American reality now. This is the unspoken possibility we wake up to every day.


Early this morning, a gunman opened fire inside an art class at Santa Fe High School in Texas, killing at least 8 people and injuring others. While the suspect is in custody and another person has been detained, details are still mostly vague. Police have secured the scene.

Unfortunately, shootings like this barely shock the country anymore. Horrify us, yes, but they happen far too frequently for us to be truly surprised when we see headlines about the nation’s latest mass murder.

It’s been just over four months since the Parkland shooting galvanized the left to push for the kind of meaningful gun law reform that the Republican Party and NRA have been blocking for far too long and still we haven’t seen any kind of change.

President Trump continues to swim through a sea of NRA bucks and blood, and every time something like this happens he simply offers tepid platitudes and waits for the media cycle to move on to something new.

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Luckily, we have a guiding light forward in the Parkland survivors. Their sustained activism gives us a rallying point and a message. If they continue their campaign to save lives, eventually Democrats will seize the government and we can have an honest conversation about what kind of laws will, at the very least, decrease the bloodshed.

Shortly after this morning’s shooting, Cameron Kasky, one of the brave Parkland activists, took to Twitter to send out a brief, powerful message. He started off by saying that no one should know who he and his classmates are and that no one would if they hadn’t been involved in “one of the hot school shootings of the month,” a succinct summary of the way in which shootings dominate the news for a bit until something else happens. Then another shooting occurs, rinse and repeat.

He also called out the NRA and predicted the way in which they’ll attack the survivors of the Santa Fe shooting who decide call for gun law reform, just like they did with him and his classmates. “Welcome to America, folks. This happens here,” he ended the tweet. Until we start to grapple with our culture of violence and the laws that allow shootings like this, nothing is going to change.

Kasky is right that this is America and these shootings do happen here. But they don’t have to.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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