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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  February 21, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST

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choose by the gig or unlimited. and now, get a $200 prepaid card when you buy an iphone. it's a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit, or go to welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. the graceful man known as america's pastor is dead at age 99. billy graham carried e advantage lichl into the tv age and counseled presidents for six decades. plus, president trump's anger at the russian meddling investigation spills into the media again, attacking has own attorney general. and students rallying this hour
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under the banner never again. >> i'm the wife of a columbine high school first responder. my husband was also one of the first responders at arapahoe high school. there is no way a 19-year-old and a 19-year-old with the problems this young man had who can't even buy alcohol should be able to buy a weapon of mass destruction, and no one can tell me this isn't a weapon of mass destruction. >> we begin the hour with a focus on tallahassee, florida, and two words. never again. you see the live pictures here. students from the self-proclaimed never again movement rallying at the florida state capitol. by never again, these students mean they never want anyone, especially children and teenagers like themselves, to witness a horror like the one at marjory stoneman douglas high school. in addition to the rally, students are meeting throughout this day with state lawmakers to demand changes while they share the never again urgency, it's important to note the students are not in total agreement about
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what must change. >> i ultimately want to accomplish and to make sure we have mental health restrictions in place so people who are not mentally table ask not acquire weapons. i'm 100% sure i want to make sure we have deeper background checks. i want to say as a fellow republican, i understand the concern that it's a slippery slope for legislation. if we had these in place, he would have never been able to acquire a weapon, 100%. >> mental health focus there. other students say they want age restrictions on gun purchases, or some are advocating a ban on assault weapons. that's clearly not in the cards right now. last night with students from stoneman in the gallery, the state house voted down a motion to begin debate on an assault weapons ban. moments are now, students will give a press conference on their progress. we'll take you there live when that happens. and thousands of students across the state also walking out of classes to remember the 17 people who were gunned down last week. these students also demanding some changes.
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with us in studio to share the reporting and their insights, cnn's nia malika henderson, julie pace, phil mattingly, and rachel bade. let's focus first on these students and what they're demanding in florida. we'll have a conversation in a minute about the national debate. down in the state of florida, just a week or so after this horrible event at their school, it is remarkable to watch these young americans, some of them not even old enough to vote, with poise and dignity going to their state lawmakers and saying, listen, the question is, and you can even see it among the students, they don't agree on everything. just like here in washington or anywhere else across the country. raise this issue and there's disagreement over what would stop this from happening again. florida, key swing state in an election year. are we at some critical mass moment, or will we be at this table a month from now and this will be a faded memory? >> if you go on past history, both at the state level and at the national level, it seems unlikely that you're going to get certainly some kind of large packa package. i think one thing that's
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interesting about the approach these students have taken is they're not letting much time pass. the newtown parent, for example, were so powerful. part of the problem with the push in washington was that so much time passed. it's really sad to say, but the visceral memories fade. there's more time for the political influencers to get involved in the conversation. these students are going immediately after this shooting and trying to get action. they obviously got a tough lesson in the florida legislature yesterday with no movement there. but i do think the fact that they're trying to build some momentum, at least, i would say, leaves the door open perhaps more than in other shootings we've seen, though it is a tough road ahead. >> florida is sort of an nra, you know, petrie dish. it was one of the first states that had concealed carry legal so people could hide guns under their jackets or pants. also a stand your ground state. it's going to be really tough to move something. if they can move this even an inch, it's very significant in florida.
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again that, vote from last night didn't exactly signal hope for these students. >> in some ways, it was a rebuke of what they were trying to do. obviously some of them are trying to call for gun control laws. there was sort of reality hitting them there with the nra. these are lawmakers that have deep ties to the nra. florida is a very pro gun state, as you outlined. if you look at what has happened in the wake of a lot of these shootings, most of the movement has come at the state level, in both directions. on one hand, expansion of gun laws. in other states, particularly in connecticut, legislation on gun rights. it is inspiring. for me to watch these students, no matter what their political views are, to see them so engaged in a process, so engaged politically, it does have echoes. you heard oprah winfrey say this, and you see prominent liberals trying to rally around them, donate to them, say it reminded her of the civil rights act >> let's go straight and listen. oprah winfrey says these
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students should be listened to. let's listen. >> five years ago, i heard about the sandy hook shooting. i cut out paper snowflakes to send to the school, but i never imagined this could happen to me. exactly one week ago my school was viciously attacked. 17 of my classmates, friends, and teachers died. no longer can i walk the halls i walked millions of times before without fear and sadness. no longer can i walk the halls without hearing the gunshots. no longer can i walk the halls without imagining bloodstains and dead bodies. all because of the damage that a single ar-15 rifle caused. now i'm 17 years old. i'm not old enough to buy a gun or consume alcohol, and i'm barely old enough to drive. but i value the education that i received before my school was shut down by being an active crime scene. through my u.s. history classes, i learned that the founding fathers incorporate the second
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amendment in order to defend state's rights. america had just been domineered by great britain. at the time, individual states did not want to return to those ways. the bill of rights was added to the constitution, including the second amendment, the right to bear arms. but this right does not and never will overpower the individual's right to life, liberty -- [ cheers and applause ] through my physics class, i learned that the value of a gun is determined by the energy imparted by a bullet, which is half the mass times the velocity squared. a 9-millimeter hands gun has a 400-foot pounds. an ar-15 is 3 1/2 times higher. i learned that this is enough energy to pulverize organs upon
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impact. the only purpose of an assault weapon like this is to kill and to kill as many people as possible. the ar-15 -- [ cheers and applause ] the ar-15 is not a self-defense weapon. it is rightly called an assault weapon. assault. think about this word. i'm not trying to take away your second amendment rights, nor am i trying to eliminate all guns. we cannot protect our guns before we protect our children. [ cheers and applause ] >> we need limitations. individuals who need the same weapons our soldiers use overseas to fight wars do not need these weapons. individuals who are not allowed to board an airplane should not have access to these weapons. 90% of my fellow americans support background checks for
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the purchase of all firearms, yet you our lawmakers have failed to act. frien let's look at real-world examples. in australia, they banned guns in 1966, and they haven't had a single mass shooting since. in the uk, they've only had one mass shooting since their ban in 1966 after a school shooting. in america, we've had eight mass shootings in the first six weeks of this year. we hold the sad record of one mass shooting her week for the past five years nonstop. one mass shooting every single week. some say that a ban on assault weapons is not the solution because people kill people, not guns. let me tell you, if this criminal shooter had a handgun,
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many more friends and teachers would be alive today. if a ban on assault weapons could save one more life, it would make a massive difference to our friends, their families, and our community. if a ban on assault weapons saved one more life, it would be worth it. [ cheers and applause ] we also hear about mental health is a real issue. maybe this is true, but before we -- isn't it common sense to ensure that people suffering from mental health don't have access to these weapons? stricter background checks means one more person would be saved, this would make a huge difference within our community. if we had stricter gun controls, we would not have lost 17 lives of our classmates, teachers, and staff members. we would not have destroyed
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innocence of 3,000 high school students and damaged a whole community. if we have stricter gun control measures in florida, 17 families would be having dinner tonight together instead of mourning for the loss of their loved ones. instead of returning to our studies, instead of preparing for exams, and instead of grieving for dead class mates and teachers, we are out here advocating for change. some of you said it's too soon to talk about gun control. no, it is not too soon. no, this is not the wrong time. there's no better time than now for gun control. if we wait, then someone else
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might become a victim too. your children might become the victims too. to congress, you are directly responsible for every community that has lost people to gun violence, and you have the power to change this. if you don't, then we will change you. we are too young to vote, but soon we will be able to vote, and we will vote you out. many students throughout the country can't wait to go vote, can't wait to run for office, to make a change, to make a safer world. you adults have failed us by not creating a safe place for your children to go to school. so we, the next generation, will not fail our own kids. [ cheers and applause ]
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take it from us, you created a mess for us, so we will make this world safer for our children. children, students all around the world are watching you. the people of florida are watching you. the citizens of my beloved united states of america are watching you. if you do not take action now, then we, the future leaders of america, will. [ cheers and applause ] >> listening there to one of the survivors of last week's school shooting in parkland, florida. speaking there at a never again rally in tallahassee, the state capital. the students and their supporters there pressing state lawmakers for changes in florida laws. florence speak out, saying she wants an assault weapons ban. some other students want new
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mental health restrictions, expand the background checks. the debate in florida. we'll continue to watch this rally. when we come back, out shooting in florida insnunfluences the de here in washington, where president trump says he's open to some new modest national restrictions.
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my healthy routine helps me feel my best. so i add activia yogurt to my day. with its billions of live and active probiotics, activia may help support my digestive health, so i can take on my day. activia. now in probiotic dailies. welcome back. live pictures right now of tallahassee, florida. students who survived the parkland school shooting bringing their fight to lawmakers at the state capitol. they're demanding, some of them are, tougher gun control laws. others want other restrictions. among those facing pressure, florida's united states senator marco rubio. he'll participate tonight in a cnn town hall with these students, parents, and community members. help us set the stage. what do the survivors most expect this evening? >> well, john, that emotion and passion and outrage you hear in tallahassee today, many of those survivors of stoneman douglas
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will bring it here that the bb&t center tonight. more than 5,000 people have already confirmed they will attend this town hall, an opportunity for the students of stoneman douglas, their parents, teachers, and administrators to sit face to face with lawmakers, even a spokeswoman from the nra, and ask very pointed questions. you can expect that spotlight to be brightest, though, on republican senator of florida, marco rubio. he's a politician in florida who has accepted more money from the nra than any other lawmaker in the state. he and the spokeswoman for the nra will be dealt some tough questions from young people who have made their opinions and their passion at this time very clear to us all. also on that stage, democratic congressman ted deutsch. many students have told me he's been a tremendous resource for them this past week. also, florida's democratic senator bill nelson. we should mention, john, that president trump, as well as florida's governor rick scott,
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were extended invitations to attend but declined to be here or to participate via satellite. john? >> i think a lost opportunity for them. kaylee, we'll keep in touch. that town hall tonight at 9:00 on cnn. jake tapper will moderate. the president will not be in attendance tonight, but he is active in the debate over what now, what next. last night on twitter, this from the president. whether we are republican or democrat, we must now focus on strengthening background checks. that tweet hours after the white house and the president announced he's instructed his attorney general to draft a rule that would ban so-called bump stocks. today the president is giving an audience to survivors, a white house listening session to give those who escaped parkland, sandy hook, and columbine a platform with the president, which is important. this conversation, after every one of these shootings, the conversation is in state capitols like tallahassee or washington, d.c., will anything get done. if you're a supporter of aggressive gun controls, you're not happy. you don't think the president is going far enough. but let's start with the fact
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that -- i'm sorry. we're going straight back to tallahassee. one of the students speaking at a press conference. let's listen. [ applause ] >> hello, everyone. my name is lorenzo prado. i am a junior, and i do not support any political party, and i'm a survivor of the douglas massacre. i'm here today to advocate for stricter gun laws on behalf of the 17 whose lives were ripped away from them on the day of february 14, 2018. on the day of love, our loved ones were ripped away from us in a horrific manner that should never transpire. many would like to blame this event on the fbi's lack of action or the trump administration, but the simple
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fact is that the laws of our beloved country allowed for the deranged gunman to purchase a gun legally. the law has failed us and has led to the events that happened in parkland to occur. what we must do now is enact change because that is what we do to things that fail. we change them. to not change the law in our time of need would be a huge disservice to 17 dead in parkland, the 13 dead in columbine, the 26 dead in sandy hook, the 50 dead in orlando, the 59 dead in las vegas, for the good of the students, the parents, the family, and the country, we beg for common sense laws that would prevent a terrorist because that's what he is, a terrorist, who invokes terror upon students and everyone upon the nation. to prevent someone like him from ever holding a gun ever again. on that fateful day of the douglas massacre, we lost our future because in those lives lost lays the future of our
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country. on that fateful day, we lost peter wang, a jrotc member and a hero. he was seen holding a door open for other students to enter for safety. on that fateful day, we lost coach, a football coach, a security guard, a hero, and a role model to his child. he was seen sacrificing his life so another could live another day. on that fateful day, we lost coach hickson, our wrestling coach, a security guard, and to me, a hero. he was seen leaving the auditorium to check the others well being because he put others lives before his. on that day, we lost nicolas, captain of the swim team and a hero and soon to be olympian. he was seen pushing another student out of the way when the terrorist shot into his classroom. i do not want to remember him as
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the man that met his death too early because to me nicolas was a friend and my captain. he was the heart and soul of the swimming team, both in and out of school because he was friendly to all and mean to none. i had never seen nick frown because he was always optimistic in life every time i saw him, he had a smile. he had a smile when we were competing. he had a smile when i taught him spanish. he had a smile even something he dreaded so much like math. i taught him math, and he would never, never frown. and before the week of that fateful day last week, the week before that, nick had his own fateful day. the week before that, i saw nick get signed into und for swimming so he could chase his dream of becoming an olympian, but that is a dream he can no longer achieve because his life was
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taken. but we can't just blame nikolas cruz for this. the laws of our country allowed him to purchase a weapon. he was able to purchase an assault rifle before he was able to drink beer. nikolas cruz was able to purchase an assault rifle, although he had clear signs of mental illness. he was able to mpurchase an assault rifle with clear signs of delinquency from the school. nikolas cruz was able to purchase an assault rifle with the intention to kill. on that day of the douglas massacre, i was a victim like everyone else. my peers dead, many performing heroic acts in their final hour, and i was scared like everyone else, but my case was different than all the others because on that day, i was a suspected school shooter. on that day, i was in the sound booth inside the auditorium when the fire alarm rang. i decided i would stay behind
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because what could possibly go wrong? i then hear the banging on the doors of the auditorium, and i run down stairs to see a hundred people banging on the door. i quickly opened the doors to let the people in and see my coach running inside for safety. i was scared, and i ran to the safest place possible, which was the sound booth again. i start to pace back and forth because i did not know what was going on. and the people in the audience saw me. they saw me, and they panicked because i was matching the same description as nikolas cruz. i had the same clothes, same color, same facial structure somewhat. i don't -- and they reported me. i was just hiding up there. i had no idea what was going on. then the door started to rattle. at first, the only thought that came to my mind was i'm going to
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die, the shooter is going to kill me. but then the s.w.a.t. comes in, and i thought they were here to rescue me. but then as i go down the stairs, i find out that i was wrong. i found out that they thought it was me that killed the 17 people. i go down the stairs, they tell me to put my hands up. i being the fool that i was tried putting my phone back in my pocket. they demanded again, and i, not trying to be one of those news stories of someone dying wrongfully because they refused to put their hands up, i just dropped my phone at that moment and kept going. when i went out those doors, i had six s.w.a.t. members pointing their guns at me. i was -- i was tossed to the
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ground. i was unjustly cuffed and held at gunpoint for the degrading and depreciating action of the disturbed individual nikolas cruz. i was then put in a corner with a policewoman guarding me. i knew any move i made would be the end of my life. throughout the entire event, i only felt two things. i felt fear as i did not know my future. i did not know if i was going to be let go. i did not know where the terrorist was. i did not know where -- how my friends were doing. for that, i was afraid. the second thing was guilt. i felt guilty for closing the door behind me. i felt guilty for startling the audience. i felt guilty for the s.w.a.t. who had to pursue me instead of pursuing the murderer. i felt guilty for not contacting my mother. i felt guilty for coach hickson,
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whose life i thought i saved when he walked inside the auditorium but whose life was ended when he walked out again. but guilty i shall feel no longer because i'm here to demand change from our government because the lives lost who shall not be lost in vain will then be used as a catalyst for change in our country today. we'll make change in our country, and if not today, tomorrow. and if not tomorrow, the day after that and the day after that until we achieve the change that we want in this country. until the day that safety is preserved in all schools in our beloved country of america, we students will keep fighting for our right to live. if i had to drop everything else in my life just to make these changes happen, i will because to me, to let these victims lives be taken without any change in return is an act of treason to our great country. to let our fellow countrymen
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fall beside us without fighting back is to me equal to leaving a soldier to die in the battlefield. this is an injustice to our country because not only of the lives lost but also in the loss of confidence in our government. we lose confidence in our government because we are told that nothing can be done time and time again. and we're tired of hearing that. we know there can be change in this country. never again should a tragedy of this caliber happen in this country. never again. as always, be positive, be passionate, and be proud to be an eagle. [ cheers and applause ] following me, i have ryan with his speech.
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>> i apologize to everybody who made their way here. i do not have an actual written or prepared statement, but i am the president and founder of the msd improv club, so hopefully i get something in. >> ryan, what's your last name? >> ryan deitsch. i'm sorry. what i can say? what can i say that everyone else hasn't already put so eloquently that all of my fellow students have surprised me with? for the longest time, i've only perceived douglas as a school of just entitled children and those who jewel. now i'm left thinking that these are powerful speakers, these are -- this is the future. i've seen before me my friends, people that i've known since even third grade, have been standing next to me and have been speaking out against what
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is wrong. what is wrong is that the life of innocents are being taken day after day after day, and it does not matter what we say. it does not matter how many people die. the legislature, those in power, have not taken action. they've been using their words, using political double talk as much as they can, and it's not a weapon that i want them to be able to use anymore. they can walk around any question they want, but the more they don't act, the more they don't deserve to be in office. the more that i know me and my friends, we are turning 18. i am a senior. i'm 18 myself now. i can vote, and i know who i'm not voting for. these people that i've been meeting with, these people that i've seen, none of them have really put it into words what needs to be done, and i will say i am a high school senior. i do not know the exact course of action to take.
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i do not know exactly what needs to be done. i just know what we're doing now is nowhere near enough. if i have to keep seeing neighbors die, if i have to keep seeing friends die, and i have to keep seeing other people on the news deal with this same tragedy, they do not deserve this. america does not deserve this. humanity does not deserve this. and i'd just like to go into saying that we -- overall, the media is doing their job, and i appreciate it. but i'd like to say that during the time where we are going to funerals, where people are grieving, i know for a fact that yesterday i walked out of carmen's funeral early because i cannot handle that type of grieving. i cannot handle being in there mourning over the loss of somebody that i have known for at least the past six years. i'd just like to say that when i see a camera tracking me as i
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cry, walking out of a church, that is not acceptable. that is just -- that popularizes the idea that if these killers are out there, if they have these guns, they will use them to get on some leaderboard. i saw this the next morning after the shooting. there was a top ten shootings in america. we were at number nine, i believe. there should not be some ratings score. ush und you should not be able to put in a name at the end of that to say i'm the one who shot 29, i shot 50. these people are looking for infamy. these people are going out there, getting attention, and america should not stand for that. i'd also just like to say, overall, me and my friends, they have really shown me what we can do. they've shown me that everyone who's come out today, they are listening. people are listening to this. i'm so happy to see that people
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are listening, but they need to act. we need to act. i know we have the school walkouts being planned. we have the march on washington march 24th. but i fear after talking to representatives today that that is not enough. one trip to tallahassee i knew was not going to be enough, but i don't know how many times i'm going to be having to come up here to just speak to have somebody to listen to me. i know i've been walking into office after office after office and i've spoken to maybe two representatives, who already agreed with me. i want i want to see those people who shot down that bill who did not let it get past committee. i want to see those people. i'm not here for a fight. i'm not here to argue with you. i just want to speak. i just want to see your face and know why. [ applause ] and thank you so much for this
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opportunity. i'd like to introduce alfonzo calderon. >> first and foremost, i'd just like to thank everybody for giving us this platform, and senator from parkland who came here. there's one thing i want everybody here today to remember about this. we're just kids. i know myself, i'm only 16. i'm a junior in high school. most of my worries are what show am i going to watch at 6:00 p.m., when do i do my homework, how do i fit in rehearsals for theater. i know for my other colleagues, it's sports or maybe film. but everybody needs to remember we are just children. a lot of people think that disqualifies us from even having an opinion on this sort of matter. as if maybe because we've been through a traumatic experience,
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that we don't know what we're talking about. that we're speaking irrationally. i want everybody to remember that is not the case. we, more than anybody else, understand the violence that comes through certain guns. we, more than anybody else, understand what it feels like to lose somebody. we, more than anybody else, understand what it's like to have a beautiful community like parkland and have it taken away from us by the media and by everyone else and by nikolas cruz, who just ruined its image. parkland is a beautiful, safe town. and it is now ruined. i know personally i'm probably going to live there for a pretty long time, and it's not going to be the same. it's always going to be, oh, i'm so sorry to hear that you're from parkland. i want everybody to remember we are just kids. i'm sorry, it's difficult to talk about this sort of thing because not only -- not even more than a week ago, i was worried about a math test. i was worried about having the
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school show for the children in the elementary school just a road down. the way people today have created us -- or not greeted us, as acknowledged by ryan, is that we aren't being taken seriously enough. now, i personally don't know the steps that we're going to have to take, but once we figure that out, we're going to take them, and you better believe we're going to take them as soon as possible. because although we are just kids, we understand. we know. we're old enough to understand financial responsibilities. we're old enough to understand why a senator cares about re-election or not. we're old enough to understand why someone might want to discredit us for their own political purposes. but we will not be silenced. it has gone on long enough that we -- just because we are kids, we're not allowed to understand. but trust me, i understand. i was in a closet, locked for
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four hours, with people who i would consider almost family, crying and weeping on me, begging for their lives. i understand what it's like to text my parents good-bye, i might never, ever get to see you again, i love you. i understand what it's like to fear for your life. and i don't think we should ever be discredited because of that. i don't think we should ever be silenced because we are just children. i feel like that is powerful and it is one of the only reasons this movement is where it is right now. i'm extremely, extremely angry and sad. and i don't know if i'm going to be traumatized because of this. i don't know if i'm going to have faith in my state and local government anymore. because what i saw today was discouraging. but i want everybody here today to know we will not be discouraged. we will not falter. we will not stop this movement.
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because this is more than just us. this is everybody in america. this is for every single kid who fears for their life. this is more than parkland. this is more than florida. this is more than the united states. this is something serious. it is about human lives. please, i beg and i demand that every single person in power who has the ability to change the fear that kids feel going back to school, that they do something because i want everybody to know i'm supposed to be going back to school in less than a week. i'm not ready. i don't think anybody here is ready. i don't think anybody here is ready to go back to class and just have an empty seat. you know that empty seat is because someone's dead. because somebody lost their lives. and -- i don't know how i'm going to cope with it. i've spoken to grief counselors, but grief counselors can only do
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so much. what we need is action. and we need it now more than ever. because people are losing their lives. and it is still not being taken seriously. i don't know what it's going to take. i don't know what it's going to take to get some people to realize this is more than just re-elections. this is more than just political gain. this is more than conspiracy theories and people trying to disqualify us from even having an opinion. this matters to me more than anything else in my entire life. and i want everybody to know i personal personally personally prepared to drop out of school. i'm prepared to not worry about anything else but this. change might not come today. it might not come tomorrow. it might not even come march 24th when we march for our lives in washington. but it's going to happen, and it's going to happen before my lifetime because i will fight every single day, and i know everyone else here will fight for the rest of their lives to
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see sensible gun laws in this country so that kids don't have to fear going back to school. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] next, i'd like to introduce sara. >> hello, everyone. my name is sara chadwick. i'm a junior at marjory stoneman douglas. msd is not only my school but my home. on february 14th, 2018, an intruder broke into my home and robbed 17 innocent souls of a chance to impact the world. these outstanding and compassionate eagles left us too soon due to the lack of gun control in our state and country. this atrocious act not only broke the hearts of our community but broke the hearts of the entire world. we cry, we mourn, and most importantly, we ask why.
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i've been asking that question a lot lately, and i haven't gotten an answer that's satisfied me. so we came up with a solution to the answer that we've never gotten. it has a name. never again. because never again should a child be afraid to go to school. never again should students have to protest for their lives. never again should an innocent life be taken while trying to gain an education. and never again should i feel guilty to be alive because peter, carmen, scott, feis, hickson, meadow, jamie, alyssa, joaquin, helena, nick, a la that, kara, martin, luke, gina, and alex are not. that is why we have organized this revolution. for them. a revolution created by students for students. because at the end of the day, we're all positive, we're all passionate, and we're all proud
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to be an eagle. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] and i'd like to introduce my good friend sophie whitney. >> i'm going to make this quick. hi. my name is sophie whitney, and i'm a senior at marge city stoneman douglas, the place i've called home for four years, the place that i've felt safer more than anything. the place where over a week ago the biggest thing that ever happened was probably just a good season of baseball. but for the rest of history, we will now be known as that high school where the biggest high school mass shooting occurred. with other shootings by this point most people would have forgotten about us, but not this time. my classmates and i are probably the most determined group of people you will ever meet. people are talking about how we aren't serious because we're
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children, but have you heard my friends talk? we're serious. we are here to discuss with our state legislators how we can prevent what happened to us, but as alfonso said, i'm feeling a little discouraged about that. i don't want this to happen again. i wouldn't wish what happened to us on my worst enemy. because no one should ever have to go through what we went through. 17 of our classmates and teachers were murdered at the hands of a mentally unstable monster, something that easily could have been prevented by a proper background check and a mental health exam. an evil boy with a weapon of war took 17 people from their families. how many more people have to die before something changes? we will not let those 17 beautiful souls die for nothing because we are going to make a change. we will not give up. this is only the beginning of our history. please be on the right side of it. help us.
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help us so children don't fear for going to school. help us so mass shootings aren't inevitable. help us so our children, our grandchildren, and their children after that don't have to march for their lives. help us for our 17 fallen brothers and sisters. help us so no one else dies. thank you. [ applause ] next is delaney. >> what's your last name, please? >> tarr. as you just heard, my name is delaney tarr, and i'm a senior at stoneman douglas high school. late last night after getting in from a long and arduous trip to tallahassee was asked to write a speech, a seven-minute-long speech because that is what we had to deliver to the media, to the people of the country. i realized in that moment how exhausted i was, how exhausted we all are, and how overwhelmed we all are.
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and to see us listed as these heroes, as these bastions of change, it's scary because we are teenagers. we are children. and that's why i chose to speak from the heart. because we're teenagers. because instead of writing words out of an overworked brain, i figured why not stand in front of these cameras and show them exactly how i feel, show them i'm not a crisis actor, that i'm not going off of these prewritten speeches given to me by another person. because speaking from the heart is what we do best. this movement, this movement created by students, led by students, is based in emotion. it's based in passion and based in pain. our biggest flaws, our tendency to be a bit too aggressive, our tendency to lash out, things that you expect from a normal teenager, these are our strengths. the only reason that we've gotten so far is because we are not afraid of losing money. we're in the afraid of getting
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re-elected or not getting re-elected. we have nothing to lose. the only thing we have to gain at this point is our safety. and coming here today as a teenager full of passion, a bit too much passion, was very disappointing. as you've heard from my colleagues and my peers, we've been to many rooms. we've spoken to only a few legislators, and try as they might, the most we've gotten out of them is, we'll keep you in our thoughts, you are so strong, you are so powerful. we've heard enough of that. we've heard enough of we are so strong, we are so powerful because that is not why we're here today. we are not here to be patted on the back. we're not here to be told we're great, that we're doing so much, because we know what we're doing and we're doing it for a reason. we're doing it so our legislators, our lawmakers will make a change so that they will take us seriously, so that they will not dismiss us any longer, so they won't reschedule, so they won't push us into another room as they dance around our questions. because we came here prepared, and we're going to come to every single meeting with every single
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legislator prepared. we know what we want. we want gun reform. we want common sense gun laws. we want stronger mental health checks and background check checks to work in conjunction. we want a better age limit. we want privatized selling to be completely reformed so you can't walk into a building with $300 and walk out with an ar-15. we want change and know how to get this change. the bill that was not passed yesterday, that was shot down here in this building, was very disappointing. and it is a step back in our movement. we've been asked many a time how we feel about it, how we're going to go from here. all we can say is we're going to keep moving forward because we don't have a choice. we don't have the ability to stop, to think, oh, no, we're upset about this, we failed at one thing. because we didn't fail. the people around us failed us. and if they continue to fail us, then they will no longer be in office because soon we will be given the ability to vote, and we will vote them out. the people around us will vote them out. they must do right by us, or
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they will lose their jobs, and we have brought that up to them time and time again because this is no longer a chance for you to just dismuiss us, for you to ignore us, and keep doing whatever it is you want to do while tell us us you want us to be safe and don't want anything like this to happen again but not taking any action. to shoot down a bill like that is absolutely abhorrent. to not even give it a chance to be discussed, that disgusts me. that disgusts my peers because we know what we've been through and we know that this needs to be changed, that there needs to be some solution here. we've had enough of thoughts and prayers. we've had enough of we're in your consideration, we're going to think about it, we're going to tell you how we feel because we support you so much because we know that that is not true. if you supported us, you would have made a change long ago, and you would be making change now. so this is to every lawmaker out there. no longer can you take money from the nra. no longer can you fly under the radar doing whatever it is that you want to do. because we are coming after you. we are coming after every single one of you and demanding that
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you take action, demanding that you make a change. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> my name is dmitry. this is an open letter i've written. to whom it may concern, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. these are the three fundamental ideas on which our republic was founded. one, life. yet senselessly children are dying. my classmates and friends are dead. two, liberty. yet we are trapped because we students are afraid of going to school where we might find ourselves trapped in a room or closet, hiding from the barrel of a gun. three, pursuit of happiness. yet, we are not happy about the decisions that are being made in our government. our elected officials are not acting in our best interests, nor are they protecting the
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people of this country so they can pursue that happiness. on february 14th, 2018, at 2:20 p.m., the fire alarm went off. this was a second one of the day. i had complained to my teacher and said i wasn't going outside again. it was hot, and i was tired. yet, she said that we had to go. she was following protocol. little did we know our evacuation route was taking us directly to the shooter. if it had not been for the bravery and strength of the faculty and administration, we would have walked straight into the shooter's line of fire, and even more of the students of marjory stoneman douglas high school, myself include, would not be standing here before you today. it is nothing but luck that saved us from being killed. and this is not okay. while the people around me recognize the gunshots, all i could hear was get down, get down, get down, and shooter. without thinking, i ran to the opposite side of campus, fearing for my life. a school that once reverberated
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with laughter and inquisitive thoughts now reverberates with the screams and cries of thousands of students fearing for their lives. this is not okay. trapped in a classroom sharing a feeling of numbness and agony with my peers, our only source of information was what our teachers were telling us, and the information that was circulating within the school via group chats. guys, this is not a drill. five people are dead, 20 injured. this was a message in one of my group chats. that is not okay. we received videos from our friends and peers being shot and being shot at. videos that shook us to our cores. helicopters above us and police sirens ringing in our ears, the sounds of choppers now haunt us and police sirens stalk us. two days after the shooting when i was picking up my medicine from a cvs drive through, the cash register drawer made a noise i swore was a gunshot. i shouldn't have been allowed to make that association. that is not okay.
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as students, we should not have to fear for our lives. we should not have to run for our lives. we should not have to hear the sound of gunfire on a school campus. we should not have to hear the screams of our peers, of our friends, of our teachers, of our mentors. that is not okay. we are losing sleep. all we can remember are the screams and cries and stampede of feet running for their lives. some of us are unable to stay awake. all we can do is sleep because when we are awake, we are haunted by the memories of that day, of what happened to us. we can only imagine what could have been avoided if common sense gun control had been implemented after the first mass shooting, as was the case with so many other countries. schools were once places of learning, of respect, of dignity. they have now become sacrilege. they're now shooting grounds, and this is not okay. so i ask, congress and senate, what if it had happened to you or to your children? would it take you so long to make a difference? would it take you this long to
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affect change and create policy and propose laws that could stem the tide of violence? would it? no more. no more placing nonsensical politics above our lives. no more accepting donations from the nra, who seem to care more about their right to own a gun than the lives of american children. they protect the second amendment, yet the nra doesn't seem to realize that it was written 241 years ago. during that interval, our guns have changed tremendously, yet our gun laws have not. that is not okay. the national rifle association pushes to preserve our right to bear arms for the second amount, yet what they don't say is the second amendment was written in order to keep and preserve a well-regulated militia. the united states has the most powerful military in the world. there is no need to keep an preserve a well-regulated militia. we live in a first-world country that many dream of coming to. they dream of coming here because we serve and protect our citizens, yet at this moment, we
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are not. and lawmakers are slapping us students in the face. and this is not okay. i implore you, congress and senate, out with partisan politics. now is not the time to be fighting over whose views are right and wrong. now is the time for action. i beseech our american lawmakers from congress and senate to stop slinging mud across the aisle and come up with a bipartisan solution to an obvious epidemic of gun violence and mass shooting in america. a solution that will save lives. a solution that will prevent another mass shooting like the ones at columbine, virginia tech, aurora, sandy hook elementary, san bernardino, pulse nightclub, las vegas, and most recently my school, marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. now is the time for change. never again will this happen in our country, to our students, to us. we the students will make a difference. our voices will be heard, and we will not be silenced. so i say, students, stand up for yourselves and stand up for
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others. we are the future. let us change the future and let us do it now. signed, dimitri hoth, senior, marjory stoneman douglas high school, 17 years old, survivor. [ applause ] >> we have actually one more speaker, with due respect. then representative jacobs and i have a few comments. but let's hear our last speaker. >> good afternoon. i am 16 years old, and i'm a tenth grader at marjory stoneman douglas high school. to think last week at this exact time i was complaining about not wanting to go to rehearsal after school and trying to think of an excuse to get out of it. that day will be with all of us
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and all of our parents, all of our teachers for the rest of our lives. when we saw this stuff on the news, i wept and wondered how anyone could let this happen, how our government could let this happen to men, women, and our children. we don't want to take away your guns. we don't want to get rid of the second amendment. we want things to be done to save our lives. we want gun policies that prevent an 18-year-old from killing 17 of our friends. we want mental health tests that won't allow them to purchase these guns. when did politics and money from the nra become more important than our lives? our message is simple, and it's never again. to everyone at the nra and everyone affiliated with the
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nra, we're not afraid of you. we will not be silenced by anything that you have to say. we are here. our voices are loud. and we're not stopping until change happens. never again will this ever happen to any one of my friends. i will never -- no one's parents should be put through that ever again. never again. thank you. [ applause ] thank you, everybody, so very much. i think that they have said more than we possibly could, and i know that representative jacobs has a few thoughts as we move into the afternoon session for meetings. >> thank you, senator. we've had a group of kids that we've scheduled -- >> once again, we're following these dramatic developments in
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tallahassee. you've been listening to student survivors from parkland. they're speaking out after meeting with lawmakers in the florida state capitol of tallahassee. they're turning their anger and anguish into action. >> never again! never again! never again! never again! never again! never again! >> i'm wolf blitzer here in washington. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world as you see students from florida stoneman douglas high school. they've converged on the state capitol in tallahassee, and they're demanding action, immediate action on gun violence here in the united states after the slaughter of 17 students and staff members at their school by a shooter with an assault-style weapon. >> we're old enough to understand why a senator cares about re-election or not. we're old enough to understand why someone might want to discredit us for their own political purposes. but we will not be silenced.


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