Survivors turned political activists


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Kyle Kashuv speaking with First Lady Melania Trump on March 10, 2018 after a meeting in the oval office.

Joe Caswell, Features Editor

Amidst the horrors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting of Feb. 14, 2018, many new national voices have emerged, speaking promptly and powerfully about what happened and what needs to be done. These voices the voice of high school students. Two of the most well known voices are from students David Hogg and Kyle Kashuv- who have both made multiple appearances on national television stations like CNN, Fox News, Good Morning Britain and more.

Although the two of them both survived one of the worst school shootings in American history, both have come out of the tragedy with completely opposite ideas of how to move forward.

Kyle Kashuv is a junior at Stoneman Douglas who leans more to the right; voicing his concerns against gun control policies and pushing more for abolishing gun-free zones, strengthening school security, and protecting Americans’ gun rights. He is also a notably strong critic of his town’s police department, continuously calling for the resignation of Sheriff Scott Israel for his department’s multiple failures during the Parkland shooting and events leading up to it.

David Hogg is a senior at Stoneman Douglas and is using his activism in a much different way; he is a strong supporter of gun control legislation. Whether that be banning certain weapons or implementing stronger regulations, Hogg sees guns as the problem.

After the shooting, Hogg quickly stepped up to the podium to be a leader in the 2018 gun violence protests, conducting numerous interviews along the way. In an interview with CBS This Morning, Hogg said this about gun control: “The policy makers in this country must work together. And I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. These are children’s lives. That’s the end of the line. And if you want to have mental health reform, you support that. If you want to have universal background checks, you support that. Why not do both? Politicians compromise and we can get this done. It just a matter of overcoming our political barriers in order to save children’s lives, and in that way, our future too.”

Hogg also received invitations to speak to the President both at the White House and on the phone, but later declined the invitation and stated in an interview that he “hung up on the White House the other day” saying that the call was “very offensive considering the fact that there were funerals the next day, there was mourning we still had to do.”

Kashuv was not pleased to hear this, stating he was “trying to control his anger” towards Hogg for his multiple charged statements against the President and Florida Governor Rick Scott. In an interview with Fox News, Kashuv said “The president calls [Hogg] and it shows he wants to make a change, and you’re talking about bipartisan change and the one man who leads our nation comes to you and says ‘let’s do something, let’s make it happen.’ And you hang up on him?” He continued: “You hang up on him and brag about it on national television? It’s extremely counterproductive,” Kashuv told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum.

Kashuv says he is not one for counterproductivity; although he is a strongly based conservative at heart, he advocates for bipartisan solutions talking to senators from the likes of Ted Cruz all the way to Chuck Schumer- two senators with opposite opinions on nearly everything.

Kashuv also met with the President and First Lady to advocate for the STOP School Violence Act 2018 bill which passed the house last week with an overwhelming majority and most certainly will be put into law in the coming weeks.

Kyle recalled the bill as a great start but is not fully satisfied as he says there is “still much more to do.”

Joe Messina of class 2019 appreciates all Kashuv has done stating “it’s just refreshing to see him advocating for some actual dialogue between the two parties, it’s what we need most right now if anyone wants to get any legislation passed on the topics of gun control and school safety.”

Whether you agree with David Hogg or Kyle Kashuv, it’s an amazing thing how these students no older than 18 have become powerful voices for change in this country despite being first-hand witnesses of some of our nation’s darkest moments.