Inside the makeshift headquarters of the Parkland teens working to stop mass shootings


Originally published at:


Dam proud of those young Americans!



No no no, didn’t you get the memo? Young people cannot organize. Therefore George Soros did it.

(Yes, the right is making this argument in earnest. They will never forget the sixties, except when they completely forget the sixties.)


I don’t want to jinx it, but I do want to know how to capture and reproduce it if possible: what seems to be making this time different? Even if it ultimately doesn’t lead far, there seems to be more reaction now than I remember even from Newtown, Vegas, or Orlando. Or is it just my bad memory?


My theory:

  • The Columbine attack seemed largely unprecedented so the teens in that case probably assumed adults would organize some meaningful response.
  • The Newtown kids weren’t old enough to organize on their own behalf.
  • The Orlando victims were despised by the right from the beginning (being LGBT) and the gun fetishists were able to frame the attack as problem with immigrants rather than a problem with guns.
  • The Vegas victims were mostly concertgoers from out of town who had no sense of community tying them together beyond the tragedy and a shared taste in music.

In Parkland we have a bunch of regular teenagers who have lived out their entire lives under the grisly prospect of dying in a mass shooting, while the adults running the country did nothing to prevent it. They are old enough to organize yet young enough that they aren’t too jaded to expect real reform. They are a community united by tragedy. They know firsthand that the right-wing talking points about “securing schools” and “reporting suspicious guys to the authorities” don’t work. And they are harder for the right wing to dismiss or demonize than a bunch of LGBT partygoers (which is not to say they won’t try).

Fingers crossed that this is the right mix of circumstances to finally get something done.


There may be nothing intrinsically different about this time, other than having the right preconditions:

“The “take-off” of a new social movement requires preconditions that build up over many years. These conditions include broad historic developments, a growing discontented population of victims and allies, and a budding autonomous grassroots opposition, all of which encourage discontent with the present conditions, raise expectations that they can change, and provide the means to do it.”

Edit to say I don’t intend this to detract from the amazing job these kids are doing - especially that speech by Emma González, which captured the zeitgeist so eloquently. Sometimes it takes the right voice at the right moment to make change happen.


These kids are making the argument that will topple the NRA. The safety of our school children must override the rights of gun ownership. Period. Its simple and irrefutable.


I love what these kids are doing, and I have faith that it will inspire other kids, and other movements. This could get really big. But then, so many horrible events have already happened, and so much despair and disgust over them has already happened in response – and then nothing happened to curb easy access to guns – that it’s hard to be optimistic about the toppling of the NRA. It’s VERY powerful and popular, and not just because, like the gun makers it ultimately represents, it give tons of money to politicians.

A LOT of people just LOVE their guns and being able to purchase them easily. And more than that, they see the effort to curtail easy access to guns as part of a larger “liberal agenda” that they’re also fighting against.

None of which is to say that when it comes to the possibility of finally seeing some curtailing of easy access to kill-sticks, I’m not more heartened than I have been in years by these kids.


Teenagers from upper-middle class white families do not know how to take no for an answer. In this case, it works in favor of the greater society.


They don’t have to give up their guns. They have to agree to reasonable control on purchase, and control of military style weapons.

One step at a time.


Wouldn’t it be nice if more people were that reasonable.

However, even a lot of people who don’t have guns think that gun control is part of a multipronged liberal/government plot, all aimed at “stealing our freedom.” The fear of slippery slopes is very strong.


I’ve wondered about this, and I think you’re right. It’s like a dystopian version of the kids in an old 1930s Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland film.

I also think the zeitgeist is just right for this movement. In the last year or so, we’ve seen empowering marches for women and science that are starting to have an impact on elections. We’ve had a spate of these horrifying shootings, and no one has done a damn thing. We’ve got a feckless Congress and a president no one with any sense likes or wants to follow. And we’re sick as a society of the NRA warping the 2nd Amendment to their agenda. The time is ripe for these people on the cusp of adulthood to take the lead on this issue, and more power to them. May their children never know the kind of fear that they’ve had to grow up with.


Bad argument is bad. No permits for water pistols. Nope, free water pistols for everyone! As many as you like! Heck, let’s make water pistol ownership a requirement.


All of the above, but also, I think it is in part, your memory. Teens have become outraged and demonstrated before. But it’s really hard to maintain it long enough to make a difference, which is why we don’t remember the other times.


You have a group of young adults who have lived their lives in fear of something like this happening (see also: Students substitute gun control protest for active shooter drill).

I know how we all love to take the piss out of millennials, but let’s get serious for a minute here. These are teenagers and young but legal adults who have lived their lives in fear of exactly this type of incident happening. They have seen that no matter how many times this happens, those in power do nothing to prevent it. They see those in power doing everything they can to strip away civil liberties and social programs – removing their future safety nets while at the same time lining the coffers of the ultra rich. They see their family, friends, and others being hurt by overt racism, classism, homophobia, sexism, discrimination, and see how those who support these views are the ones running the show right now.

They are rightly pissed the fuck off and are tired of this shit.

We’re long overdue for a youth and counterculture uprising. If these students can be the catalyst for this, I say more power to them.


Whenever I hear someone say that young people can’t do something, I hear someone say that they weren’t capable of doing that thing when they were that age.

My secondary school organised two student strikes when I was there, with no help from any teachers (Who were at neutral at best) or anyone outside the school.


See also: Inauguration Day, 2017. (At least, at the schools in my area.)

(Presumably, Soros was behind this, as well.)


Well sure, he’s behind everything even vaguely on the left. LIBTARDS can’t think for themselves, don’tcha know.

A typical, non-ironic image:

A couple of good overviews:


All of the above, and maybe also - they’re in a blue area, so they don’t get (as it were) shot down by adults who harbor fears of gun confiscation; they’re possibly from more privileged backgrounds, so they have not been told so much that nobody wants to hear what they have to say; and they may feel that the overall political system is hostile to them (as it kind of is) so they feel more urgency about taking action.


There is something quite wrong when a 13 year old can buy a weapon, but is cockblocked from buying cigarettes, beer, a skin magazine, or lottery tickets: