News AAND Notes: Parkland Edition

No Republicans Allowed

The Parkland school shooting has sent ripples through the country in a way that the Pulse shooting (sadly) did not, shining a harsh light on the NRA and those who accept its donations. Locally, this is playing out between Congressman Al Lawson, a rare Dem to get NRA cash, and challenger, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. Lawson’s office now says that the Federal Election Commission erroneously recorded a donation from the Alabama Farmers Federation as coming from the NRA, writing via email, “There was an error in the FEC database based on the FEC ID number inputted on a check from the Alabama Farmers Federation (Received 8/24/2017).” His office provided a link that shows no donations from the NRA to his campaign.

In New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and other Dems have launched a series of ads targeting Republicans on the NRA dole, reports Artvoice. The Buffalo-based alt says that seven congressional Republicans with ‘A’ ratings will be targeted in the anti-NRA campaign: Claudia Tenney, John Faso, John Katko, Lee Zeldin, Elise Stefanik, Chris Collins and Tom Reed. Gov. Cuomo has also “formed a coalition with neighboring states to intercept firearms that are illegal in New York State.”

The Next Wave of Activists

On March 14, the one-month anniversary of Parkland, thousands of kids nationwide walked out of school to demand gun control, remaining outside for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 killed in Parkland. In the nation’s capital, students gathered at the capitol building and marched to the White House, according to WashingtonCity Paper.

Students who marched told the paper that they felt unsafe at school, with one 17-year-old saying she thinks about what would happen if a shooter burst into her English class, which has no windows and only one exit; another 15-year-old girl said she gets “paranoid” in large groups, and that she’d written her mom’s name and phone number on her wrist in case “something terrible” happened to her that day. Students told WCP they hoped their message would resonate with Republicans.

Anti-Beiber Shoots off on NRA Obsession

With all the gloom, doom and presidential tweeting, it’s kinda refreshing to hear from a 19-year-old who isn’t hyper-focused on negativity. Declan McKenna recently spoke to Colorado Springs Independentin the midst of his U.S. tour. Though the British songwriter’s melodies are “relentlessly catchy,” Bill Forman writes, his lyrics delve into deeper topics, like the media portrayal of the LGBT community and “FIFA’s exploitation of impoverished Brazilians during the World Cup.”

Nevertheless, McKenna, who said he doesn’t care about his image so much as his music (which is a great image), said that school shootings don’t really come up when he talks to teens on tour. “So is it just journalists who ask him about it constantly?” Forman asked. Yep. McKenna said, “It’s a very genuine movement, and it’s very difficult to argue against people who have gone through the worst of what these types of guns can do. It was a massive shame and a horrible waste. But I think there are a lot of smart young people out there who will change things.”

A Daughter Says Goodbye

In Erie Reader, high school senior Morgan (no last name given) wrote of a hard lockdown at her school when she was a freshman. Others thought it a drill, but she knew different; a student from her class saw a kid with a gun in the hallway. As they huddled in the corner furthest from the door with the lights off, as they’d been taught, she called her mother, possibly for the last time.

“…[A]ll I wanted in that moment was to hear my mom’s voice. I listened to my mom cry and scream into the phone at me as I kept telling her goodbye,” she wrote. The shooter turned out to be a prankster with an airsoft gun painted to look real. But the memory stuck.

Morgan wrote that before Parkland, she’d been desensitized by hundreds of school shootings.  Now, thanks to the Parkland survivors’ activism, she is reawakened. In closing, she called for action:

Listen to the survivors and families of victims of the Sandy Hook and Columbine shootings, and all other school shootings that have occurred. Listen to my mom, a parent who got a call from her kid saying there was a shooter in her school. No student, teacher, or faculty member deserves to feel unsafe due to the threat of gun violence that is present in schools all across the nation. And to any and all politicians who don’t proactively work to make schools a safer place because it puts more money in their pocket, just know that children grow up to become adults who are capable of voting you out of office, and we will. We matter, we have a voice, and we will be the change.



Editors note: This story was updated on March 22 with Al Lawson campaign’s denial that he received an NRA donation.