Student Who Survived Florida School Shooting: ‘This Is The Time To Talk About Guns’

"This can be stopped. This needs to be stopped."

Cameron Kasky is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who survived the shooting on February 13 that took the lives of 17 students and teachers. Like an increasing number of his classmates, Kasky is demanding politicians take action so a tragedy like the one that occurred at his school doesn't happen again, and he's determined to bring about real change.

The teen's first step was to write a letter to CNN in which he explained, in part, "We can't ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises. And so, I'm asking - no, demanding - we take action now. Why? Because at the end of the day the students at my school felt one shared experience — that our politicians had abandoned us by failing to keep assault weapons out of our school."

In a follow-up conversation with host Anderson Cooper, Kasky discussed how he hopes this shooting will be a catalyst for change. "We're going to use this to try and make something better out of it," he said. 

Kasky added, "This is the only country where this kind of thing happens… we had to prepare extensively at Stillman Douglass and that shocked people. This is something that can be stopped, and this is something that will be stopped."

And though Kasky acknowledges mental health plays a role in America's gun violence problem, he's over politicians and others using it as an easy out.  "I think that it's being used as a way to get out of discussing gun control, but I think there's a very clear connection between the two," he said of the mental health deflection. "I'm not trying to take everybody's guns away, but there was a 19-year-old who legally bought an AR-15, which is a weapon of war, and if he had been through the least bit of screening, somebody would have said this person does not need a weapon like that. I think there need to be a lot more regulations put on guns, and it needs to be a lot harder to get them."

Kasky has been so affected by Wednesday's deadly shooting that he's already started a Facebook group called Never Again MSD, which he describes as a "central place for people in Broward and all over the world who are sending their support." 

He added, "A lot of people feel the same way we do, and a lot of people want to show everybody in the polls that we're not having this anymore."

Furthermore, the teen has plans to take his activism for stricter gun control laws far beyond social media. "This feels like a calling," he declared. "I'm trying to spread as much awareness about this as I can, and I hope to continue doing that as long as it takes."

And even though the media has a tendency to move on quickly after a mass shooting, Kasky is "not worried" that's something that will happen this time around. "Everybody is sending in support, everybody believes in what we're doing, and everybody says, 'OK, we're done believing that this is inevitable,'" he said. "This can be stopped. This needs to be stopped,"

Finally, Kasky had something to say for those politicians who once again offered "thoughts and prayers" but have made no indication they plan to push for any real legislative change. "This is the time to talk about guns. There's much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done, and much more that people like Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are not doing," he concluded. "It's scary to think that these are the people who are making our laws when our community just took 17 bullets to the heart. It feels like the only people who don't care are the people making the laws."

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