After the school shooting that killed 17 people in Florida, students across the country are protesting for tighter gun control laws. High schoolers left their classes to confront politicians on their failure to change laws and for taking money from the National Rifle Association. Delaney Tarr was one of the vocal students:
"We've had enough of thoughts and prayers. ... If you supported us you would have made a change long ago and you would be making change now. So this is to every law maker out there. No longer can you take money from the NRA ... because we are coming after you."
Adding fuel to the controversy, some GOP members have accused students of being hired actors. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe criticized the protests:
“This morning I was working out and listening to the news about ‘students’ being bussed in to the Florida Capitol. The hypocrisy of the left struck me! They expect lawmakers to listen to the policy advice of 18 year old and younger ‘students’ who are advocating for gun control, but they do not believe 18 year olds who are old enough to serve on the battlefields of Afghanistan are old enough to purchase a rifle.”
Other Republicans, such as Marco Rubio, contradicted such messages, calling claims that students are actors “the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency.”
- In what ways are students demonstrating courage? What obstacles do they face as they protest for greater gun control?
- Assess students' messaging. How do they balance emotional appeals and logical arguments? Which are most effective in this situation?
- What do Republicans want from this controversy? In other words, what are these lawmakers' interests? How do their criticisms of the students help or hurt their case?