Ahead of this weekend’s March for Our Lives event to demand that Congress finally take action to end gun violence in America, five of the student survivors of February’s mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida visited “The Daily Show” on Thursday night to re-center the conversation surrounding the shooting on what truly matters: the problem of gun violence and its effects on real human beings.
The five students were Carly Novell, Elijah Abraham, Kai Koerber, Thomas Holgate and Josh Belenke, all of whom wore shirts that read “MSDStrong.” “The Daily Show” posted the full, extended version of the discussion, moderated by Trevor Noah, on YouTube after the show aired the abridged version, and you can see the full discussion in the embedded video above.
Noah’s questions ran the full gamut of the conversation that they have driven, from their views on gun control to that right-wing backlash to how a lot of people have generally lost track of the thread.
When Noah asked if they felt that some have “politicized your pain,” Novell answered:
“I think people are forgetting that 17 people died, and they’re forgetting that we’re grieving,” she said. “And even making conspiracy theories about it. Like, we were there. We experienced it. So it takes away from our pain and it takes away from the real topic of what’s going on.”
After several of the students discussed their ideal gun control solutions, Abraham explained that the problem of gun violence and school shootings really isn’t something that can be dealt with in any one way.
“I want people to focus on the fact that we need to prevent something so atrocious from ever happening. This is domestic terrorism, essentially,” Abraham said. “And this is a multi-leveled issue that requires different solutions. It’s not just one sweep-all solution. It’s not we ban all guns, it’s not we fund more mental health. It’s an all-out multi-sided solution that we require.”
At the end of the interview, he described the struggle to try to move forward with the way people treat the whole thing, and them, like some kind of circus.
“I think they forget that we’re still in pain, and some of us aren’t ready to just go back right into our lives and to school. And, like, we go to school and there’s still media there every day. There are people standing outside taking pictures like it’s the Las Vegas sign, and it’s still new for us. It’s only been a month and a half and we’re still in pain.”
You can watch the full 15-minute interview at the top of this post. For info about a March for Our Lives event near you, check out the March for Our Lives website right here.