MSD Tour Faces Backlash and Support from SWFL Republicans
Student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting embarked on a statewide bus tour from Parkland last week.
The Road to Change tour plans to visit all of the state's 27 Congressional districts, making its first Southwest Florida stops Monday.
Following a press conference in Naples, the group headed to Fort Myers for a public town hall on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. The discussion included a panel of 12 high school and college students who are part of the March for Our Lives movement, including three current and past Marjory Stoneman Douglas students.
15-year-old Lauren Hogg is the younger sister of recent MSD graduate David Hogg and co-author of their book, #NeverAgain. She was asked by a member of the 400-person crowd to describe how it felt, on Valentine’s Day, when a gunman shot down four of her friends and 13 others.
“The easiest way to imagine what it was like that day is to close your eyes. Close your eyes for a minute," Hogg said. "Think of somebody who you love. Think of somebody you hold dear, you love and are so close with, and imagine all the great memories you had together. And, imagine, in a matter of six minutes, every single conversation and memory was ripped from you.”
A repeat-heckler cut in to Hogg’s description to point out the rate of gun violence in Chicago, before being escorted out by officers from the university police department.
FGCU student Bobby Garon says he was disappointed in the man’s outbursts throughout the night.
Garon was at the town hall with other members of the FGCU College Republicans, after the group met with the March for Our Lives panelists earlier in the afternoon.
“We all are in agreeance that the youth needs to drive the next era of politics," Garon said. "Regardless of what your political persuasion is – left or right – the youth getting involved is tremendous, and we all agree on that. At the end of the day, we think we can make some serious progress going forward in regards to curb the epidemic of mass shootings.”
The Road to Change tour made its way to Charlotte County Tuesday, beginning with a voter registration event followed by another town hall in Punta Gorda.
The man cuts the questioner line, draping a Don’t Tread on Me flag on the mic stand — before repeatedly naming the shooter in the Parkland massacre, though the MSD students in attendance previously asked him not to. He is eventually escorted out by @FGCUPD. pic.twitter.com/7D4CLG2hp0— Rachel Iacovone (@racheliacovone) June 26, 2018