Cameron Kasky

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Cameron Kasky
Cameron Kasky.png
Kasky speaking at a rally in 2018
Born (2000-11-11) November 11, 2000 (age 19)[1]
NationalityAmerican
EducationMarjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Occupation
  • Student
  • freelance activist
[2]
Years active2018–present
OrganizationNever Again MSD
Known forGun control advocacy

Cameron Kasky (born November 11, 2000) is an American activist and advocate against gun violence who co-founded the student-led gun violence prevention advocacy group Never Again MSD. He is notable for helping to organize the March for Our Lives nationwide student protest in March 2018. Kasky is a survivor of the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Kasky was a student, a "theatre kid", and former member of the drama club at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida, and was a junior at the time of the school shooting in February 2018.[4][5][6] He has a younger brother who is also a survivor of the MSD shooting.[7]

He currently attends Columbia University.[8]

Advocacy[edit]

Kasky had just left drama class when the shooting began at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018.[9] After meeting his younger brother at a different classroom and exiting the school, the fire alarm sounded. With other students, they were instructed to go back inside. They waited an hour in a classroom until they were rescued.[5]

After the shooting, Kasky brought several school friends to his house and with them founded Never Again MSD (#NeverAgain), a student-led gun control advocacy group.[10] Kasky came up with the name "Never Again" while the group stayed up through the night to make plans, and he posted "Stay alert. #NeverAgain" to Facebook.[4][11][12] The group works to create a national movement against gun violence, including an effort to publicize legislators receiving money from the NRA and persuading people not to vote for them. It promoted and led a massive rally called March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, on March 24, 2018.[13]

According to a report in The New Yorker, it was Kasky's idea to found the activist group along with fellow students David Hogg, Emma González, Sarah Chadwick and others – a group described by reporter Michael Schulman as having "moral clarity and vision" in the gun control debate.[10] Kasky wrote an op-ed on the CNN website describing the events of the massacre and his reaction to it.[5] In an interview, Kasky told the CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that "my generation won't stand for this."[5] Although known as a "theatre kid" with a reputation for being the class clown,[4] Kasky's experience after the shooting was primarily one of anger:[14]

Can't sleep. Thinking about so many things. So angry that I'm not scared or nervous anymore ... I'm just angry. I just want people to understand what happened and understand that doing nothing will lead to nothing. Who'd have thought that concept was so difficult to grasp?[4]

At a televised "Stand Up" town hall session sponsored by CNN with Senator Marco Rubio, Kasky asked the senator whether he would continue receiving money from the National Rifle Association (NRA): "Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?"[15][16] Rubio responded by saying, "I will always accept the help of anyone who agrees with my agenda."[15] Kasky repeatedly questioned Rubio about whether he would continue receiving NRA money. The senator did not offer a definitive response but appeared to soften his positions regarding some gun restrictions.[17]

Kasky temporarily stopped utilizing Facebook as a result of death threats.[15] When later Kasky was accused of being a crisis actor, he replied to CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "if you had seen me in our school's production of 'Fiddler on the Roof,' you would know that nobody would pay me to act for anything."[18]

Kasky announced the March for Our Lives rally on February 18, 2018.[19] Later that week, Kasky appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show with Emma González and Jaclyn Corin to discuss their advocacy and march.[20] Kasky said, "The thing that inspired us to create the march was people saying, 'This is not the time to talk about gun control, this is the time to mourn.' We understand that, so here's the time to talk about gun control. March 24th."[21]

In March 2018, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine along with fellow activists Jaclyn Corin, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Alex Wind.[22]

Kasky called President Donald Trump a "professional liar" on CNN after Trump delivered a pro-gun speech at the annual NRA convention in Dallas in May 2018, in contrast to Trump's prior call for gun control reform in the wake of the Parkland shooting. Kasky criticized the president to point out Trump said what he needed to say to appease the NRA.[23][24][25]

In May 2018, Kasky's father registered a super PAC, Families vs Assault Rifles PAC (FAMSVARPAC), with intentions of going "up against NRA candidates in every meaningful race in the country".[26][27][28]

New laws[edit]

In March 2018, the Florida Legislature passed a bill titled the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. It raises the minimum age for buying firearms to 21, establishes waiting periods and background checks, provides a program for the arming of some teachers and the hiring of school police, bans bump stocks, and bars potentially violent or mentally unhealthy people arrested under certain laws from possessing guns. In all, it allocates around $400 million.[29] The governor signed the bill into law on March 9. He commented, "To the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, you made your voices heard. You didn't let up and you fought until there was change."[30]

Departure from March for Our Lives[edit]

On September 19, 2018, Kasky announced his decision to leave March for Our Lives in an interview with Fox News Radio.[31] He expressed regret for some of his past actions, including confronting Rubio at the "Stand Up" town hall session and saying the name of the Parkland shooter aloud in his question to Rubio.[31] However, Kasky said his decision to leave March for Our Lives was not due to a change of heart or political views.[32] Instead, he wants to take responsibility for his actions and encourages others to seek mental health services when necessary.[32] Moving past March for Our Lives, Kasky is working on improving himself personally and a new podcast, "Cameron Knows Nothing."[31]

Reactions[edit]

In The New Yorker, journalist Evan Osnos singled out Kasky's direct questioning of Marco Rubio at the CNN town hall as significant and as something no journalist had ever been able to do.[33] People magazine stated that as founder of the #NeverAgain movement, and despite death threats from NRA supporters, "Kasky has committed himself to advancing legislative changes that will make it more difficult for people to get guns, and in the process, has helped inspire advocacy around the cause."[34]

Selected works[edit]

  • Kasky, Cameron (February 2018). "Parkland student: My generation won't stand for this". CNN.

References[edit]

  1. ^ @cameron_kasky (November 10, 2018). "Hey everyone! It's officially my birthday, and to celebrate my big 18, please drop a donation at scottjbeigelmemorialfund.com !!! Also, I'm working on a gofundme to buy Billy Eichner a signed & framed picture of Ann Coulter. Will keep you all posted. Love!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Washington Post, Alex Horton, April 29, 2018, The NRA said guns will be banned during a Pence speech. Parkland students see hypocrisy. Archived July 10, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved April 30, 2018
  3. ^ Graham, Renée (February 20, 2018). "Post-Columbine Teens Take the Lead with #NeverAgain". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. ...  Cameron Kasky has already done more to advocate for an assault weapons ban than a decade's worth of GOP legislators.
  4. ^ a b c d Witt, Emily (February 19, 2018). "How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement". The New Yorker. New York: Advance Publications. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Kasky, Cameron (February 20, 2018). "Parkland Student: My Generation Won't Stand for This". CNN. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Survivors, Grieving Parents of Slain Florida Students Confront Lawmakers and NRA Rep at Town Hall Meeting". New York: Jewish Telegraphic Agency. February 22, 2018. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Huriash, Lisa J. (February 14, 2018). "Students Recount Horror of School Shooting". Sun Sentinel. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Tronc. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Jon Levine, August 31, 2019, New York Post, Parkland shooting survivor Cameron Kasky is ‘excited’ to be going to Columbia University, Retrieved September 7, 2019
  9. ^ Schulman, Michael (February 23, 2018). "The Spring Awakening of the Stoneman Douglas Theatre Kids". The New Yorker. New York: Advance Publications. Archived from the original on February 26, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Michael Schulman (February 23, 2018). "The Spring Awakening of the Stoneman Douglas Theatre Kids". The New Yorker. New York: Advance Publications. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Cameron Kasky, the seventeen-year-old firebrand who started the Never Again movement with his classmates ... I watched Kasky, González, and their classmates show more moral clarity and vision than we've seen in the gun debate for a long time.
  11. ^ Smidt, Remy (February 20, 2018). "Here's What It's Like at the Headquarters of the Teens Working to Stop Mass Shootings". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on February 20, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Bond, Shannon (February 23, 2018). "Students Take the Lead in US Gun Control Debate". Financial Times. London: Nikkei. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Mann, Brian (February 18, 2018). "Students Who Lived through Florida Shooting Turn Rage into Activism". All Things Considered. NPR. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Kasky and most of the other kids in the park survived the attack and now they're pivoting hard trying to create a new national movement. They've announced plans for a massive rally against school and gun violence in Washington ...
  14. ^ Kasky, Cameron (February 16, 2018). "Students Who Survived Florida Shooting Want Politicians to Know They're Angry". All Things Considered. Interviewed by McEvers, Kelly. NPR. Archived from the original on February 18, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Cameron Kasky is angry. He's angry because when he goes back to school, 17 people won't be there, 17 people who were killed in a mass shooting in Florida on Wednesday. And Cameron Kasky is with us now. Welcome.
  15. ^ a b c Kircher, Madison Malone (February 22, 2018). "Parkland-Shooting Survivor Logs off Facebook after Death Threats". New York. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Or Cameron Kasky taking Marco Rubio to task during CNN's town hall on Wednesday night.
  16. ^ Kellman, Laurie; Swanson, Emily (February 26, 2018). "Americans say Congress is listening to all the wrong people". Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  17. ^ Caputo, Marc; Morin, Rebecca (February 21, 2018). "Facing Jeers and Boos, Rubio Shifts on Guns during Tense Forum". Politico. Arlington, Virginia: Capitol News Company. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Kasky cut him off and re-asked his question: 'No more – no more NRA money?'
  18. ^ Lasker, Alex (February 22, 2018). "Florida Shooting Survivor Flawlessly Refutes Paid Actor Conspiracy Theory". AOL. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. During a recent interview, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Kasky what he would say to the conspiracy theorists who claim he is a paid actor.
  19. ^ Bruney, Gabrielle (February 18, 2018). "Survivors of the Florida School Shooting Are Planning to March on Washington". Esquire. New York: Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on February 20, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  20. ^ Feller, Madison (February 23, 2018). "Emma Gonzalez Shares the Story behind Her Moving 'We Call B.S.' Gun Reform Speech". Elle. Archived from the original on February 26, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  21. ^ Braca, Nina (February 23, 2018). "Parkland Student Activists Call for Tighter Gun Control on 'Ellen': 'We're Here to Fight the Good Fight'". Billboard. Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group. Archived from the original on May 16, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  22. ^ Associated Press, March 22, 2018, Houston Public Media, Parkland Students On Cover Of Time Magazine Archived March 23, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved March 22, 2018, Note: cover third week March 2018; "... The cover features Marjory Stoneman Douglas students Jaclyn Corin, Alex Wind, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and David Hogg, ..."
  23. ^ CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi, May 5, 2018, Parkland student Cameron Kasky calls Trump a 'professional liar' after NRA speech Archived May 5, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved May 6, 2018
  24. ^ Avery Anapol, May 5, 2018, The Hill, Parkland student rips Trump over NRA speech: 'He's a professional liar' Archived June 17, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved May 8, 2018, "... slammed President Trump for speaking at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum the previous day by calling him a "professional liar ..."
  25. ^ Slattery, Denis; Boroff, David (May 5, 2018). "Parkland school shooting survivor Cameron Kasky calls Trump a 'professional liar' one day after NRA speech". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  26. ^ Smiley, David (May 30, 2018). "Parkland parents launch a Super PAC to go after politicians and the NRA". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on May 30, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  27. ^ Huriash, Lisa (May 30, 2018). "Parkland parents set up PAC to take on NRA". Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on May 31, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  28. ^ "Families vs Assault Rifles PAC". famsvarpac.org. Archived from the original on December 13, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  29. ^ Sweeney, Dan (March 7, 2018). "Florida House sends Stoneman Douglas gun and school bill to Gov. Scott". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  30. ^ Sanchez, Ray; Yan, Holly (March 9, 2018). "Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs gun bill". CNN. Archived from the original on March 9, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  31. ^ a b c "Co-Founder Of March For Our Lives Cameron Kasky Explains The Mistakes He's Made & Why He Left March For Our Lives". FOX News Radio. September 19, 2018. Archived from the original on October 10, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  32. ^ a b Iglesias, Jose (September 20, 2018). "March For Our Lives founder leaves the group, regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on November 21, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  33. ^ Osnos, Evan (February 22, 2018). "CNN's Town Hall on Guns and the Unmaking of Marco Rubio". The New Yorker. New York: Advance Publications. Archived from the original on February 26, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  34. ^ Harris, Chris (February 26, 2018). "What to Know about Cameron Kasky, School Shooting Survivor Allegedly Getting Death Threats from NRA Supporters". People. New York: Meredith Corporation. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.

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