In the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead, students from Florida have become activists, staging protests and speaking out on news networks about their desire for the prevention of gun violence.
Late night hosts addressed the students’ activism Tuesday night, with two students who are part of the #NeverAgain movement making guest appearances on Comedy Central’s “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper.”
On the show, Klepper kicked off the segment by taking on the persona of an outraged gun-loving American, who challenged teens to find a way around his “playbook for evading gun control debates,” and then went on to give them an abstinence lecture — abstinence from civic action, that is.
After the commercial break, Carly Novell and Delaney Tarr sat in with Klepper to make their case for common sense gun legislation.
“Don’t bring a well-researched argument to a gun fight,” Klepper advised. Tarr argued that the students aren’t advocating for an all-out war against the Second Amendment, but rather for measures that will allow students to go to school in safety.
“Ultimately that is our goal, to make the world safer, to make our country safer, because this is an American issue,” she said.
Klepper brought up the possibility of arming teachers, to which Novell replied, “That’s going to school in a prison, and your teachers are your prison guards.”
Stephen Colbert also addressed the students’ activism on “The Late Show.” He began by solemnly describing his initial reaction to news of the shooting and to the subsequent statements by government representatives like Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
“There is one group that does give me hope that we can do something to protect the children, and sadly, it’s the children,” he continued. “The students from Parkland, Fla. These students saw their leaders doing nothing and said, ‘Hold my root beer.'”
After a reel of Parkland students calling out politicians on various news networks aired, Colbert explained that numerous students had gone to Tallahassee, where a vote to determine whether to reinstate an assault weapons ban was taking place, to ask their lawmakers to pass the measure.
“And with these students watching from the gallery, these legislators proved they heard their anguished cries and voted no anyway,” he said. “I hope these kids don’t give up, because this is their lives and their future. Someone else may be in power, but this country belongs to them. And there’s reason for hope.”
He finished by citing the #MeToo movement and its rapid effect on predatory men, and encouraging those who disagree with the politicians who “will not protect you” to go to the polls and vote them out of office.
Trevor Noah also highlighted the students’ action, jokingly stating that “those meddling kids” are the biggest difference in the reaction to this latest episode of gun violence.
“Damn,” he exclaimed, after clips of students protesting played. “Those kids are not messing around.”
“This also just goes to show how upside-down things become when guns are involved,” he said. “Kids are acting like adults and adults are acting like children.”