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Orlando massacre survivor tears into Republican politicians at Parkland protest

Josh Jackman February 22, 2018

(Twitter/bjoewolf)

A survivor of the Orlando massacre has emotionally slammed lawmakers for doing “not a damn thing” to stop further mass shootings.

Brandon Wolf lost best friends Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen and Juan Ramon Guerrero – Drew’s boyfriend – during the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016, which left 49 dead.

Former student Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  People join together after a school shooting that killed 17 to protest against guns on the steps of the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this week former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a AR15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Getty)

This led senior Cameron Kasky – one of many students to speak out – to go on CNN and condemn Republicans who see anti-LGBT positions as more important than gun control.

“There’s a section of this society that will just shrug this off and send their thoughts and prayers, but will march for hours when they have to bake a rainbow wedding cake,” said the 17-year-old.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky speaks with the media in Parkland, Florida on February 16, 2018, two days after former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured. Stoneman Douglas students have taken to social media to blast defenders of the nation's loose gun laws. In an eloquent essay published online, 17-year-old Cameron Kasky blasted both Republican and Democratic politicians for not doing anything. "We can't ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises," he wrote. "And so, I'm asking -- no, demanding -- we take action now. Why? Because at the end of the day, the students at my school felt one shared experience -- our politicians abandoned us by failing to keep guns out of schools." / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Wolf told protesters at the Never Again rally in Florida yesterday that politicians now faced a choice: “Fix this nightmare or write your concession speeches.”

He was speaking outside the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which on Tuesday rejected a motion to ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines.

The decision prompted tears and anguish from watching Parkland survivors.

(Twitter/BuzzFeedNews)

But Wolf told the crowd this was just the first step, and that elected representatives would have to do more to legislate for gun control – or be voted out.

“We victims and survivors are done negotiating with you,” he said.

Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse night club mass shooting, speaks during a protest about gun violence outside the National Rifle Association on July 14, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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“Americans are done dying for you. And our children are done being your sacrifices.

“The NRA bankrolling us has turned our country into a war zone. You can either fix this nightmare or write your concession speeches.”

The survivor, who took part in a video thanking people for their donations following the massacre, recalled hiding from Pulse gunman Omar Mateen in a bathroom stall.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  People join together after a school shooting that killed 17 to protest against guns on the steps of the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this week former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a AR15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“The smell of blood and smoke was burning my nose,” he said. “I listened to gunshot after gunshot and I prayed that I would see my family again.”

The gun which Mateen used, he said, “fired 30 rounds in one minute. Thirteen of them killed my best friends Drew and Juan.

“In the days and weeks that followed Pulse, I told myself we would be the last. I vowed that Drew and Juan’s deaths would not be in vain. I screamed: ‘Never again.’

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  People join together after a school shooting that killed 17 to protest against guns on the steps of the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this week former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a AR15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“I begged for action. I pleaded on national television. But just like every group before me, I was met with silence and apathy.”

Wolf asked: “After first graders were gunned down at Sandy Hook, what did you do?

“Not a damn thing,” he answered.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Reef Buehler,4, joins his parents and others after a school shooting that killed 17 to protest against guns on the steps of the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this week former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a AR-15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“After 49 people – including my two brothers – were murdered at Pulse, what did you do?

“Not a damn thing.

“You plugged your ears and turned your eyes and hoped that we would stop talking. And now we’re here again. 17 people are dead. Fourteen of them are children.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 27:  Christine Leinonen, mother of Christopher 'Dru' Leinonen, is comforted by Brandon Wolf (L) and Jose Arriagada (R), survivors of the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, as they stand on stage during the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Christine Leinonen, mother of Christopher ‘Drew’ Leinonen, is comforted by Brandon Wolf on the DNC stage (Getty)

“And what did you do yesterday when given the chance to do something about it?

“Not a damn thing,” he answered once more.

He told these Floridian Republicans, including US Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott: “I pray that you look in the mirror and figure out your priorities.

Protesters hold signs at a gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018.  Seventeen perished and more than a dozen were wounded in the hail of bullets at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland,Florida the latest mass shooting to devastate a small US community and renew calls for gun control. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE        (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“I pray that you sign the No NRA Money pledge. And should you continue to choose your wallets over our lives, I pray you enjoy retirement.

“Because,” he said to cheers and thundering applause, “we will vote you out.”

Donald Trump has been criticised for seemingly needing to be reminded to say “I hear you” during a meeting with survivors of the Parkland mass shooting.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21:  (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump holds his notes while hosting a listening session with students survivors of mass shootings, their parents and teachers in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Trump holding his notes (Getty)

The President’s notes for the White House listening session were captured by photographers and ridiculed on social media.

Watch the full video below:

More: brandon wolf, cameron kasky, Florida, Marco Rubio, mass shooting, Orlando massacre, parkland, Politics, Pulse, US, US

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