Orlando massacre survivor tears into Republican politicians at Parkland protest
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.’
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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“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.
The President’s notes for the White House listening session were captured by photographers and ridiculed on social media.
Watch the full video below: