Brow Beat

“You Don’t Want to Be the Kid Who Went to the Next Columbine”: Parkland Shooting Survivors Talk to Trevor Noah

Ahead of Saturday’s March for Our Lives, five students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting in February, stopped by The Daily Show to discuss gun reform and the upcoming demonstration. Elijah Abraham, Josh Belenke, Thomas Holgate, Kai Koerber, and Carly Novell all spoke to Trevor Noah about their experiences and shared their opinions on America’s gun violence crisis.

“I definitely didn’t think it was real, for like, probably the first half hour,” said Holgate, recalling the day of the shooting. “Until I heard one of my friends was actually shot.” Koerber echoed Holgate’s disbelief while reflecting on the day he returned to the school after the shooting. “I couldn’t believe that I was going back to—you know, people called us the new Columbine,” he told Noah. “You don’t want to be the kid who went to ‘the next Columbine.’”

The students shared some different ideas about how to prevent future school shootings, and they don’t all agree on the best solutions, with some in favor of arming teachers or administrators and others opposed. It was striking though, how respectful the conversation was as they laid out their different options, which included implementing California’s gun violence restraining orders in other states and raising the age limit to purchase assault rifles. All five wore #MDSStrong shirts and even sat in similar positions, with their hands clasped.

When Noah asked the students if there’s anything the students feel their critics don’t understand, Novell weighed in: “I think they forget we’re still in pain and some of us aren’t ready to just go back into our lives and our school. We go to school and there is media there every day. There are people standing outside taking pictures like it’s the Las Vegas sign, and it’s still new for us. It’s only been a month and a half, and we’re still in pain.”