A deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has turned a number of students into passionate activists almost overnight, and they have a message for policymakers: It's time to listen. David Hogg and Cameron Kasky shared Parkland survivors' scathing message for President Donald Trump and other legislators with Bill Maher on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher Friday.
"We don’t need to listen to President Trump," Hogg told Maher. "President Trump needs to listen to the screams of the children and screams of this nation."
Seventeen people were killed Feb. 14 when a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. According to the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, the country has seen nearly 300 school shootings since 2013, which averages out to roughly one shooting per week.
In speaking with Maher, Hogg went on to express frustration with the Trump administration, saying he had actually hung up on the White House last week. According to Hogg, the White House had called to invite him to President Trump's "listening session" on gun violence the day before the session was scheduled to occur.
"The fact that they'd called us the day before, I found very offensive considering the fact there were funerals the next day, there was mourning we still had to do," Hogg said. He also expressed some annoyance the president did not attend, nor even respond to the invitation they'd extended to him for the town hall CNN hosted with survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
In the aftermath of the deadly shooting, Hogg and Kasky co-founded Never Again MSD, a student advocacy group run by Stoneman Douglas shooting survivors and aimed at lobbying stricter gun control. As part of their efforts to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools, the group has helped organize the upcoming March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.
According to Kasky, the group is aims to send a scathing message to lawmakers with their march. "We want Americans to stop being afraid of demanding our politicians to take action," Kasky told Maher. "They work for us, we don't work for them and the march is us coming out and saying to our employees ‘You guys suck at your job.’" Kasky went on to say they also aimed to use the march to spread the message that gun control "isn't about red and blue," but rather "about protecting the kids."
Despite the serious subject matter, Hogg and Kasky remained well-spoken and relaxed throughout the interview, even joking at one point that "it's only because they locked up the Tide Pods" when Maher voiced how impressed he was with how articulate and composed the Parkland student activists were.
When Maher questioned how long Hogg and Kasky thought they would continue to push for gun control reform, the students to appeared ready to be in it for the long haul. "To be quite frank with you, we're Millennials and we love complaining more than any other generation," Hogg said cheekily. In all seriousness, the students had a message for those that have attempted to discredit them and other Parkland student activists: How dare you.
"You can say that we don't know what we're talking about because we're 17 years old, but until you've been on the receiving end of an AR-15, until you've been locked in your classroom," Kasky said before singling out National Rifle Association (NRA) Vice President Wayne LaPierre and spokesperson Dana Loesch specifically. "We've been locked in a classroom," Kasky continued. "We have seen our friends text their parents goodbye. We are the experts. We know exactly what we're talking about. How dare you tell us we don't know?"