On Valentines Day, a gunman entered and killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas Highschool, forever changing the lives of the student body, and the family members affected.
Just two days after the tragedy, 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez delivered an impassioned 11-minute-speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale and quickly went viral.
In the days following the tragedy, Gonzalez and several of the other Florida shooting survivors have been dragging trolls and assertively advocating for stricter gun laws.
The momentum has been gathering rapidly, and as of today, Gonzalez has accrued more Twitter followers than the NRA.
She has 691,000 followers (and growing) on Twitter, while the NRA only has 562,000.
In addition to the energy and support survivors have drawn from individuals across the country, several companies have pulled out of promotion contracts with the NRA.
Big-pocket companies such as United and Delta airlines, the car hire firm Hertz, the automobile pricing firm TrueCar, First National Bank have withdrawn from previous deals with the NRA.
The list is growing as I type this.
Rather than engaging in an honest conversation about gun control, responsible gun ownership, and the growing terror of shootings in the U.S., the NRA head Wayne LaPierre delivered an impassioned speech conveniently blaming everything else under the sun.
In his indicting speech, LaPierre blamed the Florida shooting on failed police response, lack of security in the high school, a failed mental health system, the FBI, lack of family structure (what), the mainstream media, Democrats (I am pretending to be shocked), and "European Socialists." So, basically, everything except guns.
This response to the most recent gun tragedy is not only unsurprising, but completely in line with the NRA's current goals. According to a BBC report, the NRA invests more than $3 million annually lobbying to get more guns sold.
And according to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 345 mass shootings in America throughout the course of 2017 alone. All this is to say,
So, Gonzalez accruing more Twitter followers than the NRA is more than just a symbolic win. It signals a cultural shift where more people are turning their eyes and ears towards the weight of this violence, ready to vote in legislators who will actually stand up.
In the course of the past two weeks, Gonzalez and her fellow classmates have held huge companies accountable for their deals with the NRA, sparked in-depth national debate about the need for gun control, made television appearances for their cause, and urged young voters to get registered.
The fact that Gonzalez rapidly garnered more Twitter followers than the NRA speaks to far more than social media numbers. It speaks to the gun crisis in America being met with the energy of the next generation of voters.