gun control protest
Credit: Lorie Shaull/Flickr

Yesterday, as I was looking over the cornucopia of bad news options for topics to write about I had a fleeting moment of recognition, tinged with a feeling of regret, that the amazingly long and surprising strong influence of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors had at some recent point finally come to an end. I tried to console myself that they’d had some limited legislative successes and created a momentum all its own, not dependent on constant refueling from a ghoulish press. Organizations had sprung up and leaders had emerged, and so below the surface of daily national attention, the Parkland survivors had and would continue to make a difference.

That was my happy thought. Yet, my darker side wondered if the survivors had failed almost as thoroughly as every other group that has suffered senseless loss of life at the hands of a well-armed gunman. More stunning than the Parkland kids’ successes was the seeming silence and impotence of the survivors of the far more deadly Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas. That Congress had done nothing in the face of a tragedy that cost 58 people their lives and in which another 422 people were shot was telling about how much power the National Rifle Association has over Republican lawmakers.

My final thought on this topic yesterday before my mind moved in another direction was that it would not be long before there was another mass casualty gun incident, and that would become a test for whether the Parkland kids had fundamentally changed anything. Unfortunately, I was right about that.

At least eight people died Friday morning in gunfire at Santa Fe High school, law enforcement officials confirmed, while at least 12 others were injured, according to area hospitals.

Police arrested a suspect and detained a second person, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said via Twitter.

The bloodshed 30 miles south of Houston is the worst mass shooting in America since February, when 17 people were gunned down at a high school in Parkland, Florida, according to a database of shootings maintained by the Washington Post.

We’ll be told not to politicize this and hear all the familiar excuses for not doing anything in response, but the survivors have a new template now for how to conduct and organize themselves. Sadly, they will now be thrust into the media glare and have an opportunity to have their say.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at