Parkland Massacre Survivors Rally, New Jersey

Ethan Harp/WCBS 880

Florida Massacre Survivors Call For Gun Legislation At New Jersey Rally

February 25, 2018 - 7:27 pm

LIVINGSTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- A sizable crowd gathered at a synagogue in Livingston, New Jersey Sunday to hear three survivors of the Parkland, Florida school massacre speak.

As WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp reported, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students David Hogg, Ryan Deitsch, and Matthew Deitsch all took part in a rally in support of what they call common sense gun legislation.

"I’m here, I’m alive and we have to do something," Hogg said. "We have to do something about this."

Hogg told the audience that he believes 99 percent of NRA members are good people, and blamed those at the top of the organization for lack of progress on gun control. There were several standing ovations during his remarks.

Hogg also “thanked” internet trolls for quadrupling his social media followers.

Earlier this month, authorities say Nikolas Cruz, 19, walked into the school and opened fire – leaving 17 students and teachers dead.

Ryan Deitsch slammed President Donald Trump’s criticism of the school resource officer who stayed outside during the attack, focusing his attention instead of murdered football coach and security officer Aaron Feis.

“He ran towards the shots being fired and he put his body in the way of bullets to save students,” Ryan Deitsch said. “If that doesn’t tell you that security officers care about their students, I don’t know what tells you that they care about their students.”

Several local New Jersey students attended the event, including Lauren Platmann, who brought a sign reading, “Sacrifice guns, not lives – enough is enough.” It was just part of her message to the victims and to the nation.

“That we are with them and we support them, and that this should not happen to anyone. It shouldn’t happen to them, and it shouldn’t happen to anyone else, and we stand here firm and support that message,” Platmann said.

Platmann attended the event with her mother and a friend.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) was also among the speakers. He held up a high-capacity magazine bill he plans to reintroduce in Congress.

"They are driven," Menendez said of the students. "I can see it in their eyes."

Security was tight at the event, and the Department of Homeland Security was helping local police.

The event sponsors included the group Moms Demand Action.