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Kris Kobach lashes out at national walkout students: ‘Stay in class’

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach picked a fight with the wrong group of student activists.

By Caroline Orr - April 20, 2018
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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach lashed out at a group of students protesting against gun violence Friday, telling them to “stay in class” and study the Second Amendment.

Kobach made the remarks Friday morning, as tens of thousands of students streamed out of their classrooms as part of a National School Walkout to demand action on gun violence.

The demonstration — which comes just weeks after the student-led March for Our Lives — marked the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine massacre.

After observing a moment of silence to honor victims of gun violence, students from Topeka High School headed to the state Capitol to make their voices heard by lawmakers.

They were greeted by Kobach and a crowd of armed protesters who had gathered on the steps of the statehouse to exercise their right to terrorize children.

As the young activists held signs and chanted from the nearby lawn, Kobach stepped up to a microphone and began mocking the students for engaging in politics at a young age. At one point, Kobach ridiculed the students for wanting “to talk about their ideas for public policy.”

“Because you know, when you’re 16 years-old, you pretty much know everything you need to know,” he jeered.

A short time later Kobach singled out the students and said, “I have an idea. Instead of walking out of class, why don’t you stay in class and spend that half hour studying the history of the Second Amendment?”

The teens, who are all too familiar with the cycle of school shootings in America, weren’t fazed by Kobach’s petty attacks.

“For someone to come at kids, who just want to stop other kids from dying, I think that’s very childish,” said 15 year-old David Escobar. “For him to make that comment [is] very childish and it just shows who the real kids are here, and who the real adults are.”

According to The Kansas City Star, the so-called adults who had gathered for the NRA-backed counter-demonstration stood on the steps and, at times, heckled the teens.

Meanwhile, the student activists claimed their space and sung songs “to the annoyance of the largely older Second Amendment crowd.”

After a while, the pro-gun activists grew tired and began to file out — at which point the high school students “started chanting once again, providing a soundtrack for the gun-rights people as they got in their cars and left.”

The triumph of the young activists in Kansas perfectly symbolizes the events of the past several months.

In the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida, young people across the country have stepped up in unprecedented numbers, taking to the streets, the airwaves, and even the White House to demand action on gun violence.

Even in the face of harassment, bullying, and smear campaigns, the students have kept their eyes on the prize.

Determined not to let the deadly cycle of school shootings continue unabated, students are banding together to create a movement that is now sweeping across the country, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The NRA may have politicians like Kobach in its grips, but it clearly doesn’t have control over the next generation of young people — nor does it have a sway over their votes.

And while Kobach may think the young age of the activists is something to mock, the student protesters know they’ll have the last laugh.


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