9:42am PT by Katherine Schaffstall
Parkland Survivors David Hogg and Lauren Hogg Recall Mass Shooting and Call for Change
David Hogg and his sister Lauren Hogg detailed the terrifying experience of surviving the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when visiting The Tonight Show on Tuesday (June 19).
After host Jimmy Fallon asked what the meaning behind the price tag for $1.05 pinned to his lapel meant, David said, "This tag represents the amount of money that Marco Rubio, our senator in Florida, has taken from the NRA divided by every student in the state, which is $1.05." He explained that the NRA blocks common sense gun laws that the majority of the country supports.
Fallon then asked the siblings to walk him through their experiences of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14. "I think any story has a beginning, a middle and an end, so the beginning of that day, if I'm completely honest with you, one of the best days of high school I've ever experienced," said Lauren. "I honestly have never felt that much love and it sounds so superficial, but everybody was just so happy. Everybody was telling their friends they love each other. They were just hugging and I remember being like, 'I swear if I see another person get asked out, I'm gonna punch someone in the face.' But we practice non-violence here."
Lauren explained that the fire alarm went off at the end of the school day while she was in a TV production class. "We hear the fire alarm go off and we're all kind of confused because we had one earlier that day and so we were like, 'That's peculiar,"' she recalled. "We all thought it was just a Valentine's Day prank, so we were all, like, laughing and stuff. And so we packed up, we took our time and then eventually we walked down to our designated fire drill zone, and the first thing I really noticed was that I looked across the bus loop and I saw kids running. I saw kids I knew running and screaming and just the look in these people's eyes, my friend's eyes. I've never seen anything like it. It's like what they show in movies, but no actor could ever portray that sort of trauma and terror."
"So we ran back to class and we ran into the tiniest room into the back of the class, and we hid in basically the corner of a closet in our classroom and we hid there for multiple hours, but the worst part was getting texts because the freshmen building where it occurred was across campus and we had friends in that building," she said. "We started getting texts in a group chat that was like, 'What's that noise?,' 'I hear something happening,' 'Is that gunshots?'" The texts quickly turned into "There's somebody shooting into my room. I love you guys. Tell my parents I love them."
David then recalled his experience, which began in his AP environmental science class. "Our door was open and we heard the first gunshot and I look over at my friend. I'm like, 'That sounded kinda like a gunshot' and he looks at me and he's like, 'Yeah, it kinda did.' And so we tell our teacher and she goes and closes the door just thinking it's nothing and the second the door closes, the fire alarm goes off for the second time that day," he said.
He admitted he did not think much of the fire alarm at first. "As I started walking out, there was a bunch of people just running in the opposite direction as I was going to evacuate, like to our zone," he said. "And they're shouting like, 'Don't come this way. Don't come this way. He's over here.'"
He said he started running with the crowd in the opposite direction. "So now I'm headed towards the freshmen building where the shooting was occurring, not knowing where I was going at the time and as I'm running down there. This janitor, who I still haven't found, stopped me and like 60 other kids and said, 'Don't come this way. He's over here.'"
David's former culinary teacher then opened her classroom and about 60 students rushed into the room. "We just got in there and everyone was breathing heavily and I had a cold rush of fear race down my spine thinking, 'Oh, my god. This isn't a drill,'" he said. "And the only thing I could think to do was to calm myself down for everybody around me."
He shared that his father, a former FBI agent, taught him to know where the exits are and to remain calm in emergency situations. "So that's what I did and I started recording people, thinking maybe if I die here, hopefully if our souls are left behind on this classroom floor, like so many more before us, hopefully our voices can carry on and echo through the halls of Congress to create positive and effective change for this country because God knows we need it."
David said that the first thing he did when he got home was send the footage to his editor at the local newspaper. "I didn't want this just to be, I hate saying this, another mass shooting. Cause we see this again and again where we see people who are in these situations, not as people but as characters and numbers. These are people," he said.
"I want everybody that's watching to close their eyes for a second and imagine the person that you love most. Imagine the person that you hold closest to you that is your shoulder to cry on. The person that you laugh the most with and cry with and imagine that person is murdered and you go to politicians and you ask for moderate changes and they won't even meet with you," he said. "Or if you do ask them for changes, they say 'Yeah, we'll do that' and then nothing happens and you have to continue to see more and more people just like your best friend, your sister or your brother, get killed again and again. Meanwhile America sits back and does nothing."
David explained that the purpose of their book #NeverAgain is to create change. He said that all of the money from the book is going to charity and taxes. #NeverAgain is described as a manifesto of the movement for change that began following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The interview concluded with David encouraging people to vote "for a human being and not a politician that will take these things seriously and realize the gravity of the policies that they're implementing."
Watch the interview above.