Barack Obama Pens Time 100 Profile for Parkland Shooting Survivors

"They see the NRA and its allies — whether mealymouthed politicians or mendacious commentators peddling conspiracy theories — as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay," the former president wrote of the Florida teens turned activists.

The Parkland, Florida, students who emerged as activists after tragedy struck their high school in February were among those honored by Time magazine's annual "100 Most Influential People" list, and as a result, profiled by former President Barack Obama.

He praised the teens — specifically David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin and Alex Wind — as "comfortable speaking truth to power," in an entry published Thursday.

"America's response to mass shootings has long followed a predictable pattern. We mourn. Offer thoughts and prayers. Speculate about the motives," Obama wrote. "And then — even as no developed country endures a homicide rate like ours, a difference explained largely by pervasive accessibility to guns; even as the majority of gun owners support commonsense reforms — the political debate spirals into acrimony and paralysis."

He continued, "This time, something different is happening. This time, our children are calling us to account."

Obama noted that the students "don’t have the kind of lobbyists or big budgets for attack ads that their opponents do," and most of them can't even vote yet — but they do have "the power to insist that America can do better." 

"Seared by memories of seeing their friends murdered at a place they believed to be safe, these young leaders don't intimidate easily," Obama wrote. "They see the NRA and its allies — whether mealymouthed politicians or mendacious commentators peddling conspiracy theories — as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay."

The students have continuously condemned the NRA and called on Congress to enact stricter gun control laws. Obama said they've had success, but the fight is going to get harder. 

"A Republican Congress remains unmoved. NRA scare tactics still sway much of the country. Progress will be slow and frustrating," he wrote. "But by bearing witness to carnage, by asking tough questions and demanding real answers, the Parkland students are shaking us out of our complacency."

The former president also lauded the younger generation, including "Dreamers" and Black Lives Matter, for their work that's embracing "the youthful push to make America more just, more compassionate, more equal under the law." 

Other Time honorees included Tiffany Haddish, Nicole Kidman, Kumail Nanjiani and Tarana Burke — all of whom had their entries written by public figures.