They Survived the School Shooting. Now They’re Calling for Action.
A Nebraska high school girl who had a "dream" to go to prom with Parkland, Fla., student Kyle Kashuv got her wish over the weekend.
Kyle flew from Florida to Lincoln, Neb., to escort Fidan Ibrahimova to her prom.
Their prom attire coordinated — and so, for the most part, did their political views, which is why he was there.
Kyle, 16, caught the high school girl's attention because after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died on Feb. 14, the junior raised a lone — yet vocal — voice to oppose his classmates' loud call for more restrictive gun laws.
"In the weeks after the shooting, Kashuv has emerged within conservative media as a 'professional and respectful' alternative to Parkland students like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, who’ve become something of celebrity faces in the anti-gun movement," Vox writes in a profile published Wednesday.
Kyle, who says he has never touched a gun, told Vox that he is "super conservative on the Second Amendment because I realize that the Second Amendment protects all the other amendments."
The day after hundreds of thousands of people rallied for tighter gun restrictions in the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., and across the country, he appeared on "Face the Nation" to explain why he met with lawmakers about how to stop school shootings without infringing on gun rights or banning assault weapons.
For one thing, he advocates beefed-up security at schools.
"What I saw at the march ... which really frustrated me is that I have a different point of view, but what really concerned me was that how come I wasn't invited to speak at the march because as Americans we all have different point of views," he said.
"And it's important to represent them all equally."
He said there was a "silent majority" at the school that agreed with him.
More than 1,600 miles away in Nebraska, Fidan, a senior at Lincoln Southeast High School, was following Kyle and thought he was brave to voice an opinion so contrary to many of his classmates.
"Their voices were really loud, but not so much the conservative side," she told the Lincoln Journal Star.
She felt "he never really had a chance to share his voice," she told the Lincoln newspaper, describing her own political views as moderate with a slight lean to the right.
Politics, she said, separate people. "I don't let that affect my relationship with anyone else," she told the Journal Star.
So she turned her fan-girl admiration into a prom request. Earlier this month she sent Kyle a private message.
“Sorry to bother you but prom is next Saturday, so I’m wondering if I have a chance or nah?” she wrote.
When he didn't respond, she asked how many retweets it would take to get him to say yes.
Kyle set the bar fairly high: 5,000 retweets.
Then Fidan asked Twitter to do its thing.
She got 2,000 tweets on her own and then conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro put his 12 million followers to work on her behalf by retweeting her. She met her goal.
But what to do about a tux? Kyle didn't have one. Some Twitter users asked "Fox and Friends" to buy him one. Someone else suggested setting up a GoFundMe account, which Fidan did.
It took only two hours to raise enough money for a plane ticket to Nebraska, a hotel room, a limo and a pre-prom dinner at a sushi restaurant. Kyle flew into Omaha on Saturday afternoon and left Sunday morning.
"What a sweet story," former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted.
Before the prom festivities, the two students met for about 30 minutes with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts in his Omaha office, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
The governor called Kyle an impressive young man, Ricketts' spokesman Taylor Gage told the World-Herald.
Other than meeting with Ricketts, there was nothing political about this prom night, other than it sounds like Kyle shook a lot of hands like a politician during the night because so many people wanted to meet him.
Fidan told reporters they went to prom with a group of her friends and though she talked to him about his life after the shootings and meeting President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, they did not speak of guns or school violence.
"The best date I could ever ask for! Thank you twitter for making this possible!!!!," she tweeted on Saturday.
And she posted pictures. Lots of pictures.
It was prom, after all.