A group of activists launched a Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri-inspired protest following the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, this week. Released in early December, Three Billboards has maintained a high profile film throughout awards season, thanks to writer-director Martin McDonagh's searing, Oscar-nominated screenplay that takes a hard-hitting yet darkly comedic look at the aftermath of an unsolved murder.
Frances McDormand stars as Mildred, an angry, grieving mother who goes to extreme measures to remind the Ebbing's police chief (Woody Harrelson) that way too much time has passed since her daughter's murder and no suspect had been apprehended. Renting three orange-colored billboards just outside of her home town, Mildred's blunt message, framed in black, block letters to the local law enforcement head, says in order, "Raped While Dying," "And Still No Arrests?" "How Come, Chief Willoughby?"
Now, in an instance of life imitating art under tragic circumstances, a group of Florida protesters are using the same sort of method to get the attention of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), following the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Wednesday that left 17 people dead and several more injured. According to CNN, protesters parked three moving trucks near Rubio's office in Doral, Florida, Friday, each equipped with a Three Billboards-style message. Like the film, the trucks' orange "billboards" contain black, block lettering, but read, "Slaughtered In School," "And Still No Gun Control?""How Come, Marco Rubio?" See the "billboards" in the tweet below:
— CNN (@CNN) February 16, 2018
CNN says the protest was orchestrated by Avaaz, an online activist group that took their message on wheels to downtown Miami and Little Havana as well. Avaaz Deputy Director Emma Ruby-Sachs says Florida "has notoriously lax gun laws" and Rubio, who "ranks as one of the highest recipients of NRA contributions and has received an A+ rating from the NRA," has "never attempted to reform" the laws. CNN says Rubio's office declined to make a comment about the protest.
No matter which side of the political aisle legislators belong, there's no denying that the Parkland school shooting is a great national tragedy, and hopefully sooner than later those opposing sides in the gun control debate can agree to enact laws to make sure another tragedy like this never happen again. Whether this Three Billboards-style message will contribute to the furthering of that much-needed dialogue is yet to be seen, but given McDormand's fearless awards speeches so far (she's won Best Actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics' Choice Awards and the Golden Globes), don't be surprised if the Academy Awards frontrunner brings the Three Billboards outside Rubio's office message up at the Oscar podium as well - that is, of course, if she wins.