The United States is experiencing an unprecedented outcry in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which left 17 students and staff members dead. It was the 18th school shooting in America during 2018 alone, and is the second-deadliest in US history, after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
A majority of Americans support changing the US gun laws, which many believe would significantly reduce the number of mass shooting. However, thanks to the powerful National Rifle Association, there hasn’t seemed like much hope for tightening up access to deadly firearms – until now.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High have already been vocal about their grief and anger at a persistent lack of change to gun laws and the empty words of President Donald Trump, calling bullshit on his “thoughts and prayers” tweets.
Now, Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, has given an impassioned speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which has quickly been shared by the thousands.
Emma Gonzalez, a student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, delivers an emotional message at a rally to support gun safety legislation: “We are going to be the kids that you read about in textbooks… we are going to be the last mass shooting.” https://t.co/ZQL7Bue3CI pic.twitter.com/26x1n1lzBA
— ABC News (@ABC) February 18, 2018
The rage in the crowd is palpable as Gonzalez leads the rally attendees in chants of “we call B.S.” to being told that there’s nothing to be done about gun violence, to being placated with thoughts and prayers, to deadly inaction on behalf of American law-makers.
“If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should have never happened and maintain telling us that nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,” she says.
She follows up with the figure: US$30 million. As Gonzalez says, that works out to about $5800 per shooting victim in 2018 so far.
Is that how much these people are worth to you Trump? If you don’t do anything to prevent this from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up, and the number that they are worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you.
To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.
Gonzalez’s speech is incredibly affecting, and people are responding in droves.
Stop everything you’re doing and watch this and share it. Oh my God. Emma Gonzalez, THANK YOU. We are with you!!! https://t.co/dqTWcenQf3
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 17, 2018
YESSSSS EMMA GONZALEZ!!!!!!! Thank you for your voice, and for your bravery and honesty while using it✊🏽 https://t.co/7y7Su02uSz
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) February 17, 2018
When I was 16, I thought sneaking out to go to a Bikini Kill show was an act of defiance. Emma Gonzalez out here saving us all at 16.
— mindy tucker (@withreservation) February 17, 2018
The worst high school shooting in history happened just several days, yet students like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who survived it are calling for change and using their voices to help heal the nation. Children are morphing into the adults in a preventably dangerous world.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) February 17, 2018
I’m not speaking in hyperbole when I say that I feel as though I just watched Emma Gonzalez deliver this generation’s equivalent of “I have a dream”. Our actions should speak louder than her words, but man were those some words. Absolute chills watching this today. 🙇 👏🙇👏🙇👏
— H.E. Pennypacker (@HEPennnypacker) February 17, 2018
If you told me that there would be a day when a high school student could beat the US President in a debate, I would have called you crazy.
Then Emma Gonzalez spoke.
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) February 18, 2018
A high school student, Emma Gonzalez, is smarter, wiser and more mature than the 71-year-old, billionaire President of the United States.
I now have renewed hope for our future.
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) February 18, 2018
The young people of America are incensed by their nation’s epidemic of senseless violence. Maybe their rage is what’s going to actually start changing things.