‘We are going to be the last mass shooting,’ Emma Gonzalez stated during Florida rally
Remember that name. Because this 17-year-old high school student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas –along with her fellow classmates and peers — will change the world.
During a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Gonzalez gave a passionate speech directed at U.S. lawmakers, pleading for them to reevaluate gun control laws following the deadly mass shooting at her high school.
“Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving,” she began. “But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”
She focused her speech on the easy accessibility of the type of gun used in a majority of mass shootings. “We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon,” she said.
In the state of Florida, when you purchase a gun, you don’t need a permit, a gun license or to register your gun. That is insane.
Gonzalez highlighted how regular mass shootings are exclusively an American problem compared to the rest of the world, because other countries have stricter gun laws. She explained that when we actively “do nothing,” many people end up dead. So the time to act, to work for change, is now.
“We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks,” she said to the crowd. “Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because we are going to be the last mass shooting.”
She touched upon the argument that the students and community should have reported their pre-existing suspicions about the shooter. “We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter,” she said. She argued it’s not just a mental health issue, either, noting “he would not have harmed that many students with a knife.”
And as for President Trump offering nothing but half-assed apologies and an off-putting thumbs up for the Florida hospital photo-op, Gonzalez is having absolutely none of it. “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 never have happened and maintain telling us how 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 already knew the answer though: close to thirty million dollars. Then came the part of her speech that left no stone unturned in terms of Gonzalez’s unwavering dedication to inciting change.
“The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call BS,” she said. She says companies and politicians try to make “caricatures of teenagers these days” by portraying them as self-involved post-millennials with no power. “We are prepared to call BS,” she said. Bullshit on politicians funded by the NRA, especially.
“They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.”
Her speech has resonated with an entire country in peril, it seems. Social media has been flooded with tens of thousands of people sharing the video of her speech. Because this is the kind of action and these are the words that change the world.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez is a hero. She's calling out Trump and the NRA by name at this rally. Getting people to reply to NRA talking points with "We call BS!" Most are. A few visibly uncomfortable adults on stage. But not many.
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) February 17, 2018
Listen to young people https://t.co/dTr7pLGFn2
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) February 17, 2018
If this doesn’t make you weep – and conversely want to beat the living hell out of these nra blood pimps in the gop – go away – https://t.co/9fi9PGrnlo
— John Cusack (@johncusack) February 17, 2018
It was always going to be teenage girls.✊🏽 https://t.co/TTjxZdOaxx
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) February 17, 2018
Emma Gonzalez isn’t old enough to buy a gun.
Emma Gonzalez isn’t old enough to vote.
Emma Gonzalez isn’t old enough to be in the military.
Emma Gonzalez isn’t old enough to be president…
But Emma Gonzalez is old enough to make a difference and stand up for what is right.
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) 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
Anyone with a conscience and a heart watched Emma Gonzalez with tears in their eyes, covered in goosebumps. Make no mistake about it, she and her peers are the voice of a new generation. That it had to come to this — another massacre, another school, more innocent children — to get us here is gut-wrenching.
But Emma Gonzalez is hope, personified. She ended her history-making speech urging people to action.
“If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.”