In one fiery speech, a Parkland school shooting survivor shuts down every anti-gun control argument

Image: rhona wise/AFP/Getty Images

Remember the name Emma Gonzalez. She surely has many more speeches to come.

In the aftermath of last week’s shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior and survivor stepped up during an anti-gun rally to deliver a fiery speech. Like so many others, Gonzalez is fed up. She’s seen firsthand the desperate need for tighter gun controls, and she understands the political machinations that prevent such changes from happening.

It’s a powerful moment. You should watch for yourself.

“Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving,” Gonzalez said early in the speech. “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.”

(Read the full transcript right here.)

Ms. Gonzalez is one of many survivors of a school shooting — there have been more than 200 in the United States since the turn of the century — who now has to live with everything that comes next. The thoughts and prayers. The appeals to not politicize this grief-filled moment. The efforts to cast the blame for killings on something other than the tools of those killings.

Gonzalez has heard it all before. She’s a high school senior. She’s grown up in a culture that’s allowed hundreds of school shootings to happen in the space of 18 years. She’ll probably be old enough to vote by November, if she isn’t already. She’ll definitely be old enough by 2020.

So when Gonzalez says “we call BS” on NRA-backed Congressional leaders claiming nothing could be done to prevent this, she’s actually in a position to carry that anger and frustration into a voting booth. As are many of the thousands of others who have either survived a shooting like this or been touched by personal connections to such an incident.

In the hours since CNN televised the speech and then shared it on social media, the name “Emma Gonzalez” has become a top trending topic. She’s got TV appearances lined up. She may not be the sole voice out there unloading on the rampant hypocrisy that continues to keep tighter gun control laws at bay, but that speech really resonated.

It’s no surprise.

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