Here’s the speech from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez at an anti-gun rally happening today in Fort Lauderdale https://t.co/CyfMnPDAvW // https://t.co/hgewZy4Cxf https://t.co/gssAmGczuH— Joshua Chavers (@JoshuaChavers) February 17, 2018
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were present at a rally to reform gun legislation on Saturday in Florida.
The survivors of the deadly school shooting on Wednesday turned their grief into activism and came out in full force to call for a change. Many students, teachers, and administrators declared that their school would be the last to experience a mass shooting.
A student named Emma Gonzalez gave a long and impassioned speech, criticizing the circular conversation around the issues of gun laws and mental health. She refuted any version of events that allowed for sympathy or humanization of Nikolas Cruz, the student who confessed to committing the murders.
Gonzalez's voice broke as she recalled how pro-gun pundits on the news and online had pointed to Cruz's mental health struggled in order to avoid the issue of guns. She made special note of one tweet in particular.
"There has been one tweet that I would like to call attention to," Gonzalez said. "'So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!'" she read.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
"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 solemnly. Many reports have surfaced since the shooting took place, showing written and verbal reports about Cruz's obsession with weapons and proclivity for violence.
"We know that they are claiming that there are mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist," Gonzalez went on. "But we need to pay attention to the fact that this isn't just a mental health issue. He wouldn't have harmed that many students with a knife!"
Cruz used an AR-15 assault rifle to carry out his crimes on Wednesday afternoon. He purchased the gun in February of 2017, perfectly legally. It's the same weapon that has been used in many, if not most of the mass shootings committed in the U.S. in the past several years.
The rally in Parkland today was made up of many students who survived the attack and other members of the grieving community.