Photo by Barry Stock
On February 14, 2018, exactly three years and a day ago, a shooter walked into a high school in Florida, murdered 17 people, and injured 17 others. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was recently expelled from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when he arrived on that day at 2:19 p.m. He entered the school with a legally purchased AR-15 and a bag full of gun magazines and warned few before opening fire. In just two minutes, he murdered 11 people and injured 13 more, walked up the stairs, and murdered the final four just 45 seconds after.
It was the deadliest shooting in an American high school in history. Students, shocked by what had happened, were later angered by the lack of action taken to prevent future shootings and began March For Our Lives.
Emma Gonzalez, one of the student survivors of the shooting, has been an outspoken advocate for gun safety nationwide, and an avid supporter and participant of March for Our Lives. On February 17, 2018, Gonzalez delivered the “We Call B.S.” speech during a gun control rally in Florida, in which she addressed the lack of political action after the shooting, “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.”
In response to the shooting and subsequent student protests a bill called “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” was passed by the Florida Legislature, which among many things raised the minimum age to buy firearms and required more in-depth background checks of those attempting to buy one. Governor Rick Scott said, “to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, you made your voices heard. You didn’t let up and you fought until there was change.”
That same month, Gonzalez also appeared on CNN talking to National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch. There she criticized the NRA and spoke against politicians that receive money from the organization. She started the conversation with Loesch with the statement, “I want you to know that we will support your two children in a way that you will not.”
Ever since 2018, she has continued to protest and publicly speak in support of gun safety laws. More recently she spoke against U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and advocated for her removal after comments she had made insinuated that Parkland survivors were paid actors.