One of the students who survived Wednesday’s deadly shooting at a Florida high school called for stricter gun regulations and took aim at President Donald Trump and other Republicans for their inaction on the matter on Saturday.
“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,” Emma Gonzalez said, “I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.”
Gonzalez delivered an impassioned speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday.
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seated funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS,” she said. “They say that tougher gun 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. No, they say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.”
A 19-year-old former student, Nikolas Cruz, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder after killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with Gonzalez attends, on Wednesday. He was armed with an AR-15 rifle, which he used to carry out the rampage.
The massacre, among the deadliest school shootings in modern US history, has yet again sparked debate about US gun laws and lawmakers’ continued inaction on gun control.
President Trump traveled on Friday to visit shooting victims, survivors, and first responders. He also wrote in a tweet that there were “so many signs” that Cruz was mentally disturbed, and seemed to cast blame on those around him for not reporting him. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem,” he wrote. “Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
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
The FBI had been tipped off that Cruz might be dangerous but failed to act, which it admitted in a statement on Friday.
Gonzalez on Saturday addressed Trump’s tweet directly, saying they had alerted the authorities about Cruz time and time again and that for students who had known him over the years, “it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter.”
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. How about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the shooter’s fault? The fault of the people who let him buy the guns in the first place, those at the gun shows, the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic, the people who didn’t take them away from him when they knew that he expressed homicidal tendencies, and I am not talking about the FBI. I am talking about the people that he lived with; I’m talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.
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.
“To every politician taking donations from the NRA, shame on you,” Gonzalez said.
During her impassioned speech, she also declared, “This will be the last mass shooting.” As US lawmakers remain essentially paralyzed on gun control, the sad thing is that it very probably won’t be.