Many at a rally in Fort Lauderdale that was organized to demand tougher gun laws rejected comments by U.S. President Donald Trump and others that mental illness was the main factor behind the slaughter at Margory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We need to pay attention to the fact that this isn’t just a mental health issue,” Emma Gonzalez, an 18-year-old student at the school, told hundreds demonstrators gathered on the steps of a federal building. The shooter “wouldn’t have harmed that many students with a knife!” she yelled, shedding tears as the crowd cheered her on.
Gonzalez criticized Trump for overturning a measure implemented by former President Barack Obama that required extra scrutiny of some gun buyers with a history of mental illness. She also condemned the National Rifle Association, which opposes laws that it says violate gun owners’ rights.
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call B.S.” Gonzalez said.
To politicians still not heeding
mighty cries of children pleading
time is up. They’ll stop the bleeding
none of you had guts to do.
Come around the next elections
they will make their own selections,
calling out your misdirections,
voting out the worst of you.
Every time you try to sleep
may you hear the children weep;
may you see them crying, dying
in the pit of your denying
promises you vowed to keep.
Susan Eckenrode 2/22/18