Six minutes and 20 seconds.
That’s about how long officials say it took the gunman to kill 17 students and wound more than a dozen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Fla., last month.
At the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Emma González, a student Stoneman Douglas who has become one of the most vocal and visible leaders of the so-called #NeverAgain movement, stopped during her speech at the rally and remained silent for more than six minutes in honor of the victims of the massacre.
“In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us,” González said at the beginning of her speech. “Everyone who was there understands. Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands.”
“For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching in the afternoon sun were spent not knowing,” she continued. “No one could understand the extent of what had happened. No one could believe that there were bodies in that building waiting to be identified for over a day.”
“For those who still can’t comprehend because they refuse to, I’ll tell you where it went: right into the ground, six feet deep,” González said before listing the names of her slain friends.
“Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15, and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice,” she said. “Aaron Feis would never call Kyra ‘Miss Sunshine.’ Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan. Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp. Helena Ramsay would never hang out after school with Max. Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Liam at lunch. Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan. Alaina Petty would never, Cara Loughran would never, Chris Hixon would never, Luke Hoyer would never, Joaquin Duque Oliver would never, Peter Wang would never, Alyssa Alhadeff would never, Jaime Guttenberg would never, Meadow Pollack would never.”
González then remained silent for those six-plus minutes, staring straight into the crowd with tears rolling down her face.
The crowd mostly remained silent, occasionally stopping to cheer González and chant “Never again.”
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