On Saturday, student activist Emma Gonzalez stood in front of hundreds of thousands of protesters who had come to support her and the movement that she is leading. She was dead silent.
Gonzalez stood in silence for six minutes and twenty seconds, the same amount of time it took for a former student to kill seventeen people in her Florida high school last month.
This was part of the March for Our Lives, organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. While the initial march was planned for Washington D.C., similar marches popped up across the world, with 800 marches and rallies happening in cities internationally. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, Paul McCartney, Ellen DeGeneres, and Yara Shahidi took part in or endorsed the movement.
Despite all of this participation, Emma Gonzalez is not the only one who remained silent. Seven out of eight major Republican leaders have not commented on the events of March 24th, whether it be the marches in Washington, D.C. or in their states (as of 5:00 P.M.). That list includes: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Doug Collins, House Republican Conference Secretary Jason Smith, and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer.
House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers did give a press release, which states that “the number one thing [McMorris Rodgers] heard from [students she met with] was the need for more resources—resources and funding for mental health counselors, school resource officers, and school security improvements.” The press release also states that meeting with students from her district compelled McMorris Rodgers to back both the STOP School Violence Act and the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check) Act, which she claims will “provide resources to school and law enforcement” and “fix the federal background check system so criminals, those with mental illness, or others who shouldn’t have guns don’t gain access,” respectively.