School Shooting in Parkland, FL

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School Shooting in Parkland, FL

Mattie Updyke, Writer

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What comes to your mind when you think about Valentine’s Day? Flowers? Chocolates? Teddy bears and cutesy dates?

For many people, Valentine’s Day brings to mind images like these, but for students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, their memories are now stained with blood and violence.

Last Wednesday, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on his former classmates, killing 14 students, 3 teachers, and injuring countless others. Cruz had a history mental illness and violence.

In the United States, there have been 300 school shootings in the past five years–that boils down to an average one a week. Over 400 people have died, and the response to this particular massacre has been tumultuous, from the Left and the Right.

Many Democrats and Left-wing minded individuals blame the lack of gun control for this and many other shooting atrocities. Students from this school and those across the country have banded together and started the #NoMore movement on Twitter, a call for lawmakers to put an end to the easy access to guns.

Many Republicans and Right-wing people are planning for more extensive background checks and more thorough mental health examinations. The President, in particular, has criticized the FBI for not following up on a report about Cruz from September, instead focusing on the investigation of the Trump Administration. There was even one politician who made a statement about the students being actors…if they are, give these kids Oscar nominations.

They had to witness the death of their classmates, of their teachers, of their friends. They saw someone they probably knew their entire lives die protecting others or simply escaping.

One student, Peter Wang, a freshman involved in the JROTC program, was last seen alive holding the door for other students so they could escape. He was admitted posthumously into West Point and will be buried with full military honors.

Another student, Anthony Borges, protected his fellow students by holding the door closed. As a result, he received four shots to his back and both of his legs. He was in critical condition, but has now stabilized and expected to recover.

The stories and lives that were cut short too soon need to be remembered, and legislators, whether left or right, Republican or Democrat, need to come up with a long-term solution for this problem. If we do not come to a consensus as a nation on how to prevent future massacres, we ultimately will fail as a country.

(picture used from ABC News)

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