Mass shooting sparks change

Synopsis of the Parkland shooting, following events


Student activists protest current gun control laws. Illustrated by Lizzie Creighton.

Valentine’s Day massacre

Every year on Feb. 14, high school students across the nation exchange gifts and spend time with loved ones for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is most often recognized as a day for celebrating love and romance. This year, however, something other than love filled the air of a high school in Parkland, Florida as a gunman approached the school, ready to alter the lives of over 3,000 students.

On Wednesday, Feb.14, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was declared the 18th school this year to have a gun-related incident occur on school property when a 19-year-old former student killed 17 staff and students and wounded 17.

The gunman, previously expelled for disciplinary reasons, took an Uber to the school and entered through the open gates with an AR-15 assault rifle in a black case at 2:19 p.m. Smoke grenades were used to set off the fire alarms and send students out of their classrooms in Building 12 where the shooting began at 2:21 p.m.

Seven minutes of shooting went by before the gunman dropped his weapon and exited Building 12 alongside students, attempting to blend in and leave the property. After fleeing the scene, the gunman walked to a nearby Walmart and McDonald’s before being detained by Coconut Creek Officer Michael Leonard. Witnesses identified the gunman and he was placed under arrest at 3:41 p.m.

During the shooting, armed sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson took cover outside the school. Peterson stated he was originally under the impression that the gunshots were just firecrackers. Once he realized they were gunshots, Peterson said he believed they were occurring outside instead of in the building. Peterson was originally suspended without pay and placed under internal investigation until he signed retirement papers, which mount to resignation.



The teenager is alleged to have shot dead 17 students and three staff members at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history.

The grand jury charged the gunman with 17 accounts of premeditated murder, as well as 17 accounts of attempted murder, both of which were in the first degree.

The Florida school shooting suspect arrived at Broward County jail on Feb. 15. The massacre, carried out with a legally purchased AR-15 assault rifle.  

A loss unforgiven

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Alyssa was a freshman and a soccer player for Parkland travel soccer. She attended Camp Coleman, a Jewish sleepaway summer camp.

Scott Beigel, 35

Scott was a geography teacher and was shot directly in front of his door. Beigel was also a counselor at Camp Starlight in Pennsylvania.

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14

Martin was a freshman and was a part of the school’s JROTC program.

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Nicholas was a senior and an incoming freshman for the University of Indianapolis. He was recruited to join the university for swimming. In high school, he was apart of the swimming team. 

Aaron Feis, 37

Aaron was a assistant football coach who sacrificed himself to save a group of students from gunshot wounds. When the coach heard gunshots, he immediately ran toward the sound and wanted to protect the students.

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Jaime trained at Dance Theatre studio in Coconut Creek, Florida and was a freshman. At school, Jaime was apart of the Best Buddies Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating friendships for people with disabilities.

Chris Hixon, 49

Chris was the athletic director. He cared for the students and would give them rides or lunch money. He was also a naval reservist and was deployed in Iraq in 2007. 

Luke Hoyer, 15

Luke was a high school freshman. Any donations that were made in Luke’s memory were sent to Voices For Children of Broward County. Luke loved playing basketball. 

Cara Loughran, 14

Cara was a freshman and danced at the Drake School of Irish Dance in Florida.

Gina Montalto, 14

Gina was a freshman and apart of the schools winter guard in marching band.

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Joaquin was born in Venezuela and became a U.S. citizen in January 2017. For his death, NBA star Dwyane Wade etched Joaquin’s name on his sneakers to honor the student’s death. 

Alaina Petty, 14

When Hurricane Irma hit, Petty volunteered to help clean up and help the community. She also joined the helping hands program at her church. She was apart of the JROTC program. At her funeral she received the JROTC heroism medal. She was a freshman.

Meadow Pollack, 18

Senior, Meadow Pollack  was accepted into Lynn University.  Her friend did not have enough money to fly to her funeral, so state troopers paid for her flight.

 Helena Ramsay, 17

Helena was a junior and originally from Portsmouth, England.

 Alex Schachter, 14

Alex participated in the school marching band and orchestra, playing baritone in the former and trombone in the latter.  

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Carmen was a senior and National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

Peter Wang, 15

Peter was a part of the JROTC program and his parents own a restaurant in West Palm Beach. He was shot while holding the door for students entering the room. Thousands of people have signed a White House petition asking for him to be buried with military honors.

Survivors step up

The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting have been speaking out and taking the issue out to places they can be heard. They have been raising their voices with the help of social media, news, and the schools across America. As the time passes from this tragic act of violence, the students have no plans on ending this movement as they along with many others are tired of hearing of such tragic events going on, demanding a change.

The survivors have been raising their voices and catching the eyes of social media, leading many schools in the nation to walk out, demanding a change from Congress. Among the survivors is Emma Gonzalez, a student who made a speech for action against the use of guns.

Unified nationwide 

Students marched with signs painted with the words ‘We Call B.S’ which references an 11 minute speech by Stoneman Douglas survivor, senior Emma Gonzalez in which she calls out the government, asking why are guns more important than teen lives. Among other slogans on signs, ‘#NeverAgain’, ‘Protect Kids Not Guns’, ‘#EnoughIsEnough’, and ‘Fear Has No Place in School.’

Led by the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, people all across America are rallying together to protest current gun control laws. An upwards of 3000 school-walkouts, some with thousands of students participating, have been springing up in nearly every state. Many of these protests include 17 minutes of silence for each victim of the Parkland shooting.

Some of the students participating in walkouts face consequences such as truancy marks, detention or even suspension. Many students said their consequences were ‘worth it’ by saying  ‘The students are standing up for what they believe in, as they’ve been told to their whole lives, yet even in the face of consequences, their voices will not be silent.”

Politics behind the shooting

Following the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., politicians have been called to alter gun regulations. Discussions on gun laws include making the age restriction on gun purchases higher, the enforcement of background checks, banning of bump stocks, and even the banning of assault rifles (or Semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15).

Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kroger have all raised the age to purchase a gun in their stores from 18 to 21. This has caused some outrage when an Oregon man sued both Dick’s and Walmart for the following action.

U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican who backed gun rights during and since his 2016 presidential campaign, has been under pressure to show he is responding without alienating Republicans who oppose firearm restrictions.

The NRA has come under fire after the incident. People began boycotting any company associated with the association, this caused companies to back out from the connections to the NRA. Supporters of the NRA began boycotting the companies that stop their associations with the NRA. Making a positive feedback loop of boycotts.

Florida recently created a gun bill doing multiple things to try and avoid future school shootings. This includes raising the age for buying a gun, having a waiting period for gun purchases, banning bump stocks, arming responsible school employees, fund school security, and expand mental health regulations. This, however, does not ban assault weapons or add background checks.

Marching for change

March for Our Lives organizers estimate 800,000 protesters attended the gun-control demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 24, 2018. The event would be the largest single-day protest in the history of the nation’s capital. The mission for the following march: School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing. March For Our Lives is to demand that an effective bill will be immediately brought before Congress to address the gun violence issues. A month after the march students will walk out of classrooms on Apr. 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High school shooting in Colorado.