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Nation Mourns Florida School Shooting Victims

Marjory+Stoneman+Doughlas+High+School.+Credit%3A+Public+Domain.
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Nation Mourns Florida School Shooting Victims

Marjory Stoneman Doughlas High School. Credit: Public Domain.

Marjory Stoneman Doughlas High School. Credit: Public Domain.

Marjory Stoneman Doughlas High School. Credit: Public Domain.

Marjory Stoneman Doughlas High School. Credit: Public Domain.

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On Wednesday, February 14, in Parkland Florida, students entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends. Instead, they ended up terrified for their lives and mourning the loss of 17 friends and faculty when a shooter opened fire after arriving on the scene

Nikolas Cruz, 19, entered the building at 2:19 p.m. carrying a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle in a black duffle bag with magazines in a backpack. He shot people in the hallways of the school as well as in multiple classrooms. According to New York Times, Cruz eventually discarded the rifle and blended with a crowd of students exiting the building.

After leaving the scene, Cruz was spotted buying a drink at Subway inside of a nearby Walmart, according to CNN.

It was later discovered that Cruz had been kicked out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas last year after a long history of profanity, fighting, and threatening other students. Three days later, he walked into Sunrise Tactical Supply and purchased the AR-15.

Cruz’s defense attorneys pleaded a sob story of his past in an attempt to excuse his murder. Gordon Weekes, Chief Assistant for Broward County’s public defender’s office, described Cruz as being “deeply troubled and emotionally he has gone through a lot in a short period of time with the loss of this mother,” he said. “This young man is deeply disturbed.”

There were warning signs of Cruz’s disposition. CNN reports that Cruz “did not appear to be a peaceful man. He made quite clear his desire to perpetrate the exact type of violence of which he now stands accused.”

He had been reported to the FBI before the shooting due to his threatening social media posts. On Instagram he shared photos of himself with his guns, as well as small animals he had shot. Just five months ago Cruz bragged in a comment on Youtube that his aspiration was to become a “professional school shooter.”

The 17 victims of the tragedy are: Alyssa Alhadeff (14), Scott Beigel (35), Martin Duque Anguiano (14), Nicholas Dworet (17), Aaron Feis (37), Jaime Guttenberg (14), Chris Hixon (49), Luke Hoyer (15), Cara Loughran (14), Gina Montalto (14), Joaquin Oliver (17), Alaina Petty (14), Meadow Pollack (18), Helena Ramsay (17), Alex Schachter (14), Carmen Schentrup (16), and Peter Wang (15).

The victims were a mixture of students and faculty such as Coach Aaron Feis, who jumped in front of a group of students to save them from being shot.

The Williston Community grieves for these victims along with the rest of the nation. Senior Mark Woort-Menker is one of a handful of Williston students who live in Florida.

“My heart goes out to all the families that lost a loved one. For me it’s really painful to see these things happen,” he said. Mark added that while he does not know anyone from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, it still hit home for him, occurring only 40 minutes from his house and 20 minutes from the college he is attending next year.

This tragedy has sparked feelings of anger, heartbreak, and determination for prevention of future shootings. The biggest controversy is gun control and why congress has done nothing to regulate possession of firearms. Senior Cooper Gunn sent out the following message in a schoolwide email:

“18 shootings in the first 45 days of 2018. If that pattern keeps up for the rest of the year, that’s over 125, that’s about 10 a month. One every three days. 125 would be over half as big as the number of shootings in the last five years [combined]. Since Sandy Hook, over 500 people, mostly students, have been shot in school shootings. Almost 200 have been killed. If the pattern holds true, that would be at least 100 students killed and over 250 shot over the course of this year. Prayers and thoughts are well and good because it means people are thinking. But the time has long passed of needing to do something. It begins with us.”

With all of the news surrounding the offenders of these shootings, including their sob stories and excuses for their actions, it is important that we remember the victims. It is important that they are not forgotten. It is important that this cycle of tragedies is broken through actions beyond Facebook debates. As Cooper stated, it starts with us.

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Nation Mourns Florida School Shooting Victims