17 Killed in Horrific School Shooting


Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the dreadful shooting.

Michael Quinn and Michael Preston, Writers

On February 14th, 2018, 17 students and adults are left dead after a tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, was expelled from the school prior to the events and has been confirmed by students and authorities alike to be the one responsible, CNN reports.

His Instagram account, now deleted, showcased Cruz posing with guns and knives, paired with a plethora of racial slurs and phrases in the captions of his posts. Among these posts was an image of Cruz’s “arsenal” consisting of seven guns, including his legally purchased AR-15, and body armor. His weapons, particularly his AR-15, became a frequent talking point in a private Instagram group chat that Cruz and several of his friends participated in. The AR-15 in question would go on to be the primary weapon in his onslaught. This chat housed countless extremely racist and homophobic messages, along with several messages from Cruz alluding to wanting to kill people. Authorities are only now aware of his destructive posts and behavior on the app.

This massacre is the 8th deadliest shooting in America and is the deadliest school shooting since Newtown. This has been the 7th intentional school shooting of 2018, and one of 18 shootings that has occurred in 2018 alone. 26 were left dead in Sandy Hook, only nine more casualties than this most recent incident.

Among the casualties of this disaster were beloved students and teachers alike. Aaron Feis, 37, was the school’s football junior varsity and varsity linemen coach. Feis was described by his grandparents and neighbors alike as a “really uplifting” person. Nicholas Dworet, 17, was MSD’s swim team captain with an ambitious future ahead of him with his admittance to the University of Indianapolis. Nicholas was described as being “vibrant and energetic,” according to the university’s head swim coach Jason Hite, who had met with him just a month prior to his death during Nick’s visit to the school. Peter Wang, 15, was killed helping his classmates escape by holding the door for them as they fled. According to cousin, Peter could have easily fled the scene and lived if he didn’t hold the door. Peter’s glowing reputation that he received from his family and friends don’t do the justice he deserves for his incredible and heroic actions he took during the events. The full list of those lost in the tragedy can be found here, courtesy of the Washington Post.

The school only just recently reopened after a week of talks of heavy protests and activism from students and others alike. Students from MSD have formed the hashtag #NeverAgain, a hashtag that has become the rallying cry of those who wish to spread awareness about gun violence and reform, as well as to entice others to join the cause. Emma Gonzales, survivor of the MSD shooting and activist voiced her opinion at a gun control rally Saturday. “Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS,” Gonzales said, according to Vox. “They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. … They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.” All this talk of gun control and activity has fueled the mass posting of viral events like the National School Walk Out on March 14th and the March for Our Lives on the March 24th. These are mostly high school targeted events, but it will no doubt spark nationwide walkouts the day of.

Overall, it’s dismal that it requires yet another national tragedy to actually wake people up to another issue that has plagued the US for far too long. Legislation should not be have influenced by the flesh and blood of children, but it looks as though we are at that point once again. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that there is a successful outcome this time.