School shooting in Parkland, Florida kills 17
September 1, 2018
A gunman killed 17 people—14 students and three faculty—at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.
The 19-year-old gunman, a former student who was expelled for disciplinary reasons, set off a fire alarm to draw students and teachers out of their classrooms just before the end of the school day. He opened fire in the freshman building of the school, killing 17 and injuring more than a dozen. He was armed with an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle and was at large for more than an hour before being taken into police custody.
Melissa Falkowski, 35, who teaches English 3 and Creative Writing and advises the newspaper, hid 19 students in the closet of her journalism room during the shooting.
“We were [all] standing in the closet–so you gotta try to keep it light, because it’s hot and there’s a lot of kids in there,” Falkowski said.
The gunman confessed to the shooting and was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and denied bond. Last year, the FBI was contacted about a YouTube comment posted by a user with the same name as the gunman that read “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
The FBI released a statement on Feb. 15 confirming that they investigated the comment but could not verify any actionable information.
“No other information was included in the comment which would indicate a particular time, location or the true identity of the person who posted the comment,” the statement read.
The shooting at MSD is the deadliest school shooting since 2012, when 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and among the deadliest in modern U.S. history. And, less than 50 days into 2018, it’s already far from the first school shooting this year.
The shooting has reignited the gun control debate in full force, with many legislators pushing for a ban on bump stocks, gun addendums that increase their firing rates.
President Trump offered his prayers and condolences to the victims’ families, tweeting “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school” the day of the shooting.
Trump, in a meeting with lawmakers on Feb. 28, told members of Congress that they should not be afraid to defy the NRA in passing a comprehensive school safety package. At one point, Trump urged taking guns away from anyone considered dangerous, even before they have the opportunity to defend themselves in court.
“Take the guns first, go through due process second,” he said in a publicly televised meeting on Wednesday.
Trump’s remarks about seizing guns and the NRA were considerably different from his comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where his main objective was to spread his message of arming teachers, barely mentioning background checks or raising the age limit to purchase a weapon.
In response to the students who have seized control of the national gun policy debate, companies such as Delta, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart have cut ties with the NRA. Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Wednesday that they will enact tougher gun sale restrictions and stop selling assault-style rifles, CEO Edward Stack announced on the Dick’s Sporting Goods official webpage.