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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 21, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

National Recap: Parkland shooting leaves 17 dead

A school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 has left 17 people dead and 15 wounded. The shooting is considered one of the top 10 deadliest shootings in modern history.

Students from the high school who survived the shooting are organizing and are planning a march in Washington, D.C.

Nikolas Cruz, the gunman, was arrested after the shooting. He has since confessed to carrying out the shooting and is being held without bail on 17 counts of murder. Cruz, 19, had formerly attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but was expelled for disciplinary reasons.

A student at the high school said most students tried to stay away from Cruz, and that students would joke that if anyone were to be a school shooter, it would be Cruz.

“A lot of people were saying that it would be him,” the student told reporters. “They would say he would be the one to shoot up the school. Everyone predicted it.”

The FBI recently acknowledged that it had received anonymous tips pertaining to Cruz, with one saying that Cruz had a “desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Feb. 16 that “the FBI in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better.

President Donald Trump offered his condolences on Twitter on the afternoon of Feb. 14, saying, “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.” In addition, Trump accused the FBI of being too focused on its Russian investigation and not giving enough attention to reports about Cruz, tweeting, “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion.

Trump also made a statement about the shooting Feb. 15 and blamed the shooting on “the difficult issue of mental health.”

A group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has decided to organize a march on March 24 to protest gun violence in schools. David Hogg, one of the student organizers of March For Our Lives, told CNN that now is the time to become politically active about this issue.

“If our elected officials are not willing to stand up and say, ‘I’m not going to continue to take money from the NRA because children are dying,’ they shouldn’t be in office and they won’t be in office because this is a midterm year and this is the change that we need,” Hogg said.

Meaghan McElroy can be reached at mmcelroy@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @meaghan_mcelroy