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Going to School the Day After

By David L. Hawkins, III / Published on Thursday, 15 Feb 2018 11:59 AM / 1 Comment / 8 views
This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Parkland Shooting

From Superintendent Robert W. Runcie – Today’s Tragedy at Marjory Stoneman
Douglas High School
This evening, our District is dealing with an unimaginable tragedy at Marjory Stoneman
Douglas High School in Parkland. There are no words to express the sorrow that we
are all feeling. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well
as the entire Marjory Stoneman Douglas community.
As our District continues to work with law enforcement – we are focusing on providing
our students, families and employees with the support and resources needed to cope
with this devastating situation. We have grief counselors and crisis teams ready to
assist, and we will be providing details to all of our families and staff as we move
forward. Dealing with this tragedy is going to take time – and we will be here for every
student, every family and every staff member.
Our hearts are broken. Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.”

Above is the statement released by the superintendent of Broward County Schools. The phrase ‘unimaginable tragedy’ stands out to me, as that is truly what this type of situation is.

As a student, the reality of this situation weighs heavy on me. I cannot help but  look over my shoulder while entering the school. I cannot help but look at each student that walks through that door with a sense of dread. I cannot help but wonder if the same thing could happen to my school, and the harsh reality is that this is a possibility.

Two videos, which I will not link to here, came up in my Twitter feed and my curiosity got the best of me. It was horrifying. A Snapchat video of a student hunkered down with other students around him. The shots began and so did the screaming. In this particular video, there was no death on camera but if one looks closely, you can see three shots into a laptop. I am currently typing this piece out on a school laptop with a sense of paranoia.

The second video included several injured people being taken out of the classroom, along with a deceased student in a pool of blood. I wasn’t even able to sit through that 51 second video (the previous one was 10 seconds).

Everything about being in school feels different. And I do not remember feeling like this for any other school shooting. Perhaps this is how the nation felt as they watched the events of Columbine and its aftermath unfold. This particular shooting seems to hit me much more personally than previous ones. Why?

Well first of all, I am Floridian by birth. My family is originally from South Carolina, but I was born in Florida and raised there for about 11 years. The second reason this event hits me more personally is that I know someone who goes to that school. One of my old friends from my current school moved to Florida and actually ended up attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I cannot even imagine how it must feel to even be that close to such a situation. This friend didn’t know anyone hurt in the shooting but from what I have seen, he is still struggling with this.

I could have done a million things with covering this event, I could have debunked gun control myths or analyzed the specifics of the shooting but plenty of news outlets has already done that. I think, that perhaps politicizing every situation like this is slowly eating away at our humanity. Enough of the talking heads on Fox and CNN milking this situation for all its worth. During Columbine, there was fingers pointed at guns and video games and rock music. This time people are attempting to label the shooter as an extremist of some kind of ideology. People want to find something to blame, yet they ignore obvious mental issues and home-life issues the shooter likely had. Both of his parents were dead and he was adopted, that must be hard.

This piece is more rambling than anything else but I had to put something out there. I am sure the school affected will not go back into session for awhile but the rest of America is going back to school today. I am unsure if this situation has been weighing on anyone else as un-involved as me, but I am praying for those who were directly affected.

If you see someone who is questionable or seems like a threat to your school, report it. Many students said in interviews that they were not surprised by who the culprit of the shooting was. Why is that? Why was there not more action taken to detain or even watch Nikolas Cruz? He had questionable activity on Instagram, he was not allowed to come to school with a backpack when he attended there, he was all around a guy the raised all kinds of red flags. Speak up. Silence helps no one and ‘snitching’ can save lives.

Among teenagers, there is a certain stigma that ‘snitching’ is bad and makes you a ‘lame’ person but when lives are at stake, you keeping information to yourself can be dangerous. Even if someone doesn’t make you feel right, let an administrator know. And if they take no action, let parents or authorities know. Don’t let these kinds of events persist.

No matter what legislation is pushed, bad people will find a way to do bad things. That is a harsh reality that people do not like talking about. There are evil people in this world with all of these things wrong with them, and I understand that it is very scary to think that these types of people often walk among us. The only thing that can stop bad people is for someone to stand up.

Please, I beg of you, make your school/community aware of red flags.

This does not need to occur as often as it does.

Series Navigation<< An Exclusive Conversation With A Parkland SurvivorA New Approach to Mass Shootings >>

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Kelley Etters

Excellent article!