By Anelisa Holder | Co-Editor
At Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS (MSD) in Parkland, FL, Feb. 14 was going to be a memorable day of hearts, cards, and flowers.
Unfortunately, a gunman planted other memories in the minds of the students: 17 murdered and 14 more injured make the Parkland school shooting the deadliest in the world since the 1999 Columbine shooting.
The suspected shooter, Nikolas Cruz, is a former Douglas HS student with a troubled past: adopted at birth (though both his adoptive parents died), held back in school twice, posted violent images on social media, purchased several dozen weapons, and transferred many times between schools because of his “behavior issues.”
Cruz was suicidal, depressed, and often made jokes involving violence and guns.
He was reported 18 times, in vain, to the police, because of his troubling desire to own a gun and conduct a large school shooting.
According to www.miami.cbslocal.com, the Broward Sheriff’s Office stated that “(T)here were no arrestable offenses, nor was there evidence to prompt an involuntary mental health assessment [of Cruz].”
The facts are becoming clear: the 19-year old Cruz allegedly took an Uber to MSD.
To confuse the student body and faculty, he is thought to have pulled a fire alarm before he started shooting.
The shooting lasted six minutes before Cruz allegedly left his gun and joined the students leaving the school building.
A security officer was reported to have been at the school campus but stayed outside because that’s where he thought the shooting was occurring.
Cruz then left the school to buy a bottle of soda and a Subway sandwich.
Soon after, a police officer arrested Cruz and took him to the Broward County jail where Cruz pleaded guilty.
According to NBC News, two weeks later, on February 28, MSD students were back at school, but not for learning their lessons but for coping with the horrific tragedy.
Students were provided counseling and discussed the shootings, while going to school for just half of the day.
Students continue to hold vigils for the shooting victims, many wearing t-shirts saying, “Douglas Strong,” and a nationwide student protest March 14 hoped to bring changes to America’s gun laws.
The country mourns for the 17 victims, including President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House, Congressman Paul Ryan, who visited the school, while many Parkland students and families have spoken out about gun violence in America’s schools and the proliferation of military-style weapons (including the one allegedly used by Cruz).
(Sources from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoneman_Douglas_High_School_shooting unless otherwise cited)