Fighting for Florida

What Happened on February 14th at Stoneman Douglas High School

Emma Thompson, Junior Writer

On February 14th, 2018, a gunman killed seventeen people and wounded fourteen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman set off fire alarms to bring kids out of their classrooms and opened fire with a semi automatic AR-15 assault rifle. The shooting suspect, 19 year old Nikolas Cruz, dropped his weapon and hid in the crowd as people evacuated the building. Cruz was caught an hour later, taken to the hospital, and then released into police custody.
In the days that followed, Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, spoke out in an eleven minute speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale. Just eighteen years old, Emma has become one of the country’s biggest gun violence prevention activists. During her speech, she vowed not to stop fighting and said that the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas school want to be the last mass shooting in America. She stated, “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks . . . not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in American, but because… we are going to be the last mass shooting.” She didn’t think her speech would go viral; she just wanted people to feel what she was feeling, but she isn’t the only one. Many of her classmates are speaking out about gun violence prevention.
The March for Our Lives, set to take place on March 24 in Washington, D.C. and other cities throughout the country, is expected to draw over 500,000 people. The march has collected over $2 million in donations, with exceptional amounts from George and Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. At this moment, Emma is afraid the march will lose momentum, and as new things come up, people will forget. She says that celebrities who talk about the march and media coverage will help to prevent that from happening.
Emma Gonzalez believes the motivation to join the march is each other and that we need to stand together. This isn’t about taking sides; it’s about taking a stand. One of the most important things people can do to help is keep talking about it and ask the important questions: What will be done to prevent another mass shooting? Will anything be done about the NRA? Will there be any new laws to protect innocent kids who are just trying to go to school? It is a time for change, and the only way for that to happen is for people to speak up and fight for lives that matter.