Valentine’s Day, a day that is supposed to be filled with love and appreciation of those in our lives, has turned into one of sadness and as at least 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The suspect, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, who had been previously expelled for disciplinary reasons, is in custody. Investigators believed that Cruz pulled the fire alarm to draw people out of classrooms and increase the number of fatalities.
Today’s mass shooting is the 25th since Columbine in 1999.
Florida Governor Rick Scott, speaking at a news conference, said that he will visit victims and their families from today’s shooting at the hospital tonight.
“This is just absolutely pure evil,” Gov. Scott said. “This state does not tolerate violence. We have law enforcement that will always show up to defend our safety.”
Robert Runcie, Superintendent for Broward County Public Schools, said the district was in a “tremendous state of grief.”
“No parent should ever have to send their kids to school and have them not return,” Runice said. “That should not happen in Parkland. It shouldn’t happen anywhere in this country. We’ve got to find a way for this to stop.”
President Donald Trump, in a tweet earlier this afternoon, said “my prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
According to Wikipedia, there have been 103 school massacres since 1927.
Thirty-nine, or more than 1/3, have been in the United States.
Not only is this most recent massacre the third deadliest in school shooting in US history, but it is the third deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history to take place within the past five months ( Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and concert in Las Vegas).
The gun reportedly used was a AR-15 assault rifle. The same type of gun was used at Sandy Hook [26 dead], Orlando Night Club shooting [50 dead], Las Vegas Shooting [59 dead] Texas Church Shooting [26 dead].
Immediately after the shooting, members of Congress were quick to condemn such shootings and demand gun control legislation.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said that Congress bears responsibility for the “epidemic of mass slaughter” in the US. “This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”
The Connecticut Senator, who represents the state where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occulted in 2012 where 20 children were fatally shot, has been an outspoken supporter of increased legislation for years.
“As a parent, it scares me to death that this body doesn’t take seriously the safety of my children, and it seems like a lot of parents in South Florida are going to be asking that same question later today,” Senator Murphy said. “We pray for the families, for the victims. We hope for the best.”
Today’s shooting will no doubt spark the debate over gun control and whether it, or mental health, is the dominant issue allowing such atrocities to be performed. It is currently the White House’s position, articulated by the President after a church shooting in Texas which killed 26 people in November of 2017, that “mental health,” and not gun control policies, is the issue.
Florida currently has the death penalty on its books.