Horror Devastates a Parkland, Florida High School

Megan Geller, Editor in Chief

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On Wednesday February 14th, a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL changed the lives of many students, teachers, faculty and their families.  According to a CNN article published Friday February 16th, a football coach, athletic director, students and teachers encompassed the 17 killed by the gunman.

Wednesday began as a normal day for students and staff at the high school, no one able to predict the horrors that would face them as the day would unfold in front of their eyes. According to a New York Times article published Friday, February 16th, 19 year old Nikolas Cruz arrived at the high school at 2:19 p.m. via Uber. He would pull out a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle. After committing the murders, Cruz discarded the rifle, a vest and ammunition in a stairwell. He would then blend in with fleeing students and escaped the building. He would go to a nearby Walmart to purchase a drink at Subway and stop at McDonalds’s before being arrested walking down a residential street at 3:41 p.m.

Because Cruz looked like a typical high school student, it initially puzzled Officer Michael Leonard as to if this truly was the student he needed to arrest. Ultimately though, Cruz would confess to the murder of 17 individuals and now faces 17 counts of premeditated murder. Evidence is present as many students filmed the events on their cellphones as the shooting took place. Cruz is currently being held at the Broward County jail without bond. In fact, he is on suicide watch according to the county’s chief assistant public defender, Gordon Weekes.

Important to note was that the gun used by Cruz was purchased legally; in the state of Florida, the AR-15 is easier to purchase than a handgun. He purchased the rifle in February 2017. The AR-15 has become with ¾ along with the AR-47 ¾ the rifle of choice for mass shootings. The AR-47 has been used since the Cold War era and would continue to be used into the Vietnam War. By the 1980s, the AR-15 would be used as a pair with the AR-47, because of its semiautomatic nature. According to another New York Times article detailing the history of these semiautomatic weapons, variants of the AR-15 have been used in other recent mass shootings such as Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT back in 2012.

Nikolas Cruz has already made his first appearance in from of the court, suited in an orange jumpsuit and shackled around his hands, feet and waist. According to the chief assistant to his public defender, Cruz has a significant history of mental illness and what consequences Cruz will face have yet to be determined. The court faces a very challenging question that Howard Finkelstein, the chief public defender in Broward County, where Parkland, FL is located, said will determine Cruz’s fate: “Should society execute mentally ill people?”

No matter what your views are and what you believe should be Cruz’s fate, we must all remember, we remember the lives of the children and adults of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and send thoughts and prayers to their families.

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