PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) – One year after the Valentine’s Day bloodbath inside a Florida faculty, college students and households main a nationwide push for varsity and gun security paused on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the deadliest U.S. highschool shooting.
School buses introduced solely a handful of scholars to a shortened class day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the place a former scholar with an assault gun killed 17 individuals on Feb. 14, 2018.
A second of silence and neighborhood service actions occurred at native faculties. By late day, scores of individuals crammed a park forward of a night vigil. Students honored the victims by wrapping palm timber with their names and footage and laying flowers on the base.
Leaders of March for Our Lives, a nationwide scholar motion shaped within the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy to combat gun violence, weren’t within the highlight, having famous they might “go dark” or stop most communications throughout the anniversary.
Still, an emotional Emma Gonzalez, who helped to prepare the motion, described at a information convention in New York the neverending battle with trauma confronted by survivors of mass shootings just like the one in Parkland.
“Every day it feels like the shooting is happening again, or happened yesterday, or will happen tomorrow,” stated Gonzalez, who rose to prominence by urging her fellow college students to “call B.S.” on supporters of the gun foyer.
From Washington to Florida’s state capital Tallahassee, elected leaders from each events vowed to work to forestall one other disaster. Republican President Donald Trump stated on Twitter that the anniversary was a time to “recommit to ensuring the safety of all Americans, especially our nation’s children.”
Democrats used the event to name for higher gun management, introducing laws in states reminiscent of North Carolina and Colorado, whereas the occasion’s management within the U.S. House of Representatives pledged to advance stronger background verify necessities to purchase firearms.
“Why have we not been able to stop this from happening?” requested Jared Moskowitz, a former Democratic state legislator from the Parkland space, now heading the Florida Division of Emergency Management. He spoke alongside a 35-foot memorial to the shooting victims erected at a public arts show in Coral Springs, close to Parkland.
A former scholar, Nikolas Cruz, is accused of opening hearth with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle inside a freshman classroom constructing. He has provided to plead responsible if prosecutors don’t search the demise penalty, however no such settlement has been reached.
Many households of the lifeless and lots of scholar activists choose to not point out his identify. Instead, they’ve targeted consideration on a gun violence epidemic that killed practically 40,000 Americans in 2017, based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just over half have been self-inflicted.
As he deliberate a cemetery go to to mark his 14-year-old daughter’s demise, Fred Guttenberg recalled on Twitter how a year in the past he despatched two youngsters to high school – and just one got here dwelling.
“I am forever haunted by my memory of that morning, rushing my kids out the door rather than getting one last minute. Did I say I love you?” he stated.
Additional reporting and writing by Letitia Stein; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown