The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Parkland shooting survivors speak out, demand change on social media

#NeverAgain is becoming a social-media identifier of the Parkland, Florida, shooting survivors.
Mourners gather at a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are taking to social media to voice their anger, sadness, fears, and calls for action after a former classmate, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, shot his legally bought AR-15 semiautomatic rifle at random people on school grounds, killing 17 and wounding 14 others.

The student messages are meant for their congressional representatives and President Trump in hopes of making a change so that mass school shootings never happen again in America.

The most recent shooting in took place on Feb. 14.

A Stoneman Douglas student named Lyliah said, “Today, I woke up excited to go to school in my cute dress and celebrate Valentine’s Day with my friends. Today, I came home nearly terrified and worried about the people I care about the most. Nobody should have to go through that.”

Stoneman Douglas student Sarah Chadwick has been very active on Twitter since the shooting and has appeared in national news organizations and advocacy groups for her comments.

“To the politicians saying this isn’t about guns, and that we shouldn’t be discussing this [right now]: We were literally being shot at while trying to gain an education. So this is about guns. You weren’t in the school while this was happening. We were, and we’re demanding change.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said gun restrictions would not have prevented the Parkland, Florida, shooting.

“Dear Marco Rubio, As a student who was inside the school while an active shooter was wreaking terror and havoc on my teachers and classmates with an AR-15, I would just like to say, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.”

“Our teachers aren’t even given enough funding for pencils; who’s going to buy them guns?!” Chadwick said in response to a “Students for Trump” account advocating for armed teachers.

At Cruz’s first court appearance, attorneys argued the teenager was a troubled kid and is sorry for his actions.

“Sorry doesn’t bring back my dead friends,” said Stoneman Douglas student Connor Dietrich.

At an anti-gun rally on Feb. 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez said, “Just like Tinker v. Des Moines, we are going to change the law. That’s going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook, and it’s all going to be due to the tireless effort of the School Board, the faculty members, and most importantly, the students.”

Another trending hashtag on social media is #DouglasStrong, on which survivors share personal stories in relation to the shooting.

A student named Carly wrote, “This is my grandpa. When he was 12 years old, he hid in a closet while his family was murdered during the first mass shooting in America. Almost 70 years later, I also hid in a closet from a murderer. These events shouldn’t be repetitive. Something has to change. #douglasstrong”

Single tweets from the teenagers calling for action are reaching hundreds of thousands of people, and celebrities and public figures are engaging in comments.

Comedian/actor and star of the moive The Big Sick Kumail Nanjiani said, “The students who survived the shooting at Douglas High School are loudly advocating for gun control. Their bravery is inspiring.”

Chicago Cub first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who attended Stoneman Douglas, flew home to attend a vigil for the students and teachers who died.

“I grew up in Stoneman Douglas,” he said. “I played on those fields, I went to those classes. I studied in those classrooms. The same school we saw in those videos yesterday, for all the wrong reasons.”

Rizzo is a former Iowa Cub player (2012) and often visited children at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.

A group is encouraging high-school students across the nation to peacefully protest on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, which killed 12 students and one teacher.

The group is called National School Walkout and calls for a peaceful protest in the halls or outside of students’ schools at 10 a.m.

A Stoneman Douglas 16-year-old student named Alyssa Goldfarb posted a lengthy call for action on Twitter. Alyssa lost two friends in the shooting, 14-year-old Jamie Guttenberg and 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff.

“We don’t need thoughts and prayers, I’m sorry to say, but we don’t,” she said. “What we need is a policy change.”

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