One Year Later

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting; here’s what has happened in the months since

The fact of the matter is that Stoneman Douglas High School could have all too easily been North Allegheny. It doesn't matter that the shooting occurred in Florida -- what matters is that it happened in the first place.

graphic by Carly DeArmit

The fact of the matter is that Stoneman Douglas High School could have all too easily been North Allegheny. It doesn't matter that the shooting occurred in Florida -- what matters is that it happened in the first place.

Carly DeArmit, Copy Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On Thursday, as people across the world will celebrate Valentine’s Day — eating countless boxes of chocolates and sending millions of bouquets of flowers — the students, teachers, and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida will be commemorating the one year anniversary of the high school’s mass shooting.

It was just last Valentine’s Day when a gunman opened fire on the high school, killing 17 and injuring countless more. The lives lost consisted of students, administrators, and coaches from ages 14 to 49. The community of Parkland and the entire country mourned one of the largest mass school shootings to date in the U.S.

As funerals and memorial services for the victims concluded, the rest of the world moved on, but the people of Parkland were left with a school serving as a reminder of that horrific day, not a place to learn. While they were supposed to be worried about studying for their SATs or receiving college acceptance letters, the students of Stoneman Douglas High School cleaned out their once-classmates’ lockers and continued in the mourning process.

While the world moved on, the students of Parkland decided they did not want their classmates to be forgotten nor did they want this to happen to any other school. They organized a national march in Washington in late March. Students from Stoneman Douglas High, including Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, and Cameron Kasky, were some of the march’s biggest leaders and advocates — giving the movement the name the March for Our Lives. The march served to promote gun violence awareness and support for gun control. More than 800 cities around the world held sister marches in support of the national march in the nation’s capital.

Prior to the March 24th march, a national student walkout was held on March 14th, one month after the shooting. At 10:00 am, students across the country walked out of class and stood silent for 17 minutes — 1 minute for each life lost.

While students at Stoneman Douglas High continued on fighting for more gun control, it seemed as if the country had lost interest. After the march on Washington, most resumed their lives and put the events in Parkland in the backs of their minds.

However small they may seem, though, the US Government has enacted multiple reforms since the Florida shooting. After the February 14th shooting, Florida Governor Rick Scott promised to change the state’s gun laws, and three weeks later, he did just that — signing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act into law. The bill aims to provide provisions that include raising the age to purchase a gun and banning bump stocks. Scott’s bill also calls for more than $300 million for school safety initiatives.

Florida was not the only state to make changes after the high school’s shooting. According to the Giffords Law Center, led by Arizona shooting survivor, Gabby Giffords, nearly 26 states and the District of Columbia have put a total of 67 new gun control laws into effect in 2018 alone. Some agendas include raising the minimum age to buy guns, implementing restrictions for domestic abusers, and enabling “red flag” signals that allow law enforcement to take away guns from people deemed risks.

Pullquote Photo

Nothing and no one can bring back the lives lost — nothing. But if we take action, the lives lost will not be forgotten, and more lives can be spared.”

While such reforms seem to promote more controlled gun laws, they also serve as a big problem. In states where gun laws are weak, people can enter from neighboring states and not face the same legislature they do in other states. States like Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York places with higher gun laws experience the above more often than not.

While I will acknowledge that action has been taken, I will not accept that the fight ends here. More needs to be done. More attention needs to be given to this problem. The fact of the matter is that Stoneman Douglas High School could have all too easily been North Allegheny. It doesn’t matter that the shooting occurred in Florida — what matters is that it happened in the first place. 17 innocent lives were taken all too soon because a gun was placed in the wrong hands. Stricter gun laws would have no doubt decreased the odds of the Parkland shooting, and the countless other mass shootings that have happened since.

Where does America go from here? Do we take action after the fact? Or do we continue the fight until the race is won? We should choose the latter — the more compassionate, empathetic choice. We need to fight alongside the students of Parkland and the students of Sandy Hook and the students of Columbine.

Change can no doubt be achieved if we work together, if we recognize the flaws in our system, and if we continue the fight long after the fact and do more than send “thoughts and prayers.” Nothing and no one can bring back the lives lost — nothing. But if we take action, the lives lost will not be forgotten, and more lives can be spared.

On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 17 innocent lives were taken. 17 people never got to go home or say “I love you” to their loved ones one last time. As we eat all the heart-shaped chocolate on Thursday, let us not forget the work to be done.