Students from the school at the centre of a mass shooting have said they don’t want sympathy, they want action.
Expelled student Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged with shooting and killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, yesterday (February 14).
In the wake of the tragic events, politicians have been offering familiar sentiments, sharing their condolences and prayers.
Yet this has left students unimpressed – they’re angered how the people expressing their sympathy appear to be doing little to stop the next shooting from happening.
The US President himself, Donald Trump, even appeared to blame the victims for causing the attack to happen.
Saying Cruz’s classmates and neighbours should have warned the authorities about his disturbing behaviour, Trump tweeted:
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behaviour.
Neighbours and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
What Trump fails to note is Cruz was reported to the authorities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation – twice.
Students and people living near Cruz have described him as a ‘troubled’ teenager who threatened and harassed people, as well as expressing an interest in killing animals.
Trump had earlier expressed his condolences writing:
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.
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
House speaker Paul Ryan also spoke about the events and in an interview with Tom Katz on Indiana radio station WIBC saying the shooting shouldn’t threaten anyone’s right to own a gun, adding:
There’s more questions than answers at this stage, I don’t think that means you then roll that conversation into taking away citizens’ rights – taking away a law-abiding citizen’s rights.
Obviously this conversation typically goes there. Right now, I think we need to take a breath and collect the facts.
Far-right pundit Tomi Lahren even slammed people for discussing gun control in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy.
Can the left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda?
My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic.
Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn't about a gun it's about another lunatic. #FloridaShooting
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) February 15, 2018
However the students, along with scores of others, have had something to say about it.
David Hogg, a student who survived the massacre, decided to speak out during an interview on CNN, saying:
My message to lawmakers and Congress is, please, take action. Ideas are great and wonderful and they help you get re-elected and everything.
But what is more important is actual action, impertinent action that results in saving thousands of lives.
What we really need is action. We can say, ‘we’re gonna do all these things’. Thoughts and prayers. What we need more than that is action. Please.
This is the 18th [school shooting] this year. That is unacceptable. We’re children. You guys are the adults.
You need to take action and play a role. Work together, get over all your politics and get something done.
Student David Hogg who survived the school shooting looks directly in the camera, and sends a message to President Trump and lawmakers: “Please, take action. Ideas are great… But what’s more important is actual action… saving thousands of children’s lives. Please, take action.” pic.twitter.com/C5mf9qPlqA
— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018
Many students and other young people have been taking to Twitter to call for more action and gun control.
Many of their tweets were directed at President Trump:
Unless you are going to do something about gun control so no one else experiences what my school has, shut the fuck up. https://t.co/9i8Yr2233L
— Morgan Williams (@morganw_44) February 15, 2018
A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatized from this tragedy. This could have been prevented. Please stfu tomi https://t.co/qNo03ZE3Ev
— kyra (@longlivekcx) February 15, 2018
17 people dead. Change the laws please. You don’t really think about something until it affects you… An 18 year old has no business owing an AR15 tf is this bro. This world is disgusting. How does one have the mentality to say they’re gonna go take peoples lives away today…
— Nick Swerve (@NickSwerve) February 15, 2018
why was a student able to terrorize my school mr president https://t.co/rwDRYz3ayx
— nikki (@nikta04) February 14, 2018
I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren't there, you don't know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns. https://t.co/XnzhvuN1zd
— carly (@car_nove) February 15, 2018
Trump is yet to make any comment about gun control.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.