Parkland Shooting Anniversary: Sending love to MSD this Valentine’s day



Students walk past the new memorial garden outside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS)

Lara Russell-Lasalandra, Copy Editor and Video Producer

South Florida and the nation as a whole mourned the loss of the 17 Parkland shooting victims on Feb. 14, the one year anniversary of the tragedy. Our school, Florida, and the country made significant strides toward safety during the year following the event.

The shooting inspired students at MSD to become activists and initiate a movement among the younger generations. Millions of American teens, enraged with the nation’s current stance on gun-control, called into question everything from school security to the merit of the Second Amendment. Both local and federal governments shifted their stance dramatically in response to their efforts.

Professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law Adam Winkler said in an interview with NBC that Parkland “definitely marked a turning point. There is no doubt that the energy, the enthusiasm, the mobilization of these students was very influential. It did affect a lot of people across the country.”

According to a recent article on NBC Miami, gun-control groups “outspent the powerful NRA on the 2018 midterm elections.” The new Democratic majority in the House held a hearing this month on gun control for the first time in modern history.

Even under GOP-control of both chambers during President Donald Trump’s first two years in office, some of the NRA’s top priorities, such as easing restrictions on firearm suppressors and making it easier to carry concealed firearms over state borders, stalled.

Florida state congress enacted a surge of gun-control measures, including “increasing the minimum age for purchasing a firearm and requiring waiting periods” in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Act “is a comprehensive bill that includes a provision that raises the age to purchase a gun, bans bump stocks and allows law enforcement, with the approval of a judge, to bar a person deemed dangerous due to mental illness from owning guns for up to a year.”

Florida also enacted “Red Flag” laws, also known as extreme risk protection order laws, that allow law enforcement to confiscate firearms from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others after receiving permission from a judge. An article in Mother Journalism states, “since the Parkland shooting, at least two dozen states have considered enacting similar laws in their states.”

Our school also instituted new policies to improve student safety. The administration issued mandatory student IDs, making it easier to quickly identify who does and doesn’t belong on campus. All doors are locked from the outside and require a key to enter. The gate separating the school parking lot and the church will now remain closed during school hours so anyone who wishes to enter the school must enter through the front gate.

Parents and student survivors at MSD use the anniversary not only as a platform to launch new efforts in the gun-control movement, but also as a day to remember their fallen friends and family during a candlelight vigil that MSD will hold tonight.