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Reflecting on the Shooting at Stoneman Douglas: A Year Later

Reflecting on the Shooting at Stoneman Douglas: A Year Later
Abbie Elkan, 15, decorates posters of the victims of the Parkland, Fla., shooting, before the start of an interfaith service, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Parkland, Fla. More than a thousand people gathered at a South Florida park on the anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High massacre to honor the 17 victims killed. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

By Ariana Milian

Assistant Opinion Editor

One year ago, on Feb. 14, 2018, 17 lives were taken at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

This event, a modern-day Valentine’s Day Massacre, has had a year to settle in our stomachs. It still sits in mine like a knot. I still feel completely helpless.

This tragic event hit close to home for me. I am from a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, just like Parkland. In fact, my home isn’t too far from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. When I was a member of band and debate in high school, I visited MSD a handful of times. I had spoken to Gina Montalto and Alex Schachter in passing at marching band competitions. I competed in debate in the classrooms that would later become crime scenes.

And yet, I have not experienced the same pain that the victim’s friends and family felt. It was a shock to my system, but they now feel a hole in their hearts and lives forever. While I knew of Gina and Alex, I didn’t really know them. To me, at the time, they were just MSD band members.

The U.S. averaged one mass shooting a day in 2018. Since the shooting at MSD, there have been 350 mass shootings in the United States. Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, there has only been one calendar week without a mass shooting.

I’m not here to cite statistics about mass shootings. I think it dehumanizes the victims, bringing them down to merely a number.

As for the shooter in Parkland, I want him to be a statistic. The more we make him famous by giving him undeserved media attention, the more he stands out. I don’t want to remember his name, I want him to be obsolete.

I can’t mention the shooting at Stoneman Douglas without mentioning March for Our Lives. March for Our Lives is a national organization founded by the survivors with the mission to end gun violence through collaboration with politicians and peaceful protest. These are high school students aiming for effective change in America in memory of their classmates.

On the anniversary of the MSD shooting, you could not access the regular March for Our Lives website. When attempting to visit the site, the home page says, “Today and every day, we remember those taken from us.” This is a simple, beautiful tribute to the 17 people who were killed that day.

We will always remember their names: Alyssa Alhadeff, Martin Duque Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet, Jamie Guttenberg, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Alex Schachter, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Carmen Schentrup, Peter Wang, Chris Hixon, Aaron Feis and Scott Beigel.

May their memories be a blessing. May their legacies last forever.

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