The Parkland School Shooting- What does it mean for Shorecrest Students?

This photo taken on March 14th 2018 shows dozens of Shorecrest students standing together to show support for the Parkland Shooting victims.

Madison Bruce

This photo taken on March 14th 2018 shows dozens of Shorecrest students standing together to show support for the Parkland Shooting victims.

On February 14th, a tragedy occurred in Parkland, Florida where a teen gunman shot and killed 17 students at a local high school. Gun laws have been controversial within the United States since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012, when a man walked into the school and shot 20 children. As Generation Z grows older, the controversy surrounding school shootings has expanded. As young adults utilize different media platforms to help spread awareness about these awful shootings, they hope to put an end to outdated gun laws to stop anything like the Parkland shooting from ever happening again.

Although most people consider the state of Washington and the city of Seattle to have similar liberal and anti-gun violence views in line with most of the democratic party, the amount of people who have admitted to having a firearm around or inside of their home is frightening. According to King County’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2015, 34% of adults the age of 18 and older reported having a firearm in or around their home and 15% of those people have reported keeping them loaded and are likely to have access to firearms. A handful of them are likely to have access to firearms. Some anonymous students have even admitted to keeping a gun in their car while parked in the student lot, even though this is against school policy. Shorecrest weapons policy explicitly addresses the possession of weapons as an immediate expulsion and notification to law enforcement, “Students shall not possess, display, handle, or transmit weapons, other dangerous devices or any item which reasonably appears to be such, including but not limited to guns, knives, clubs, metal knuckles, daggers, chemical inhalants, or any other potentially dangerous implements on school property or to school-sponsored events. Any exception to the above will require explicit permission.” Sophomore Jannah McDaniels said, “It makes me extremely uncomfortable knowing that some students at Shorecrest may have guns on them at this very moment, because I know we overreact about things.” Sophomore Cammie Wicken added, “It sucks that we have to think about things like this.” The increase in mass shootings is alarming, last year was the Las Vegas Harvest Music Festival shooting, in 2007 the Virginia Tech shooting, and in Washington State was the 2014 Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting. Sophomore Hanna Cowan said, “I’ve had teachers tell me that when they were in school, the only drills they would practice were earthquake and fire drills, and now we have to practice gun, fire, earthquake and I think if people were willing to give up their hobby of owning a gun we would be a lot safer.”

A way President Donald Trump has suggested solving the growing epidemic of school shootings is by arming school staff. The New York Times released a video of Trump explaining his thoughts on arming school staff, “Because these people are cowards, they’re not going to walk into a school if 20% of the teachers have guns and maybe 10% or maybe 40%, and what I’d recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus…the active shooter drills is a very negative thing. I’ll be honest with you I mean, if I’m a child, and I’m 10 years old and they say ‘We’re going to have an active shooter drill,’ and I say ‘What?’ ‘Well, people may come in and shoot you.’ I think that’s a very negative thing.” Cowan said in response to the Trump video, “I don’t think fighting fire with fire will lessen the flames, so I don’t think we should add more guns to the problem.” An anonymous student, who owns a firearm briefly explained in a discussion about the Parkland school shooting, that if Shorecrest were to have a school shooting that they could go out to their car, grab their firearm and takedown the shooter. However that same student admitted they are afraid that some teachers who may not be emotionally stable enough to be trusted with a gun may abuse their power. Wicken also agrees that emotional health is a problem when it comes to having guns, “We should have a better mental health check for people looking to buy guns.”

Since the Parkland shooting occurred, a page supporting the students made by students called @schoolwalkoutUS has been made on Twitter, Instagram, and they have created their own website . The website has a map showing tags of over one thousand different schools all over the world that have signed up to do a 17 minute walkout to honor all 17 students killed on February 14th. In less than 24 hours, they had over 900 schools sign up to walk on March 14th starting at 10:00 am until 10:17 am. As of March 13th, 1,668 schools are signed up to walk on the 14th and April 20th to pay respects to the fifteen victims of the Columbine School Massacre in April 20th 1999. They also sell merchandise to help raise money for Every Town Gun Safety, an organization that strives to educate people about guns.   

On March 14th, Shorecrest students participated alongside hundreds of other schools in the walkout, millions of students joined each other on the 14th walking in unity to show their support for victims of gun violence. They joined forces to make sure there wasn’t a single person on congress that wasn’t thinking about the dead children who left emptiness in the hearts of their parents and peers. The Walkout put a spotlight on the neglectful gun laws in the United States. Wicken said, “I think if we had better regulations on guns it [Parkland Shooting] could have been avoided, like the age and having more intense class or something before you get a gun. You should be required to take a class on gun safety before you can buy the gun. There’s always a possibility of it happening at Shorecrest, I don’t feel protected from it. I hope there will be better regulations on gun laws because of the walkout. I did the walkout because I don’t think it’s something we need to worry about everyday, or think about every time we go to school. I felt that it was good seeing everyone coming together, and nobody was mad or anything, I feel like for the Donald Trump walkout, it was very head to head. Everyone was just pissed off, but this was just people who were genuinely worried and concerned for the safety of them and their classmates.” Wicken also added, “If I could say anything to a Parkland victim or any victim of a school shooting it would be, just that I’m sorry that they had to go through that and that no one should ever have to go through that again and I hope it never does happen.”