Fri. Feb 28th, 2020

Parkland remembers its victims and calls for an end to armed violence



Two years after the shooting that ended the lives of 14 students and 3 teachers, the Parkland community in South Florida recalled the victims of the tragedy this Friday and called for politicians to end the armed violence

“The emphasis is not gone, it’s still here. This garden is a reflection of all the effort to keep the memory alive and keep the support to end armed violence,” Troy Olsen, father of one of the surviving students, told Efe while paying tribute to the victims in front of an altar.

He recalled that two years ago, he and his wife were terrified of leaving Marjory Stoneman Douglas school waiting for their daughter to leave, and only until several hours later they learned of the tragedy that engulfed 17 families.

The high school, where former student Nikolas Cruz fired with an assault rifle at all who crossed his path on a day like today two years ago, opened this Friday normally and several of his students participated during the so-called “Service Day and love “to honor the victims.

However, just as it happened on the first anniversary, many of the students preferred to honor their deceased classmates and teachers in private and missed classes, which was evident in almost deserted facilities.

A small altar at the entrance of the Parkland School, 78 miles north of Miami, with messages, flowers and small glass angels remembered the victims.

The events to remember them began the day before with “Parents’ Night”, a meeting that brought the community together at school so that loved ones could support each other.

In addition, school officials offered a guide for parents with recommendations on how to talk to their children during these difficult times, as well as psychological counseling by experts at the center.

Like Olsen’s daughter, many are affected by posttraumatic stress, despite the passage of time.

Around noon the memory of the victims moved to a nearby park, when the city fell completely silent, as did many county schools that did the same.

Parents, survivors and activists have cried the tragedy that occurred two years ago in this quiet city in South Florida with just over 25,000 inhabitants and made it known through social networks.

At the time, they have criticized what little politicians have done to prevent something like this from happening again.

“Two years ago 17 of my classmates were killed in school. All of us are still trying to recover, but it was because of the lack of action of our politicians, who have allowed this to continue happening. 2 years. No change “Connor Dietrich posted on Twitter.

In this regard, the president of the Florida Democratic Party, Terrie Rizzo, criticized in a statement the state policy that allows anyone with more than 21 years to buy weapons and ammunition.

“Unfortunately in our state, anyone can buy a semi-automatic weapon, find a highly populated place and become a machine of mass destruction,” Rizzo said.

Fred Guttenberg, father of one of the victims, Jaime, and a gun control activist also spoke.

“I sent my children to school where they should have been safe. They weren’t. Jaime became a victim of gun violence. Two years ago. Hard to believe. Every day is a new trip in which I try to learn how to move forward. That’s my reality, “he wrote on his Twitter account.

On February 4, Guttenberg called on President Donald Trump, in full speech of the Union in Congress, to do something for young people like his 14-year-old daughter who are at risk of dying due to armed violence.

A position also shared by Olsen, who asked politicians to strengthen the “lax” laws for the bearing of arms.

“After the incident they increased the minimum age to buy weapons from 18 to 21, but very little else has been done about it … I can enter a store and leave with a gun in 15 minutes. That’s wrong.” assured.

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