Survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre that left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida have transformed into activists demanding changes to gun laws and school protocol in hopes of preventing future school shootings.
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The teenagers have garnered the attention of the media, national lawmakers and President Trump, who invited school shooting survivors and the parents of murdered children to the White House in a show of support. One of those attendees was Ariana Klein, a student at the affluent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where Nikolas Cruz, 19, reportedly came on the campus and killed 17 people, mostly students, with his AR-15 style rifle that he’d legally obtained. Cruz, a former student who was expelled from the school, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held without bail. The motive behind the shooting remains unclear.
“We all have to realize that we all have our opinions. And together, we’re going to be able to work toward a solution,” Klein told the president. “This is not just Parkland anymore. This is America. This is every student, and every city, everywhere. It’s not small. It’s everything.” While Klein said she believes the age limit on purchasing guns needs to be raised to 21 – “no 18 year old should be able to get a gun that can kill multiple people within seconds” – she said the focus right now needs to be on securing schools instead of long-term solutions.
Reports this week emerged that an armed school resource deputy remained outside of the building for about four minutes as the massacre unfolded inside and never fired his weapon. The shooting lasted about six minutes. Scot Peterson, the former Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy, has since resigned.
“It’s absolutely disgusting,” Klein said during an interview with FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto. “He knew his job. He knew what he had to do. And that’s another problem. There needs to be accountability, and there is none.”
Authorities from the sheriff’s office have also faced mounting criticism amid allegations that multiple deputies failed to enter the high school during the rampage. Officials said they are investigating the reports.
“In the future, they need to be looking into who they place in these schools, because they can do the same thing,” she said. “They can just not do anything. They get too comfortable with doing nothing.”