By INDIRA MOOSAI
It’s no secret that in general, we as a nation have become desensitized to mass shootings. I would be lying to myself if I said that before Feb. 14 I was any different. Sure, I became shocked and disturbed when I heard the news of mass shootings. But after a few weeks of grief and discussion and analysis, I would get caught up in other news like many people do. Working at a college newspaper, I know firsthand that news is fast-paced. People forget and yes, life goes on.
That all changed on Feb. 14 when these dreaded words popped up on my news update, a moment I will never forget:
A shooting is occuring at a high school in southeast Florida.
I swiped it open with lightning speed. It felt like the page took a million years to load. With a younger brother attending school in the area, I immediately panicked. I had to know he was safe. I thought of my friends in Boca Raton, Parkland, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek: All cities near each other, all filled with members of a close-knit community.
There are no words to describe the heartbreak and anguish felt because of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I myself did not attend this school, but I have many friends that do. For the families and students of Stoneman Douglas, their pain is indescribable.
The next day, my high school, North Broward Preparatory School, was put on lockdown for what seemed to be a gunshot. This turned out to be a false alarm, though the fear felt by my friends was real.
You truly do not know where it will happen next. Before Feb. 14, not many people could tell you where Parkland was. But with research, it is known that Parkland was named the safest city in Florida last year. Now if you do a google search of Parkland, all that comes up is the shooting.
Though many people associate Parkland with the shooting, that is not all there is to it.
I know Parkland as home, a home where I’ve had great memories.
I had my birthday party in the cutest tea shop on Parkside Dr. The owner was so sweet and hospitable, providing my friends and I with Victorian hats while we sipped raspberry tea and took silly pictures.
I felt safe playing in the park in high school, being carefree, playing the “who could swing the highest” game on the swingset.
I took piano lessons for years with my favorite piano teacher, Miss Fox, at Heron Bay. She is kind, sophisticated, and talented, a representation of the residents of Parkland
This is the Parkland I know. This is the home we all have.
Joaquin Oliver, Aaron Feis, Martin Duque, Anguiano, Meadow Pollack, Alyssa Alhadeff, Jaime Guttenberg, Alaina Petty, Cara Loughran, Nicholas Dworet, Gina Montalto, Scott Beigel, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Carmen Schentrup, Peter Wang, Alexander Schachter, and Helena Ramsay are the victims who lost their lives. They will not die in vain.
I have confidence that Parkland will make a difference in the issue of gun control, because students’ voices are being heard loud and clear, and this is only the beginning. Already we have seen young people such as Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez become voices for our generation. They have been heavily praised for having the courage and strength to start a movement after going through such a horrific experience. They have been praised for being more mature and graceful than many adults in this country. Though Benjamin Kelly, aide to state rep. Shawn Harrison, claimed that the survivors were ‘actors,’ it is possible to be intelligent as a teenager.
Students in many schools, such as Olympic Heights in Boca Raton, have done walk-outs of school in support of Douglas. 535 Letters for Change was created to turn words into action. Students have planned March for Our Lives, a march that will take place on Mar. 24 in every major U.S. city, expressing the need for gun control. #NeverAgain and #WeCallBS are among the popular hashtags people have used inspired by the survivors.
I could not be prouder of my community. Yes, life goes on. But as life goes on, the fight for peace and unity goes on. We will not let this go down in history as just another school shooting.
Support Parkland by following NeverAgain on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Indira Moosai can be reached at email@example.com