Dear Commons Community,
It has become a regular occurrence in this country for a gunman armed with a high-powered weapon decides to kill innocents, all too often it happens at a school. There have been more than 40 “active shooter” episodes in schools recorded in the United States since 2000, according to the F.B.I. The shootings have become so common that many schools now conduct drills in which students practice huddling in classrooms behind locked doors.
Yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a heavily armed young man barged into his former high school opening fire on terrified students and teachers and leaving a death toll of 17 that could rise even higher, the authorities said. As reported by the New York Times:
“Students huddled in horror in their classrooms, with some of them training their cellphones on the carnage, capturing sprawled bodies, screams and gunfire that began with a few shots and then continued with more and more. The dead included students and adults, some of whom were shot outside the school and others inside the sprawling three-story building.
The gunman, armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, was identified as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, the authorities said. He began his shooting rampage outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in this suburban neighborhood shortly before dismissal time around 2:40 p.m. He then made his way inside and proceeded down hallways he knew well, firing at students and teachers who were scurrying for cover, the authorities said.
“Oh my God! Oh my God!” one student yelled over and over in one video circulating on social media, as more than 40 gunshots boomed in the background.
By the end of the rampage, Mr. Cruz had killed 12 people inside the school and three outside it, including someone standing on a street corner, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. Two more victims died of their injuries in local hospitals. The aftermath at the school was an eerie shrine, with chairs upended, a computer screen shattered with bullet holes and floors stained with blood.
“This is catastrophic,” said Sheriff Israel, who has three children who graduated from the high school. “There really are no words.”
“There really are no words” for this horrific incident which is all so common in a country prone to insane violence at the hands of deranged individuals with easy access to weapons of destruction.