Parkland survivors at USF mourn Texas elementary school shooting – The Oracle

Survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting face grief and frustration as more children fall victim to gun violence at school. SPECIAL TO ORACLE/ROBB ELEMENTARY

As more information emerged about the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Bianca Romano could only hope the death toll wouldn’t exceed that of the 2018 shooting at the school. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Romano, now a sophomore at USF, was a freshman at Stoneman Douglas, sitting in class on the first floor of the freshman building — just a few classrooms from where the shooter killed 17 of peers.

“The shootings, especially this one, were a little numb. It hurts when you see your number has been exceeded,” she said. “There were 17 students and teachers who died that day -the [at Stoneman Douglas]. And for Robb Elementary, it’s 21. Nineteen children and two adults.

“At first I think I heard 14. I was like, oh my God, this is so much but as long as they don’t overtake us. And then it finally came to light that it was 21. So many people with who I am still in contact with at Douglas were very, very shocked.

The three deadliest school shootings in US history have occurred in the past 10 years. Robb Elementary and Stoneman Douglas are the most recent, and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut is the deadliest with 27 killed. All attackers used an AR-15 assault rifle.

For more than two decades, the United States has led the way in gun violence deaths in high-income territories with a population of at least 10 million, according to healthdata.org. Excluding infants, 15% of all deaths among those aged 20 and under are attributed to gun violence. This figure is 13 times higher than that of France and 22 times that of the European Union as a whole.

Sophomore health sciences student Brandon Dietrich said it was equally frustrating and confusing that the United States continues to mourn the tragedies of gun violence without any meaningful change.

Right now, it seems lawmakers are more concerned about citizens owning assault rifles than children having a safe environment in which to learn, according to Dietrich.

After a single mass shooting in 2019 that left 51 people dead, New Zealand has given its citizens six months to sell their guns to the government, according to a May statement. article of time.

Over the past month between two attacks – Robb Elementary and a supermarket in Buffalo, New York – 31 people were killed by gun violence and no federal initiatives followed. Both assaults were carried out by 18-year-olds using an AR-15 assault rifle.

“It’s so crazy to me that we could go years, years, years, and still have the exact same problem,” Dietrich said. “We see this huge problem that is mostly just America, and America can’t fix it. It is the fact that we are obliged to go to school and receive an education, but we are not assured of safety there.

Even with students organizing advocacy groups such as March for Our Lives to help prevent their peers from experiencing similar trauma, Dietrich said he was pessimistic about impactful legislation materializing. According to Dietrich, the recent spate of mass shootings demonstrated that demographics and casualty numbers are not compelling enough factors for lawmakers to consider when drafting gun safety laws.

“After four years of [Stoneman Douglas] and even though it’s more people and a younger population, I really don’t know if there will be any change. Of course, I hope and I really, really, really want there to be change,” he said.

“When something happens in a state, they decide to change a little thing and hope for the best rather than changing it in the country.”

After the May 24 shooting, Romano said her best friend, herself and others who were also in the building with her four years ago avoided reading any new information about it as much as possible. . However, with the news being shared on social media platforms, it has become difficult to avoid it.

“It’s kind of what a lot of us try to do to save our psyches, to stay off the news as much as possible,” she said. “But sometimes I feel like I have to make a statement and with this one, I felt like I had to make a statement.

“I posted a post on my Instagram story talking about how hard it is to heal after these kinds of things happen. With my life after Douglas I have tried to focus on mental health advocacy…I want to spread the word and let people know how hard it is to live with this type of trauma and how much it is difficult to cure. .”

As more mass shootings occur, victims are faced with reliving history and their trauma, according to second student Sebastian Osorio Vargas.

“I think all of us who were there [at Stoneman Douglas] that day I just want to move on,” Osorio Vargas said. “We’re part of a club we didn’t choose to be part of and reminding ourselves of that every time there’s a mass shooting takes it all back.”

When Dietrich heard the news from Robb Elementary, he also anxiously watched the numbers, hoping the deaths wouldn’t match or exceed Stoneman Douglas.

“It just broke my heart,” he said. “These are children who are in the fourth year. Ten-year-old children. And I thought we were young. I was a freshman, I was 14 years old. My friends were 15 and I thought it was young.

As survivors and having gone through the same thing as the victims of Robb Elementary but at an older age, Romano said she and her friends felt they needed to be advocates for these children.

“They can’t even really understand what’s going on. And I’m sure so many of their teachers and parents don’t really tell them what happened to spare them,” she said. “A lot of us think we have to stand up for these kids. They’re even younger than us.

“I think what hurts the most is knowing that these kids will live with this for the rest of their lives. It is something that will affect them for decades to come. It still impacts me, and I’m far from it.

About Betty Nelson

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