COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — On Wednesday afternoon in Parkland, Florida, an alleged gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School just before dismissal. The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, shot several people both inside and outside of the school. Seventeen people died as a result of the rampage.
Cruz was armed with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle, the type of assault weapon that has been used in other recent mass shootings in the country.
On Thursday, authorities charged Cruz with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Update from BSO on school shooting. https://t.co/BKSPC643qy
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) February 15, 2018
On Twitter, users reacted to the shooting and called for change using the #GunReformNow and #ParklandSchoolShooting hashtags. Many of the tweets reflected on past tragedies, especially the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
U.S. Senator, Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), addressed the Senate floor as news of the shooting unfolded.
Lots of people lamenting “nothing will change” today.
That’s what people said before the Montgomery boycott.
That’s what people said before Stonewall.
Change happens, if at the moment when it seems most unlikely, you decide to do more.#Parkland
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 15, 2018
Maryland politicians expressed their condolences and pressed for reform.
Horrified. My heart is with Florida tonight. It’s an outrage that gun violence has reached our children yet again, in a place where they should feel safest: their school. I’m praying for the victims and their families, though I know our prayers will not be enough.
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) February 14, 2018
Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking news coming out of Florida. The First Lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and all law enforcement working to save lives.
— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) February 14, 2018
We must do everything in our power to stop this horror. How many more shootings will it take for Congress to stop talking and take action? Lack of action is complicity. https://t.co/I4FB77MT9I
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) February 14, 2018
Awful and senseless killing — thoughts and condolences to all of the families tragically hit by the school shooting in Florida. Congress, do something.
— Martin O’Malley (@MartinOMalley) February 15, 2018
Twitter users stood with politicians, pleading for change.
I haven’t felt like this since #SandyHook and that was horrific. I think of those babies often. And I still cry. And now it’s teens. I have a 15 year old niece. In high school. This is just all wrong. Kids aren’t supposed to die violently. #GunControlNow
— Sophia A. Nelson (@IAmSophiaNelson) February 15, 2018
Offering thoughts and prayers isn’t the same as offering legislation. Seek solutions. #ParklandSchoolShooting
— Russ Breckenridge (@russellbreck) February 15, 2018
Time and time and time again. It isn’t surprising when an alleged gunmen in a mass shooting has a history of abuse and violence against women. We’ve seen this so many times before, and until something changes, it will keep happening. #DV #ParklandSchoolShooting https://t.co/fAiu9GJwZz
— YWCA USA (@YWCAUSA) February 15, 2018
Our country was founded on the principle of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” in that order. People who feel that gun legislation will block their pursuit of happiness or infringe upon their liberties have missed the point. Life must come first. #GunReformNow
— emma (@emmaemcmahon) February 15, 2018
Many Twitter users drew comparisons to past tragedies.
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook – now #Parkland. The list goes on, as does Congress’s cowardly complicity. When will my colleagues put children’s lives ahead of the gun lobby’s bottom line?
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) February 15, 2018
We need #GunReformNow.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 15, 2018
Rep. Jim Himes, whose home state endured Sandy Hook, says there will be a “perfectly predictable” response to Florida’s shooting: “People will wish everybody thoughts and prayers … and then the Congress of the United States will do absolutely nothing.” https://t.co/cWWCKtRxRo pic.twitter.com/Z9dO7umMxl
— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018
Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.
After the Sandy Hook shooting, I signed the SAFE Act into law — which banned assault rifles, including AR-15s.
Weapons of war do not belong on our streets.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 15, 2018
President Donald Trump tweeted to express his condolences. He also addressed the nation from the White House Thursday.
In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community, and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil – and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need. https://t.co/bu140nscez pic.twitter.com/OoTXMCSexB
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018