Social Media Attack on Students who Survived Parkland Shooting
On February 14, 2018, a disaster happened in Parkland, Florida. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School became a place of shooting which took lives of seventeen people – fourteen students and three staff members. Seventeen other people were injured and taken to hospital with different types of wounds categorized as non-fatal injuries.
The shooter turned out to be a former student Nikolas Cruz who was expelled from this school earlier. It is reported that he had serious behavioral issues and at some point was transferred to the school with emotional and learning disabilities. At the time of the assault, he was armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and he also possessed multiple magazines. Upon entering the school, Cruz activated fire alarm and began shooting at students and teachers who were trying to leave the building.
Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is classified as one of the deadliest school massacres which happened in the United States. After the event, the political debate about making gun control laws tougher started. Students who survived the horrifying assault became the activists who demand the government to change gun control laws and make them stricter. Students even pleaded for banning of high-powered assault rifles.
The kids who were activists and who insisted on changing gun laws were blamed by some political representatives in trying to stage “false flag” events.
Reportedly, Benjamin Kelly, who was an aide to Florida Rep. Shawn Harrison, a Republican from Hillsborough County, sent a state email with a photo of two students to the reporter. At the moment, the journalist dealt with this case and the message stated that both students pictured on the photo are in fact actors who are hired by those who are backing up strict gun laws.
Shawn Harrison claimed that he does not share his point of view with the opinion of his aid and sometime later Benjamin Kelly informed on his Twitter account that he was fired. Kelly apologized and confessed that it was not his responsibility and that he made a mistake with no intent of disrespecting students or parents of Parkland.
However, the political debate started and, as a result, students who survived the tragedy and became activists, in this case, ended up under the fire once again, this time from politicians and social media.
Personal safety and gun usage is a sensitive issue for many in the United States. Some people claim that current law is acceptable while some individuals, in particular, those who survived shooting assault, are very much against it.
Former Fox News presenter Bill O’Reilly expressed his point of view on his Twitter account: “The big question is: should the media be promoting opinions by teenagers who are in an emotional state and facing extreme peer pressure in some cases?”
Nevertheless, the activists are determined to have their message heard. The student Diego Pfeiffer, an 18-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas who survived the attack, said, “There are people who are going to be putting us down. It doesn’t matter. Everything we’re doing, it can’t be stopped. We are children and we have a message. They are bashing survivors of a school shooting. You can go ahead, but our message is going to be heard loud and clear.”