PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - What’s unfolding in Texas is bringing back painful memories for those who lived through the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
For the families of the victims, the mass shooting that happened in Parkland back in 2018 feels just like it happened today. A total of 17 people died on Feb. 14. Several others were injured, and the shooter, a former student, pleaded guilty in 2021.
“Families of the victims said changes have to happen and they should have happened,” said Stoneman Douglass High School survivor and gun control activist David Hogg.
Other survivors are calling for President Biden to take executive action to stop gun violence.
“Gun control organizers, people who believe in gun safety, common sense gun safety laws around the country, we’re waiting to hear the word ‘executive order,’ and instead we heard the words, essentially, ‘thoughts and prayers,'” said Cameron Kasky.
“Once the shots start going off, it’s too late for somebody, and we need to start preventing that,” said Tony Montalto.
Montalto, the president of Stand With Parkland, lost his daughter Gina Montalto in the Parkland shooting.
“It’s very painful whenever we see a school shooting, because the loss of even one student at school, it is a tremendously painful to the parents of that child and to the entire community,” said Montalto. “Sadly, those of us who founded Stand With Parkland, The National Association of Families For Safe Schools, understand that pain and feel it all too closely.”
He knows the unbearable pain families are going through right now in Texas, after a shooter killed at least 18 students and one teacher at an elementary school.
“Our hearts go out to you,” said Montalto. “We know the pain you’re feeling. It’s going to take a long time to even breathe.”
He, as well as the families of other victims in Parkland, are pushing for Congress to act, including passing a bill that would fund the U.S. Secret Service national threat assessment center in order…
“… to do more research on school attacks, to provide more training to communities so that they can help prevent these attacks,” said Montalto.
Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver, who was also killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, tweeted some strong words after learning about the elementary school shooting in Texas saying: “Senate, house of congress, white house, president, vice president, governors, lobbyists, corporations, and civilians that keep ignoring our voices, [expletive] YOU a thousand times. Yes! [Expletive] YOU! You just killed 14 kids!”
“We have to stand up. We have to do something big,” said Patricia Oliver, the mother of Joaquin Oliver.
“Shock, horror, anger, at the fact that these shootings are preventable, but they’re also predictable,” said Fred Guttenberg, father of Jaime Guttenberg. “Angered at the fact that, as I speak to you tonight, I know we’re gonna have this happen again, because we haven’t done anything.”
“Losing a child is the worst thing that a parent can ever go through in their life,” said Max Schachter.
Schachter continues to stress schools need to be safer. He fights for all victims including his son Alex.
He said, since the Parkland shooting, Florida schools have enacted changes making schools much safer than before, but at a federal level, changes have to happen.
“We know that if we implement the lessons that we learned after Parkland, we know that we can prevent acts of targeted violence,” said Schachter. “For this to change, people have to prioritize the safety and security of their kids.”
District officials in Broward County want to remind parents and students that they have mental health professionals available at their schools if someone needs to talk.
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