The Shooting in Parkland

On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area. Seventeen people were killed and fifteen more were taken to hospitals. The suspected perpetrator was arrested shortly afterward and confessed to the shooting, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. The suspected shooter was identified as a 19-year-old male former student at the school and was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, The term premeditated murder is used to describe a murder that was planned in advance and was carried out willfully.

The perpetrator posted social media messages in which he stated his aspiration to become a “professional school shooter” with his AR-15 style rifle. A month prior to the shooting, the FBI received a tip that the perpetrator had made a death threat, but due to an error, its Miami field office was never notified of this information. Police and prosecutors have not yet established a motive for the rampage and are looking into “a pattern of disciplinary issues and unnerving behavior

The shooting took place during the afternoon just before the end of the school day. The suspected shooter ordered an Uber and was dropped off at the school. At, near dismissal time, staff and students heard gunfire and instituted a school lockdown. The perpetrator activated a fire alarm and began shooting indiscriminately at students and staff. The shooting rampage lasted six minutes, after which he discarded his weapon and left the scene by blending in with fleeing students. He walked to a nearby Walmart, where he purchased a soda at its Subway restaurant. He then walked to a McDonald’s and lingered before leaving on foot. He was arrested without incident in nearby Coral Springs. School surveillance cameras confirmed the murderer.

Fourteen students and three staff members were killed and many others injured, including at least 15. Of those killed, twelve died in the school, two just outside the school buildings, one on the street, and two at the hospital. The dead were identified as:

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
Scott Beigel, 35
Martin Duque, 14
Nicholas Dworet, 17
Aaron Feis, 37
Jaime Guttenberg, 14
Chris Hixon, 49
Luke Hoyer, 15
Cara Loughran, 14
Gina Montalto, 14
Joaquin Oliver, 17
Alaina Petty, 14
Meadow Pollack, 18
Helena Ramsay, 17
Alex Schachter, 14
Carmen Schentrup, 16
Peter Wang, 15

At his arraignment, The perpetrator was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. If convicted of capital murder by a jury, he could face the death penalty. According to an affidavit by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, he confessed to the shooting. He purchased the rifle legally from a Coral Springs gun store in February 2017.

Political reactions

President Trump tweeted that the FBI failed to detect the shooter because they are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

The BBC News characterized Republican politicians’ reactions as focusing on mental health issues while dodging debate on gun control with the reasons that it was either “too political or too soon”. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said that this was the time to “step back and count our blessings” instead of “taking sides and fighting each other politically”. Florida Senator Marco Rubio said that “most” proposals on stricter gun laws “would not have prevented” this shooting nor “any of those [shootings] in recent history” and that lawmakers should “focus on the violence part” alongside guns.

Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida GOP political donor and Rubio supporter, publicized an email sent to Florida GOP politicians after the shooting, including governor Rick Scott and former governor Jeb Bush, pledging to no longer fund legislative groups or candidates who were not actively working to ban sales of military-style assault weapons to civilians. “For how many years now have we been doing this – having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings – and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” Hoffman said. “It’s the end of the road for me.”

The New York Times reported that Al Hoffman Jr., demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians. Mr. Hoffman , a Florida-based real estate developer who was a leading fund-raiser for George W. Bush’s campaigns, said he would seek to marshal support among other Republican political donors for a renewed assault weapons ban.

“For how many years now have we been doing this — having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings — and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” Mr. Hoffman said in an interview. “It’s the end of the road for me.”

Mr. Hoffman announced his ultimatum in an email to half a dozen Republican leaders, including Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida. He wrote in the email that he would not give money to Mr. Scott, who is considering a campaign for the Senate in 2018, or other Florida Republicans he has backed in the past, including Representative Brian Mast, if they did not support new gun legislation.

“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” he wrote. “Enough is enough!”

Alluding to past mass killings, Mr. Hoffman argued in his email that future gun massacres were inevitable without government intervention: “If we go from Orlando to Las Vegas, and now Parkland, you just have to know that there are others around the country just dreaming about staging another mass murder.”

Republican elected officials in Washington and Florida have shown no significant interest in considering new gun restrictions after the Florida school shooting. The party, which has full control of both the state and federal government, has traditionally opposed virtually all new limitations on firearms. Mr. Scott has resisted pressure to back new gun regulations after the killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County on Wednesday, though he said “everything’s on the table” in a television interview.

And Senator Marco Rubio of Florida voiced resistance to discussing gun control in a speech after the massacre, arguing in the Senate that a person determined to carry out an attack would find the weaponry to do it regardless of government regulations. His comments provoked outrage among some students who survived the shooting.

previous federal assault weapons ban, enacted in 1994 under a Democratic president and Congress, lapsed in 2004 while Republicans had full control of Washington.

Mr. Hoffman acknowledged it was “not likely” that he would succeed in making the party more open to an assault weapons ban, and said Republicans were too beholden to the National Rifle Association. He has urged Republicans in the past to support certain firearms restrictions, without effect, but has not previously issued such a blunt threat.

One of the recipients of Mr. Hoffman’s Saturday message, Mel Sembler, another former ambassador and ally of the Bush family, suggested he did not intend to join the proposed donation boycott. “I don’t plan on getting into this debate,” Mr. Sembler, who also lives in Florida, said in a brief email. Melvin Sembler is former United States Ambassador to Italy, Australia and Nauru. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of the Sembler Company, which develops and manages shopping centers, and co-founder of Straight, Inc., a controversial drug-treatment center. Sembler is the chairman of the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust, and was a co-chair of the Florida Finance Committee for Mitt Romney.

Peter S. Rummell, a Jacksonville-based donor who gave $125,000 to Jeb Bush’s “super PAC” in 2016, said he was on board with Mr. Hoffman’s plan and would only contribute to candidates supportive of banning assault weapons. He said the Parkland shooting was a turning point: “It has to start somewhere,” Mr. Rummell said, of controlling guns.

Will Congress step in – some facts

Feb, 18 – In a monologue from Sunday NBC’s Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd stated, Congress used to act after episodes of gun violence, but they don’t anymore. What’s changed?

Often, the question after tragedies like the mass shooting in Parkland is, “Will Congress step in?” And the answer in recent years, of course, has been “no”. But it wasn’t always like this. Three of the 11 biggest mass shootings in American history have actually taken place in just the last five months. Just contemplate that for a minute.

And there was a time when incidents or crime trends would actually lead to major legislative action from Washington. For instance, in 1934, as a response to the rise of organized crime and gangster culture, Congress passed what was known as the National Firearms Act. And it heavily taxed machine guns, among other things.

In 1968, after a decade that saw the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Junior and Bobby Kennedy, Congress passed the Gun Control Act, which, in part, grew the list of those people who could not purchase guns, to most convicted felons and mentally ill people. In 1986, with the rise of gang and drug violence on city streets, we had The Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act, which outlawed armor-piercing bullets.

And in 1993 and 1994, after a decade that included the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan and an outburst of workplace shootings, which gave us the unfortunate expression of “Going postal,” we passed The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which implemented a waiting period for handguns and a national instant background check. And it also temporarily, at the time, banned assault weapons.

Now, these laws were not perfect, and they didn’t solve gun violence in America. The point is that they were attempts by Washington to try to do something in the wake of tragic events or dangerous trends.

So what about now? Well, since 1995, there have been 96 mass shootings in the United States according to a tally from The Washington Post. That includes seven of the 11 deadliest. But get this, even if there were no more mass shootings for the rest of this decade, we would still have had more mass shooting incidents and more deaths connected to mass shootings than in the decade before.

So if you’re wondering when Congress will act, it may very well not be until politicians start losing elections for their lack of support for gun control.

FBI mishandling of information

On January 5, 2018, the FBI’s Public Access Line received a tip from a person who was close to the perpetrator. On February 16 (two days after the shooting), the agency released a statement that detailed this information. According to the statement, “The caller provided information about the perpetrator’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.” After conducting an investigation, the FBI admitted to mishandling the information. They learned it was not forwarded to the Miami Field Office where investigative steps would have been taken.

FBI Statement on the Shooting

On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) tipline to report concerns about him. The caller provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.

Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.

We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said:

“We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. It’s up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly.

“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy. All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe, and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area. It is a part of the Broward County Public School district, and it is the only public high school in Parkland. On February 14, 2018, it was the site of a school shooting which killed 17 people


Source: Prominent Republican Donor Issues Ultimatum on Assault Weapons – The New York Times (, Mel Sembler – Wikipedia (, FBI Statement – FBI., Stoneman Douglas High School shooting – Wikipedi., Images: Twitter, NY Daily News, Google Images