Members of Congress Visit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to Assess Impact of 2018 Massacre

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Members of Congress, representing both Democratic and Republican parties, are set to visit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Friday. The visit, organized by Florida Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, aims to allow lawmakers to witness firsthand the devastating impact of the 2018 shooting on the school and community.

The high school, where 14 students and three staff members lost their lives in the tragic incident, has been sealed off from public access since the Valentine’s Day shooting. The building, which remains a critical piece of evidence from shooter Nikolas Cruz’s trial, has been left virtually untouched since the attack. Broken glass, wilted roses, deflated balloons, and scattered gifts serve as eerie reminders of the massacre that unfolded within its walls.

During the emotionally charged visit, the nine congressional representatives, along with prosecutors and families of the victims, will make their way through the blood-stained and bullet-riddled halls of the three-story building. For many of them, this will be their first time experiencing the aftermath of such a horrific event up close. The hope is that witnessing the devastation will leave a profound impact on these lawmakers, who are part of the House School Safety and Security Caucus.

Congressman Moskowitz, himself a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, believes that walking through the building will provide a much-needed perspective on the anguish and trauma endured by the affected families and the community at large. The objective behind the tour is to foster discussions about school safety and security issues, with the ultimate aim of preventing similar tragedies in the future.

Once the congressional delegation departs, ballistics experts will carry out a reenactment of the shooting, firing up to 139 shots using the same AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle used by the shooter. The live ammunition will be safely captured, and technicians outside the building will record the sound of the gunfire to recreate what Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson heard during the attack. This reenactment forms part of a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families and the wounded, who accuse Peterson of failing to protect them.

Peterson, who worked for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, was acquitted earlier this year in a criminal trial on charges of felony child neglect and other offenses related to his actions during the shooting. However, a civil lawsuit against him is still pending, alleging that he retreated out of cowardice instead of confronting the shooter, thereby violating his duty to protect the lives of others.

While the tour and reenactment will certainly be emotionally intense, Congressman Moskowitz recognizes that concrete policy actions will take time and careful consideration. The ultimate goal is to prevent any more families from experiencing the profound grief and loss that have unfortunately become all too common in mass shooting incidents.

Following the visit, the Broward school district has announced plans to demolish the building, symbolically dismantling the physical site that holds painful memories for so many. This step underscores the community’s commitment to healing and moving forward from the tragedy.

In conclusion, as members of Congress embark on this extraordinary tour, the nation waits to see if their firsthand encounter with the horrors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting will spur meaningful action to enhance school safety and prevent future acts of gun violence.

Ryan Scott
Author: Ryan Scott

Just a guy

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