5 months ago, I sat here writing an article on the horrific shooting at the Route 91 Festival. As I wrote it, I remember praying that I wouldn't have to touch on the subject again, hoping that there would come an end to gun violence and that the US would finally put their foot down against those who have murdered thousands of innocent people with the use of a gun.
I had hoped. Yet here we are, 5 months later, with 17 more victims of one of the most historic shootings of all time; this one targetting innocent children and high schoolers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Thoughts and prayers were said. We heard the stories, and we all mourned for the innocent lives lost.
Something again just broke my heart. The thought that all this pain and suffering once again would not bring about change has me flabbergasted. So here I am writing another article. My heart is breaking, but this time, I refuse to leave those innocent souls lost in the back of my head.
As the survivors of the horrific event lead the expedition in ending gun violence, I have never been more proud of my generation. These heroes-- both those who died and those who live to tell the story-- have drastically changed gun culture already in America.
I know we need gun control, better regulations, better everything. I'm ashamed to watch our administration cling to their second amendment rights.
As we move forward, this time pushing as hard as we can for change, I wanted to write this for the victims. Those whose names and stories I refuse to forget and I refuse to let anyone not know who they were and why they deserved to live, like me and you.
With that being said, these are the 17 victims whose lives were cut much too short and must not be forgotten as we push onward.
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
Alyssa was a fourteen-year-old soccer star, who played for a traveling soccer team. She was a member of the Jewish community and attended summer camp every year at Camp Coleman. She was a star athlete, loved by her parents, and a very smart student. She was a member of the debate team, in which she found much success. Her mom’s final memory of her was dropping her off at school and saying ‘I love you’ the morning of the shooting. She had many friends and will be grieved and missed by countless.
Scott Beigel, 35
Scott Beigal was a geography teacher at Stoneman Douglas. He was a favorite teacher at the school and also was a camp counselor at Camp Starlight in Pennsylvania where he was admired and looked up to by many. Scott passed away while ushering students into his classroom for safety. The school honors Scott as the hero he is and his legacy will live on. He truly lived his life for others.
Martin Duque Anguiano, 14
Martin was a fourteen-year-old who’s older brother spoke on his behalf, saying "He was a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet. He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family. Most of all he was my baby brother,". As someone with a fifteen-year-old sister, I can’t imagine the grief of losing a sibling. To donate to his family to help cover the funeral charges, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/32z7etk.
Nicholas Dworet, 17
Nicholas, a 17-year-old senior, was killed as well. A talented swimmer, Nicholas was set to swim at the University of Indianapolis. Many who spoke of him talked about his drive and character. He was a hard-working athlete and student who had nowhere but up to go, but his life was tragically cut short.
Aaron Feis, 37
Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach, was killed on February 14 as well. Chad Lyons, a football player, spoke of how Aaron was there for him throughout his leukemia treatment and always put himself second to others. He was a kind and gentle man who truly loved coaching as well as being there for his students. He died as he shielded students from oncoming bullets. Aaron's legacy and heroism will never be forgotten.
Jaime Guttenberg, 14
Jaime, a fourteen-year-old talented dancer, was said to be a lively, popular girl who brightened every room she was in. She cared for her cousin who has special needs, always keeping him under her wing. Her father, Fred Guttenberg wrote to Facebook: “I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family gets through this. We appreciate all of the calls and messages and we apologize for not reacting to everyone individually," he added. "Hugs to all and hold your children tight."
Chris Hixon, 49
Chris was the school’s athletic director. He was loved by everyone and had a genuine care and interest in his students. He was known for giving students rides and lunch money if they were in need and never hesitated to reach out to a student in need. He was an Iraqi War veteran and the school’s wrestling coach, which was a passion of his. He will be incredibly missed by the many lives he touched.
Luke Hoyer, 15
Luke’s early passing absolutely devastated his close-knit family. He was a quiet boy who never got into trouble. He spent Christmas in South Carolina with his family where they bowled and spent time together. He was always happy, always smiling, and never failed to brighten up a room. He was an incredible young man with much promise and didn’t deserve to die at the hands of a shooter. May his family find peace knowing he’s in a better place, looking down on them and the survivors.
Cara Loughran, 14
Cara was a talented Irish dancer. She was said to have the most beautiful soul and smile. She was an excellent student and excelled in most things she did. She adored her family and had the world at the palm of her hand. Her family asks for thoughts and prayers, as well as action. To call congress and take action, dial (202) 224-3121.
Gina Montalto, 14
Gina was a beautiful girl who took part in the winter guard for the school’s marching band. She was a kind, intelligent girl who was loved and adored by many. She had an eye for fashion and was extremely artistically inclined. She will be missed by many and her legacy will live on.
Joaquin Oliver, 17
Joaquin was a student who was born in Venezuela and recently became a naturalized citizen in January 2017. He was interested in urban art, as well as basketball and the Venezuelan soccer team. Known as ‘Guac’, his friends admired him. He was loved by many and was an amazing boyfriend to his girlfriend, as his last social media post wrote to her: “I love you with all my heart”.
Alaina Petty, 14
Alaina was a born philanthropist. At only 14, she was one of many volunteers after Hurricane Irma devastated Florida last year. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, she was always serving others. She was a member of junior ROTC and had the capacity to change the world as she got older. Her presence, drive, and grace will be missed and admired.
Meadow Pollack, 18
Meadow had recently been accepted to Lynn College in Boca Raton. She was a smart girl who had many friends. She worked at her boyfriend’s family’s motorcycle repair shop and touched the lives of many with her energy and kindness.
Helena Ramsay, 17
Helena was a quiet, reserved girl loved by countless. She was incredibly smart, talented, and thoughtful. Her loved ones wrote “Helena was a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was somewhat reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I'm still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone.". Like the many others, Helena’s spirit and kindness will live on.
Alex Schachter, 14
Alex was a member of his school orchestra and marching band. A gifted baritone player, he was admired by many for his spirit as well as his musical talent. His family has set up a GoFundMe to help finance musical scholarships for musicians at Stoneman Douglas. To donate, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/55jm4g8.
Carmen Schentrup, 16
Carmen was a brilliant student who excelled in academics. She was a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholar. She was admired not just for her brain, but for her work ethic and energy. She had a bright future with much to achieve.
Peter Wang, 15
Peter was a member of junior ROTC and also excelled in all things culinary. His parents own a restaurant in West Palm Beach. He took his 16-year-old cousin under his wing when he moved to Florida, ensuring he didn’t face any bullying. His friends and loved ones spoke of his laugh and how he made the world a better place. Peter, a 15-year-old freshman, died while ushering student to safety.
For the sake of the victims of Marjory Douglas High School, as well as the many victims before, the US needs to change our approach to gun laws. Accounting for the most mass shootings in the world, the time for change in America is now. Thoughts and prayers are over, we need to take action.
Some ideas for taking action:
- Call Congress and speak to your representative about gun measures.
- On March 14, join the thousands of people calling for change. Walk out of your classroom at 10 A.M to join the movement and help the demand for change.
- Turn in your firearms. Local police stations are accepting them if citizens choose to turn them in. With this, we can reduce the number of guns in circulation. Say what you want about who will still have them, who won’t, but there is a known fact that the fewer guns in circulation, the fewer murders per capita. So turn yours in if you really want to make a change.
This needs to end and our generation can stop it. Do not forget these victims and their stories. They were loved by many and their death is absolutely devastating. Carry on their legacy by taking action. No one deserves to die the way they did, and it needs to end now.