It’s been difficult for me to feel anything but anger. Even moreso, it’s been difficult for me to process what happened to my hometown.
Coral Springs, Fla. is a quiet Fort Lauderdale suburb that borders Parkland, a large portion of which is zoned to attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And on Valentine’s Day, what began with a text from my mom saying there might be a gun at the high school five minutes away from my house ended up becoming the worst high school mass shooting in American history.
It’s an almost absurd feeling, watching the place I grew up in descend into inconceivable tragedy from 800 miles away. How are the hallways I’ve walked through for French horn solos and brain brawl competitions drenched in blood right now? How has the school I spent four years rooting against in football games undergone a tragedy this immense? And how are there 17 people from Parkland and Coral Springs that just ... aren’t here anymore?
Just last year, a former student arrived in my high school cafeteria with a loaded gun. The same day, our administrators found a 10-page “Terror Day” manifesto from another student. Our school was on lockdown, the police arrested both of them and foolishly, I thought that was it. I thought that Coral Springs High had taken the brunt of it, and this idyllic region of Broward County, Fla. would continue to be safe.
How wrong I was.