The University News Editorial Board: One year after Parkland


Valentine’s Day is a day of love and cheesy Hallmark cards, but this year it is also an anniversary of violence. Our world is plagued with acts of violence that polarize communities and steal hope from an increasingly scared population, but over the last few years it seems like mass shootings have become a social norm.

Mass shootings aren’t new. Parkland wasn’t the first, and it certainly wasn’t the last. However, that terrifying attack on Feb. 14, 2018 felt different, or at least what came next did.

There was, of course, mourning, tears and fear. But there was also dialogue. People, teenagers, were talking about what happened inside the school that day. More than that, they were urging for change.

They picked up a fight that was long in the making, and they brought it to the national stage with their campaign Road to Change—some victims even went on to found the March for Our Lives movement. We didn’t just get the endless newscasts talking about the shooter, instead we saw students—who were mourning the loss of classmates and friends—challenge politicians to make reforms that would prevent this tragedy from happening again.

This uprising of hope couldn’t have happened after Columbine back in 1999, but in the last few years we have seen a new side to mass shootings. After the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016 and the Vegas concert shooting in 2017, we saw people turn to social media as a platform for support and reform. In many ways we were building up to that point last year when high schoolers—who have been exposed to social media for practically their entire lives—took tragedy and turned it into hope.

So, here we are, one year after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tasked with a question: What’s changed? Have we, as a country, learned from our mistakes, or do we remain blinded by our own perspectives and experiences? And most of all—as students who spend the majority of their time in school buildings—are we safe?

Riley Tovornik, Co-Photo Editor:

“I remember when I was a kid school shootings were a rarity, something I couldn’t even imagine. Now school shootings don’t faze me, and I know that isn’t how I should feel.”

Celine Reinoso, Copy Editor:

“Legislators enacted over 50 new laws that restrict access to guns, all because of the power behind activism and the youth-led movement. Over the past year, the Parkland students proved Whitney Houston right her belief that ‘children are our future.’”


Madisyn Siebert, Associate Arts Editor:

“I have now been instilled to instinctively look for the closest exit in whatever space I am, whether that is a classroom, concert, shop, etc. I need to know where they are so if something goes wrong I know immediately where to exit. This ‘instinct’ should not be something that all people need to develop.”  

Chandana Kamaraj, Arts Editor:

“Life is already difficult in itself, internally, and external forces that add another layer of negative emotion creates a lifestyle that is increasingly unbearable- and it doesn’t really get easier. The fact that children who are younger than I are facing these external forces is incredibly sad and should not exist.”

Erin McClelland, Sports Editor:

“All I could think about when the shooting happened were my younger sisters. I couldn’t get over the feeling of helplessness in knowing that in the worst of situations there was nothing I could do to protect two of the people I love the most in the world, and the fact that it is something that has had to pass through my mind is devastating. Siblings shouldn’t have to fear for their brothers and sisters just because they attend school.”

Kendra Ruether, Copy Editor:

“When I look back at the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, the thing that sticks with me the most is the hope I felt and continue to feel for our generation and for future generations. If a group of teenagers, in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, can advocate so strongly and eloquently for change (better than most experienced adults do), I think all people eager for change can and should take note and do the same.”

Riley Mack, News Editor:

“After I learned of the Parkland shooting one year ago, I was shocked and upset about what those teenagers had to deal with—I simply couldn’t imagine going through that. But those teenagers changed the way I think about mass shootings. Those teenagers couldn’t imagine it happening to them either, until it did. Now, I think about the possibility of it happening everywhere that I go, and that’s an incredibly unfortunate reality of living in America. On top of the internal and external battles that teenagers face, they have to worry for their lives. I hope that one day we will no longer have to live in fear.”

Meredyth Staunch, Editor-In-Chief:

“There is a large amount of emphasis placed on the shooter and the devastation this individual has caused—which came to my attention after I interviewed co-founder of March for Our Lives Cameron Kasky. The media often expresses the destruction without a call to action, and Kasky wanted to change the narrative. In elementary and middle school, lockdown drills were a rarity for me. Now, they have become a norm. We think that we could not possibly fall victim to school shootings, but the reality is that they have escalated. Something needs to change.”

Sophie Perry, Online Design Editor:

“Growing up in the era of a sudden increase in mass shootings all around the country, I became accustomed to the hard lock down drills and announcements on the news, broadcasting that another school was under attack. This normalcy is something that I soon came to realize is not normal. Mass shootings should not be just another headline, paired with ‘Best Valentine’s Gifts of 2018.’”

Monica Ryan, Managing Editor:

“My mother is a preschool teacher and just as victims of the Sandy Hook shooting lost their lives, when the Parkland shooting happened one year ago, I thought about a situation where my mother might have to lose her life in order to protect her students. People always worry about issues when it affects them directly. So many shootings have happened over recent years. It is hard to imagine a person that these shootings would not affect.”

Tannock Blair, Associate News Editor:

“It all just seems so hopeless. Gun violence has become so ingrained within the culture of this country that even with political intervention it just doesn’t seem as though there’s anything that can make it stop. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”

Ryan Lefner, Associate News Editor:

“I remember the day that it happened and how surreal it felt that another mass shooting had just taken place. Living on campus, I thought about how all of my neighbors, friends and fellow students would be affected, and how so many lives would be changed forever if an event like that happened at SLU.”

Becky LiVigni, Design Editor:

“After Parkland happened last year, I interviewed a SLU psychology professor who specializes in the cognitive effects of trauma. Today, I can’t help but think of the troubles these kids are still coping with everyday. These victims and all those that have come before and after deserve our sympathy, our action, and our advocacy.”

Emma Carmody, Co-Photo Editor:

“After the Parkland shooting, there was the most hope that I think our country has had for a long time for gun reform. With the March for Our Lives and all of the attention that the Parkland students got from the media, I think a lot of Americans hoped that this would make a significant difference in gun violence and law in our country. However, here we are a year later and there are still several mass shootings in schools across the country and our politicians haven’t come to fix anything either.”

Ashlee Kothenbeutel, Illustrator:

“I never felt unsafe at my school, but looking back, there was a definite lack of security when I was in high school. You could easily slip in a back door without being noticed. Due to the shootings and the fact that I lived close to Baltimore, the school locked all the doors, hired a full time security guard, and added various high tech cameras throughout the school.”