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Parkland activists respond to Santa Fe school shooting: “you didn’t deserve this”

They offered support to the students in Texas, and called out lawmakers’ failure to act.

Emma Gonzalez
Emma Gonzalez
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

A least 10 people were killed and another 10 injured in a shooting on the campus of Santa Fe High School in Texas. It was the deadliest school shooting since the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when 17 people were murdered.

The tragedy in Santa Fe is still raw, and the police are still piecing together what happened in the hallways of this high school Friday morning. The 17-year-old shooter carried a shotgun and a revolver, but explosive devices were found at the school and the areas surrounding it.

But what is clear: students, and possibly teachers, are dead. It happened again.

No one understood better than the survivors of Parkland, who responded to the shooting with anger and frustration and grief.

“This is not the price of freedom,” March for Our Lives, the organization founded by Parkland students who organized nationwide protests against gun control in March, wrote in a statement. “This is the most fatal shooting since the one at our school and tragedy like this will continue to happen unless action is taken.”

Emma Gonzalez, one of the most vocal Parkland activists, wrote: “You deserve more than Thoughts and Prayers, and after supporting us by walking out we will be there to support you by raising up your voices.”

The Parkland activists reinvigorated the gun reform debate in the wake of the shooting at their high school, and they seized on this rampage at Santa Fe as another example of lawmakers’ failure to act. They also offered solidarity and support to the survivors of Santa Fe high school, who have joined this sorrowful club.

Teenagers across the country responded to movement started by the Parkland high schoolers in February. Across the country students organized school walkouts in March and another in April, or marched for gun control in their cities and towns.

Those activists also spoke out — and took action — in the wake of the Santa Fe shooting. High school students in Washington, DC. protested at the Capitol on Friday.

The group that organized the National School Walkout on April 20 called for a moment of silence at 2pm Friday in solidarity with the victims. A March for Our Lives chapter in Salt Lake City rallied at the Utah State Capitol.

A Houston chapter said it would travel to Santa Fe, which is southeast of the city, to offer support.

Parkland galvanized a new push for gun control; Santa Fe will be grimmest of tests for the movement. Texas witnessed one of the worst mass shootings in US history: 26 people were killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas in November. It led to a modest background checks bill in Congress -- Fix NICS -- which finally passed after Parkland as part of the omnibus spending bill.

There seemed to a be a slight shift in tone among lawmakers after this latest mass shooting. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) said Friday that “we need to do more than just to pray for the victims and their families.” He said he would convene roundtable discussions with stakeholders, and mentioned the need to speed up background checks and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. (That was countered by statement from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who seemed to suggest school entryways were the problem.)

How the Santa Fe community and the rest of the state react to the shooting will likely determine if, and how, lawmakers respond, both in Texas and on the federal level. Santa Fe High School held a walkout on April 20, on the 19th anniversary of Columbine to call for gun control. In a pictures on social media, students hold up a sign that reads: “Santa Fe High School says #NeverAgain.”

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