The New York Times by Patricia Mazzei
February 13, 2019
PARKLAND, Fla. — The name “Parkland” has become a shorthand for the tragedy that many hoped would mark the beginning of the end of school massacres.
But ask the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in more quiet moments about the awful year since last Feb. 14, and they tell you a different, more personal story. About innocence lost. Dreams undone. Grief delayed.
There’s the boy who took five bullets to protect his classmates. A hero, the headlines proclaimed. He wanted to be a professional soccer player. “Now I don’t do anything,” he said.
There’s the young woman who tells people about her best friend, because if she calls him her boyfriend, it doesn’t seem sufficient to convey what they were. Soul mate: That’s what he’d told her she was to him. Told her before he died.
And there are the famous faces, the students everyone thinks they know, who on a recent morning stood at a nearby elementary school where a local charity quietly unveiled a mural, the last of 17 community service projects created to honor each of the victims. David Hogg, the one who went on CNN and dared adults to act like one, lay on a basketball court and painted in a hibiscus flower. Emma González, the one who “called B.S.” on politicians who weren’t serious about gun control, crouched barefoot before the wall, cut out a paper stencil and sang along to the Beatles’ song, “Here Comes The Sun.”
To think of them, and of this upscale suburban high school, as mere symbols of tragedy ignores the complicated tapestry of sadness, fear and defiance that is now forever part of it — and will be long after the last of these students graduate.