Survivor of the Florida shooting explains why she doesn't want Trump's condolences

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Kayleigh Dray
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A student survivor of the Florida shooting has slammed Donald Trump on Twitter, outlining why she absolutely does not want the president’s condolences.

On Wednesday afternoon (14 Feb), at least 17 people were killed when a teen gunman – formally identified as Nikolas Cruz – allegedly opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

According to CNN, investigators believe the shooter triggered the fire alarm to get people to come out of their classrooms, and when it went off, many people thought it was a false alarm since they’d had a fire drill earlier in the day.

He then opened fire upon the crowds: as well as those killed in the massacre, another 14 were wounded, five of whom have suffered life-threatening injuries.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, issued a statement on Twitter following the attack:

“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting,” he wrote.

“No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”

His comments have sparked ire online, with many insisting that they’re sick and tired of the president’s “empty sentiments”.

Now, Sarah – a student who survived the massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – has tweeted that she does not want Trump’s condolences.

“I don’t want your condolences, you f**king piece of s**t,” she wrote. “My friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead.

“Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But gun control will prevent it from happening again.”

Countless others have echoed Sarah’s message – including Kim Kardashian.

Taking to Twitter, the reality star publicly begged Congress to impose legislation that will “protect Americans from senseless gun violence”.

Kardashian added that it would take action to incite gun control, not just prayers. 

Ellen DeGeneres has, similarly, called for change.

“No words, no actions, no laws are enough until we end this epidemic of school shootings in our country,” she wrote on Twitter.

As the debate around gun control continues, non-profit Gun Violence Archive has confirmed that the Florida shooting is one of at least 273 school shootings that have taken place in the USA since 2014.

Elsewhere, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (a gun control advocacy organisation) reports that there have already been 17 school shootings this year alone prior to the shooting in Florida

That number includes eight instances in which a gun was fired but there were no injuries, and two instances of attempted or completed suicide.

As far as gun laws go, Florida has some of the most lenient in the United States.

According to the Giffords Law Centre to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s Institute for Legislative Action, this is the basic state of gun laws:

  • You don’t need a permit or license to buy a gun, nor do you have to register a firearm
  • You don’t need a permit to conceal carry a rifle or shotgun, although you do need it to conceal carry a handgun.
  • Assault weapons are not banned, although a bill proposing such a ban was introduced to the state senate last year (polling in late October suggests that a narrow majority of Floridians opposed the ban).
  • The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must issue a concealed weapons license to an applicant as long as the person meets a certain set of requirements, including being a US citizen, being the age of 21 or older, not having a felony conviction and demonstrates competence with a firearm.
  • Gun sellers don’t have to get a state license to sell firearms.
  • The state does require a three-day waiting period before you can buy a gun.

Florida also has the “stand your ground” law, which the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action describes as a person having no “duty to retreat” if they’re attacked in a place where they have a legal right to be.

“Instead, you may stand your ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others,” the institute says.

It is perhaps unsurprising to learn, then, that Florida has 12 gun deaths per 100,000, the 25th-highest rate in the nation, according to GLC.

It remains unclear if Trump will publicly address the country on the Florida shooting, but he has suggested that there were “so many signs” that Cruz was “mentally disturbed.”

This statement is further bolstered by those of school officials, who reportedly identified Cruz as a potential threat who had demonstrated a fixation on guns.

It is worth noting, then, that, almost exactly a year ago today, Trump signed a law which revoked an Obama-era gun regulation that made it more difficult for those with mental illnesses to acquire guns.

At the time, the NRA “applauded” Trump’s action: in fact, Chris Cox, NRA-ILA executive director, said the move “marks a new era for law-abiding gun owners, as we now have a president who respects and supports our arms.”

Media was not allowed to attend the bill signing event.

Images: Rex Features