A 15-year-old survivor of the Florida school shooting is the latest to call for tighter gun control laws, penning an essay for the New York Times urging voters to take action before the next mass killing.
Christine Yared recalled her confusion and terror during the opening moments of the shooting, which left 17 Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School students and faculty dead.
“It began when a fire alarm went off just before school was supposed to end,” Yared said.
People in my finance class had already left, and I grabbed my backpack to evacuate. The next thing I knew I heard people running and shouting, and my teacher yelling at us to get back in the class.
I sprinted to her closet and crammed myself against shelves filled with papers and binders. The rest of the closet filled up with the other students. We thought it was an active shooter drill. It wasn’t.
Yared described silently receiving updates from the outside world via Snapchat before her eventual rescue by a SWAT team. Then came the horrific assessment of the situation: her friend Gina Montalto was killed in the shooting.
“I had just talked to her that morning in art class,” Yered said. “We laughed together, we sang together, we smiled together. We will never do that again. How could someone be this despicable? When I think about it, I start bawling.”
The student recalled that her family left “war-torn” Lebanon for a safer life in the West, and that “we thought that [Parkland, Florida] was a safe place to live. But that isn’t true anymore.
“The promise of safety and security failed us.”
What followed was a plea heard in news reports and rallies held since the shooting – a plea for those with the power to do something about gun control to actually do something, other than offering thoughts and prayers.
“Don’t let any more children suffer like we have,” Yared said. “Don’t continue this cycle.”
Yared is one of far, far too many kids who’ve been forced to become their own advocates on the issue of gun control, and her comments echo a sentiment expressed by other similarly sharp students over the weekend.
You can read her full essay HERE.