By Tate Ornelas
On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 lives were lost due to 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a suburb of Miami. On Nov. 2, 2022, Cruz received life in prison without the possibility of parole. Cruz did not receive the death penalty due to the jury failing to reach a unanimous agreement last month.
Families of the victims gave their testimonies with Cruz in the room. Some displayed words of anger towards Cruz, and others displayed sorrow and forgiveness. Families were allowed to view footage of the victims’ final moments. Some wished to see the footage while others did not. For a lot of the families, the hearings brought back memories of the day and the days following the shooting. There were a mix of emotions in the hearings, some looking to finally put this all to rest, while for others the hearings involved holding back tears or avoiding the use of profane language.
Cruz was seen giggling and laughing with one of the victims’ mothers and it was safe to say the other victims’ families were not pleased about it. The backlash Cruz received because of this was out of this world. In defense of Cruz, Cruz’s lawyer flipped off the court room and the people in it. People were in shock because of this, and Cruz’s lawyer is being evaluated as to whether he should keep his attorney license. Following the two-day hearings, Cruz finally received his sentence almost half a decade later. To say this case can be put to rest is not correct, but the victims’ families can move onto the next step of the grieving process. Feb. 14, 2018, will forever go down as a day to remember those 17 lives lost in the Parkland, Florida shooting.