Earlier this week, 17 students were killed in the Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Many, many more survivors were traumatized by the shooting, and they refuse to stay silent — many of the students have taken to social media to talk about their fallen classmates and to call for change.
One particular student had a story that stood out among the rest, if only because it seemed like a cautionary tale for the future.
Carly tweeted two photos — one of her grandfather as a kid and one of herself with her grandfather — with the caption, “This is my grandpa. When he was 12 years old, he hid in a closet while his family was murdered during the first mass shooting in America. Almost 70 years later, I also hid in a closet from a murderer. These events shouldn’t be repetitive. Something has to change. #douglasstrong”
In a piece for The Cut, Carly described what it was like waiting in the closet during the shooting:
“I think we were in the closet for about two hours. I am not entirely sure. I just wanted to get out. I wasn’t even thinking about how long we were standing there. We were whispering a little bit. We were all just trying to help the people who were freaking out. I was in between two people who were both having panic attacks, so I was just trying to comfort them.”
People were horrified by Carly’s story, as intergenerational stories about mass shootings aren’t (yet) very common in the United States, but that probably won’t be as rare as time goes on.
“Trump is speaking about thoughts and prayers, but that doesn’t do anything when it already happened. What do prayers do when people are already dead?” Carly wrote.
The fact of the matter is this: if we, as a society and as a country, don’t do something to prevent mass shootings, it’s going to become much more common for multiple people (from multiple generations) in a family to experience this kind of violence in their lives. It’s irresponsible to believe that’s just “how it is.” That kind of apathy is what will enable mass murderers to continue taking lives in the future.
“I am going to a funeral tomorrow for Meadow Pollack,” Carly wrote. “I have known her since kindergarten. It sounds bad, but I kind of just want to feel this. It is here. It is something. I don’t want to feel better. This happened. I shouldn’t try to make it go away.”
Thank you for speaking out, Carly. Your words matter.