Nearly a week after a mass shooting devastated a high school in Parkland, Florida, funerals for the victims are already underway. A lone gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14; 14 victims were students and three were staff members. Community members, family, and friends gathered to honor the victims and pay their respects, and photos of the Parkland victim's funerals are absolutely heartbreaking.
As the funerals continue — four alone reportedly took place on Tuesday — photos from the grieving community have spread across social media. These images highlight the personal nature of mass violence, and they also offer a glimpse into the incomprehensible mourning that people close to the victims are experiencing.
Amid all that grief, many people in the Parkland community are demanding that lawmakers take action against gun violence. They argue that shootings like the one in Parkland could be prevented if politicians took concrete action. "While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING," wrote Lindsay Fontana, identified as 14 year-old victim Cara Loughran's aunt by a local ABC affiliate, on Facebook. "This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it cannot happen to other people's families." Cara's funeral was among those to take place on Tuesday.
The photos, themselves, are full of what you might expect: hugging mourners, black cars, and funeral processions. But hanging over the images are the disconcerting facts surrounding the Parkland shooting. They are not images of mourners who could have, in any way, been prepared to attend these specific funerals. The distinct shock that the Parkland community has experience since Valentine's Day makes itself known.
"I wish I could’ve taken those bullets for you, Alyssa," 14 year-old victim Alyssa's Alhadeff's mother, Lori Alhadeff, said at her daughter's funeral service on Friday, just two days after the shooting. "I would have protected you."
Lori was among the grieving family members to demand that elected officials take action to institute gun control reform. Yelling and visibly crying in an interview with CNN, she addressed President Trump directly:
How do we allow a gunman to come into our children's school? How do they get through security? What security is there? There's no metal detectors. The gunman — a crazy person — just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child's door and just starts shooting — shooting her and killing her. President Trump, you say, 'What can you do?' You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands... What can you do? You can do a lot.
One group of survivors, however, are refusing to wait for a response from Trump, or any other lawmakers, for that matter. Organizing under the name "Never Again," the movement was spearheaded by, and is being led by, a group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
According to BuzzFeed, the group has been posting up in living rooms, and members have been participating in dozens upon dozens of interviews in order to promote their cause. One way they plan to take action is through a march on Washington.
Slated for March 24, the #NeverAgain March For Our Lives will be a demonstration in favor of banning personal semi-automatic and automatic weapons. The initiative has been backed by major gun control organizations, as well as by several A-list celebrities.
The teens' rapid organization has been hailed as heroic by many onlookers, who praise the young coordinators' abilities to simultaneously mourn their peers and plan national demonstrations.
"My message for the people in office is: You're either with us or against us," organizer and junior Cameron Kasky told CNN on Sunday. "We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around."