The latest school shooting in the United States that killed students, staff and a police officer left many in despair, but this time, fewer seemed surprised.
When asked by a reporter whether she was shocked that a shooting took place at the Santa Fe High School in Texas, one student shook her head.
“No, it wasn’t. It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always kind of felt that eventually it would happen here, too,” the student told ABC 13 in Houston. “I wasn’t surprised, I was just scared.”
The organization #MarchForOurLives — comprised mostly of student activists who banded together after the Parkland shooting, said this is the 22nd school shooting this year. “We urge those reading this not to sweep it under the rug and forget. This is not the price of our freedom. … and tragedies like this will continue to happen unless action is taken.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos issued a statement with a “heavy heart” over the 10 deaths.
“My prayers are with each student, parent, educator and first responder impacted,” said Devos, who leads the Federal Commission on School Safety, a task force created by President Donald Trump after the Parkland shooting in mid-February.
“Our schools must be safe and nurturing environments for learning. No student should have to experience the trauma suffered by so many today and in similar events prior. We simply cannot allow this trend to continue.”
Devos said the commission is working “every day … to identify proven ways to prevent violence and keep our students safe at school. … Our nation must come together and address the underlying issues that lead to such tragic and senseless loss of life.”
Many other politicians, government leaders, politicians and everyday people from both sides of the gun debate issued similar statements on social media, including Students for Trump and Everytown for Gun Safety.
The words “thoughts and prayers” were tweeted, retweeted, posted and chatted thousands of times online from many expressing “a broken heart.” The sympathetic “thoughts and prayers” has become the first-reaction of choice for many but is cringe-producing for others who say sentiment should not be mistaken for action.
“We need to do more than just pray for the victims. We need to take action,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a press conference, suggesting he will assemble Texas stakeholders to find solutions. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's suggestion to “harden schools,” or increase the burden of security to students, such as staggered start times to limit the number of students entering school at one time, was met with a flurry of angry and laughing emojis.
“I should be celebrating my last day of high school, but instead my heart is broken to hear of the tragedy at Santa Fe,” tweeted Delaney Tarr, student school-shooting survivor from Parkland, Florida, where 17 people — mostly students — were killed Feb. 15.
“We cannot let this continue to be the norm. We cannot.”
“Get ready for two weeks of media coverage of politicians acting like they give a sh-- when in reality they just want to boost their approval ratings before midterms,” tweeted David Hogg, an activist against gun violence and another survivor of the Parkland shooting.