On February 14, 2018, 17 students were killed and 14 injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Ex-student Nikolas Cruz was dropped off at the school via Uber, and used a AR-15 that he legally purchased to commence his heinous reign of terror. Cruz allegedly walked out with other students, bought a soda at a Subway restaurant, and stopped at a McDonald’s in nearby Coral Springs before getting noticed by security footage and subsequently arrested.
Cruz, 19, was expelled from the school for unspecified disciplinary reasons, with a student claiming that it was partially due to having bullets in his backpack and having it on the school premises. After his expulsion, Cruz attended another school in Broward County. Cruz was also reportedly abusive to his ex-girlfriend, as he was in a fight with her new boyfriend. A fellow student and former friend of Cruz stated that he started to get weirder as time progressed.
“I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him,” the friend said.
Family and friends of victims showed their outrage of the incident, and even famous names went to social media to air their viewpoints. For instance, former WWE star Shad Gaspard stated some very controversial remarks about the shootings on Facebook regarding “thoughts and prayers.” However, the post has been deleted, and he has replaced it with a post honoring football coach and security guard Aaron Feis, who stepped in front of students and took multiple bullets before dying.
Another person who made comments on the incident is former multi-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. Orton posted a very poignant statement, defending God regarding the insufficient involvement that people give him in schools.
The statement reads, “Dear God, Why do you allow so much violence in our schools? Signed, a concerned student. ‘Dear concerned student, I’m not allowed in schools. God.'”
This post elicited a swarm of responses, with people both defending and criticizing it. While some felt that it was “unnecessary” and “disrespectful,” others felt that it was “freaking awesome” and praised Orton for “speaking the raw truth.”