The Parkland Trial: A Lesson Learned


Lady Justice graciously holds the scales which represents the courts fair judgement. Labeled free for reuse by Unsplash.

The weight of one’s life lies in the hands of the justice system. A randomly selected jury is sent to the court with the intent of contemplating both sides regarding the evidence and details. Nothing about it is easy, but consequences or mercy that’s served sets the precedent for future situations alike. 

Tragedy hit Florida High School Stoneman Douglas on February 14th, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, walked onto school grounds and opened fire thus killing 17 people in the process. This horrific day caused 14 students and 3 staff members to lose their lives. In honor of those who died, here are their names: 

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Martin Duque, 14; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Cara Loughran, 14; Gina Montalto, 14; Alaina Petty, 14; Alex Schachter, 14; Luke Hoyer, 15; Peter Wang, 15; Carmen Schentrup, 16; Nicholas Dworet, 17; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Helena Ramsey, 17; Meadow Pollack, 18; Scott Beigel, 35; Aaron Feis, 37; and Chris Hixon, 49. 

Every single one of the victims was given justice through Cruz’s death penalty trial in recent times. After deliberating, the jury recommended that Cruz be spared death, but spend life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

The death penalty is known to be a conversational topic. As of 2022, twenty-seven states carry capital punishment. It’s not often that it’s carried out and is only mentioned if the crime is severe. Cruz’s trial is adequate for the discussion of such a serious matter. However, in the matter of that specific case, does it provide proper justice? Senior Lilly Ichiki shared her stance.  

“No I don’t think he was deserving of the death penalty because an eye for an eye doesn’t solve an over-arching issue and wouldn’t bring back the lives he took whether or not that was the preferred sentence from the family,” Ichiki confessed. 

A common point of view on capital punishment is that not only is it ‘an easy way out’ but it also does not give the opportunity for reflection upon the prisoner’s wrongs and the people they’ve hurt in the process. 

So, how does this apply to Air Academy High School? 

Over the past couple of decades, school shootings have sadly increased. The Parkland trial and others like the upcoming case of The Oxford High School shooting in Michigan will continue to set the precedent just as many before them have, on the consequences of committing such an act.

“Despite being on an army base, we still have that fear of something like this happening to us and it makes it just as real and relatable,” Ichiki said.

Fear of the possibility of a school shooting is understandable. At AAHS, practice procedures are put in place to prepare for situations like this.

Although the school takes measures to have a plan for life-threatening events, what more could be done?

“It strengthens the need for more background checks with students and their families. More restrictive rules are necessary in order to prevent younger people from obtaining guns,” senior Jordan Swain presented. 

It’s unknown what the outcome of preventing school shootings is. However, Swaine’s suggestion might be in the works with many states having already taken action. For example, Colorado has enacted extreme risk laws, which allow for firearms to be removed from those that are considered a threat.

Throughout the years there have been too many school shootings. It’s important to remain hopeful and determined to make educational environments safe for everyone. After all, progress is key to not only making a change but allowing justice for the victims to take place.