A teenage girl who survived the massacre at a Florida school by hiding in a closet for two hours on Wednesday has hit back at a conservative commentator’s statement that the tragedy was not about guns.
Carly Novell, 17, was responding to Tomi Lahren on Twitter after the Fox News pundit dismissed calls for greater gun control after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 assault rifle.
"Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic," tweeted Lahren, who was among a number of right-wing media figures to say it was too soon to discuss gun control laws.
Miss Novell shared the tweet, saying: "I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns."
I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren't there, you don't know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns. https://t.co/XnzhvuN1zd
— carly (@car_nove) February 15, 2018
The tweet has since gone viral, having been shared more than 271,000 times and liked 681,000 times in 17 hours.
Ms Novell went on to say she was not the only one in her family to survive a massacre by hiding in a closet.
Almost 70 years ago, when her grandfather, Charles Cohen, was twelve years old, he also hid in a closet while his whole family was killed during one of America’s first mass shootings by a lone gunman.
"These events shouldn’t be repetitive. Something has to change," she said.
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 pic.twitter.com/nDctTNlUNs
— carly (@car_nove) February 15, 2018
The mass shooting Ms Novell referred to was Howard Unruh’s “Walk of Death.” On September 6, 1949, Unruh murdered 13 people and wounded three others in a 20-minute shooting rampage.
“This has been happening repeatedly, there are too many lives being lost because people don’t want to make a difference,” she told Huffington Post.
“It happened to my grandpa and it happened to me. People value ‘the right to bear arms’ over people’s lives. I can’t even comprehend it.”
Nikolas Cruz appeared in court on Thursday to face formal charges of carrying out the second-deadliest mass shooting at a public school in U.S. history.
Ms Novell’s plea came as other students from the school voiced their shock and anger at the events that unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentines Day.
why was a student able to terrorize my school mr president https://t.co/rwDRYz3ayx
— nikki (@nikta04) February 14, 2018
Some students tweeted messages to President Trump asking how Cruz had been able to "terrorise" the school.
Others shared stories of how they survived and their disbelief at experiencing the "nightmare" which has traumatised the quiet town, which was voted the safest in Florida last year.
A girl who sits behind me in history class was shot. A guy who sits right besides me in math class is missing. This is madness #PrayforDouglas #DouglasStrong
— Ashhan Kashif (@KingAshhan) February 15, 2018
I can’t unsee what I saw today or unhear those shots. He did something that will stick with us forever and I hate that. Praying for everyone: victims, friends, classmates, administrators, everyone. #DouglasStrong
— Steph (@ohstephany_) February 14, 2018
today i lived in a nightmare. I can’t believe what has happened at my school today & this will forever be the scariest, worst day of my life. please send prayers to my school. I didn’t wake up today knowing that I was going to hide in a closet feared for my life. #douglasstrong
— jay (@jaydenbeirr) February 15, 2018
On Thursday Donald Trump delivered a sombre address from the White House after the 18th school shooting in the country this year, but he avoided any mention of curbing access to guns.
Instead, the US president said he would “tackle the difficult issue of mental health” and that there had been “so many signs” that Cruz was “mentally disturbed.”
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