Thousands gather in Florida to remember those killed in Parkland shooting 3 years ago

Victims' families now fighting for change
Gathering to remember Parkland school shooting 3 years later
Posted at 8:51 AM, Feb 15, 2021

PARKLAND, Fla. — Thousands gathered Sunday night in Parkland, Florida, to pay tribute to 17 lives taken too soon.

Fourteen students and three staff members were killed on Valentine's Day in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"We've always stayed together, we've always been together and, you know, as tragic as this was, it just gave us an opportunity to come closer together," said Parkland Mayor Richard Walker.

Remembering the victims of Parkland school shooting

Among those who were killed was Joaquin Oliver.

"We lost our son three years ago and we needed to do something immediately," said Manuel Oliver.

Now, Manuel Oliver and his wife, Patricia, are turning their pain into purpose with what they're calling "shame cards."

Manuel and Patricia Oliver hold 'shame cards'
Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose son was killed in the 2018 Parkland school shooting, display "shame cards" to be mailed to members of Congress.

"These are graphics of cities that have suffered gun violence," said Manuel Oliver. "You can send these to your congressmen, to members of Congress that represent each of these cities that we're holding."

After the shooting in 2018, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. It requires a three-day waiting period, but it did not ban assault and assault-style weapons.

Oliver said more needs to be done.

"For example, safe storage in a federal way, a red-flag law in a federal way," said Oliver. "None of them are actually infringing on your Second Amendment right, but all of them might be able to save lives."

'#MSD Strong' scrawled on makeshift cross at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2021
The message "#MSD Strong" is written on a makeshift cross at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School three years after the 2018 shooting that claimed the lives of 14 students and three staff members.

Both Manuel and Patricia Oliver said they will continue to push forward in honor of their son and the 16 other lives that were lost.

"We have no limits," said Manuel Oliver. "We already went through the worst scenario that parents could go through. We promise everyone that we won't stop doing what we do until our last day in this life."

This story was originally published by Derek Lowe at WPTV.