“Oh my God.”
Yet another fatal school shooting prompted that reaction from Gabrielle Anzalone, the Lindenhurst teenager who protested gun violence and then ran for the school board.
Anzalone, 18, had just finished taking an AP exam at Lindenhurst High School when she heard from a reporter about Friday morning’s shooting in Texas. She had to absorb and process it for a moment before she spoke further.
“My immediate reaction would be grief, but disgust,” said the young woman who this week lost the race for a school board seat.
Anzalone pointed out — correctly — that this was the 22nd school shooting so far in 2018, “and we’re only 20 weeks into the year.”
She and other gun control advocates said that the shooting will further intensify their efforts to stem the violence.
A gunman carrying a shotgun and a revolver opened fire at his Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said.
It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since the February attack in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and re-energized the gun-control movement after surviving teens launched a campaign for reform.
Linda Beigel Schulman, the Dix Hills mother of teacher Scott Beigel, who died in the Parkland shooting, watched the news coverage of this latest attack.
“It’s like reliving the whole thing all over again; it’s nauseating, [and] it’s not going to stop until we do something to stop it,” Beigel Schulman said.
She was so upset she said she wanted to go and “hug the parents of the kids who were shot.”
Beigel Schulman, 63, has spent much time in Florida since the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting, calling on state legislators to strengthen gun laws and meeting with other families affected by the rampage.
She said she is honoring the legacy of her son.
“It’s like we’re [the Parkland families] a sorority we never pledged for,” she said.
Beigel Schulman and Anzalone continued to direct a barrage of criticism at the nation’s leaders who they feel have done little, if anything, to address the problem of gun violence.
“Our leaders should be condemned,” Anzalone said. “They give their thoughts and prayers, but don’t offer any action.”
Anzalone said she does not understand why the United States hasn’t found an answer to stop the violence “when other countries have.”
Anzalone participated in the national school walkout honoring Parkland shooting victims on March 14. She said she was suspended by school officials and given three days of detention for her action. Later, the district rescinded the punishment at the request of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The teen has said her candidacy was not prompted by her district’s decision to punish her and other students, but to better represent student voices in public education.
Anzalone received 747 votes, losing to Josephine Martino, 44, who had 1,036 votes.
This mass school shooting will further fuel the efforts of young people to curtail gun violence, she said.
“How many lives must be lost before we do something?” she said.
She added, “I can say that these people, they won’t be forgotten, and that change will come. We will stop this. It’s ridiculous.”
Cuomo added his voice to the chorus of criticism, directing it at President Donald Trump.
“When is enough enough? How many more innocent people have to die before you act?” Cuomo wrote in a letter to Trump and other elected officials in Washington.
He added, “You were elected to lead — do something. Your first responsibility is to the people of this country, not the NRA — do something. My heart breaks for the families who have to grieve from this needless violence — DO SOMETHING.”
Paul Guttenberg, whose niece Jaime Guttenberg was killed in the Parkland massacre, also expressed grief and disgust.
“My heart breaks for all the families and the victims in that town and in that school,” said Guttenberg, 49, of Commack.
He said elected officials have let down the country.
“From Parkland to now, not enough reform has taken place,” he said. “The NRA, Trump and our leaders wear this blood on their hands.”
Beigel Schulman has also emerged as a gun control advocate since the Parkland shooting.
She and her husband, Michael Schulman, who owns a Melville law firm, said they want legislators around the country to ban the sale of automatic firearms, increase the legal age to buy guns from 18 to 21, up the waiting period for purchases to three days, and restrict bump stocks, devices that can effectively turn firearms into automatic weapons.
“All 17 of us from Parkland are doing everything in our power we could possibly do,” Beigel Schulman said. “We need everybody to help. We need government officials to help, we need help from people, we need the president to help, not just to give lip service.”
She added, “Oh it’s so devastating. . . . It’s not another school shooting. There’s no such thing as another school shooting. These are innocent people being gunned down.”
Beigel Schulman said she texted Denise Reed, assistant principal of Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Parkland school, around 10:30 a.m. because they have become “very good friends.”
Beigel Schulman texted her, “Are you OK?”
Reed responded, “Very sad.”
With Jesse Coburn and AP