Following the sentencing of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, 24, to life without parole for his massacre of 17 people (14 children) in 2018, parents of the young victims came forward to blast the decision to spare him the death penalty. Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old child was gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 of that year, immediately took to Twitter in the aftermath of the October 12 decision. “If this is true, any juror issue must be investigated. This is not how justice should served,” he tweeted alongside a link to an article in Mediaite. “With regards to the verdict, I have been asked if I have closure. I do not,” he also wrote. “Nothing will ever bring closure to the reality that I visit Jaime at the cemetery. As a reminder, this trial began back on July 18th almost 3 months ago. Our families knew with complete clarity that court would be hard for both obvious reasons and some not so obvious. How would we be able to sit through months of trial and not scream and not react?”
He heartbreakingly noted that, “this trial presented a reality that I hope no family ever has to go through again.” He didn’t mince words on his feelings about the killer, either. “While this may be hard to hear, what I actually want is for this killer to have been dead as quickly as possible,” he tweeted. “We must be honest and accept the reality that pure evil exists and he is pure evil.” Fred continued his thoughts in an emotional 23-tweet essay, saying in part that the experience left him, “in tears.” “For now, I am glad that this is over and that my family and I will finally be able to visit Jaime at the cemetery,” he wrote.
Former Republican presidential candidate and one term Illinois congressman reacted via the platform, praising Fred. “God bless you @fred_guttenberg,” he wrote. “I’m so sorry you lost Jaime.” Joe’s video link included post sentencing comments from Fred imploring voters to make their voices heard in the upcoming mid-term elections, and to elect representatives who will enact gun safety legislation. “The next thing I do moving forward is everything I possibly can to remind people how important the next election is and voting, because we do have the ability to do things in this country to reduce gun violence through our vote and we need to do them,” Fred said in the emotional video.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 13, 2022
David Hogg, 22, a former student at the school who was a senior when the shooting happened, also took to the social media platform to react. “Also for please stop [sic] saying the shooters name or showing his photo,” he tweeted on October 13. “Stop giving him notoriety. Focus on the victims and supporting their families.” He added another tweet in continuation, reading, “And their families and those who have and unfortunately likely more who will die from suicide as a result of the trauma of the shooting.”
David also tweeted out the names of the victims, his peers. “Who actually deserves your attention: Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jamie Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, Peter Wang. David, who is now a tenacious gun control activist, was met with a deluge of support in the comments section of his tweet, with several simply writing, “100 agreed.”
Who actually deserves your attention:
— David Hogg ☮️ (@davidhogg111) October 13, 2022
Max Schachter, father of Parkland victim Alex Schachter, posted a heartbreaking reaction in the wake of the decision. “Prior to the shooting the Parkland murderer said he wanted to kill 20 people,” Max wrote via Twitter. “He stopped after killing 17 including my sweet little boy Alex. Afterwards he didn’t want to die. He wanted to live. Today he got everything he wanted. While our loved ones are in the cemetery.”
Father of slain victim Joaquin Oliver, Manuel Oliver, also headed to Twitter to speak out. “Mass murderers: you get to live your natural life, you get your 3 hot meals a day, you get to shower every day, get medical attention, hey, even a hobby or a new education. What a great message is this sending,” he wrote. He also took time to refocus on his son Joaquin. “Time to get back to Joaquin and his amazing movement,” he continued, in part. “The world just saw how to get away with murder in a nation whose system is dangerously flawed. Let’s fix this awful narrative.”
Mass murderers: you get to live your natural life, you get your 3 hot meals a day, you get to shower every day, get medical attention, hey, even a hobby or a new education. What a great message is this sending.
— Manuel Oliver (@manueloliver00) October 13, 2022
Finally, the mother of Parkland shooting victim Alyssa Alhadeff also tweeted her thoughts. “Justice, in every sense of the word, was not served today. It wasn’t served for the families & loved ones of the victims nor was it served for the country as a whole. I didn’t think I was able to feel more disappointment & heartbreak.”
Justice, in every sense of the word, was not served today. It wasn’t served for the families & loved ones of the victims nor was it served for the country as a whole.I didn’t think I was able to feel more disappointment & heartbreak. 💔https://t.co/qHU8najn1Y
— Lori Alhadeff (@lorialhadeff) October 13, 2022
Gun safety issues have grown to a fever pitch as school shootings, including the recent Uvalde massacre, continue across the nation. Fred spoke to the HollywoodLife Podcast in an July 2022 interview, and shared his thoughts on the topic in EXCLUSIVE comments. “If you want gun safety, if you want the freedom of choice, if you want to do something about the environment, if you want voting rights, the only way to save democracy is to go ahead and vote [for] Democrats in this election cycle,” he told HL during the podcast. “Rebuild what was once the Republican Party, and we can worry about who’s voting for different parties in a future election. Not this one.”