David Cullen, author of the definitive bestseller Columbine, returns with a second book, this time detailing the story of the events surrounding the Parkland, Florida school shooting in February 2018, the extraordinary teenage survivors and the March For Our Lives (MFOL) campaign that followed.
In Parkland, Cullen takes the readers inside the school in the days leading up to the shooting and recreates the fatal six minutes where the lives of many were shattered. Throughout the writing of this book Cullen had exclusive access to the students, many of whom would become the core of the aforementioned MFOL campaign movement.
The book proved to be an eye opener in many ways. Not only, did I discover the amount of time and effort the students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had put into organising the campaign march, I also learnt more about America’s gun laws. As an Australian, I was not aware of all of the intricacies of American gun laws, but I’ve definitely learnt a lot from reading this book.
Parkland is not a book about the shooter. Rather, it is a raw and true account of the tragic events of February 14th 2018. The book is about the victims, their families and the survivors; and how they galvanised what is becoming an all too familiar event into a spark for change and a call for tighter gun controls.
Having suffered from PTSD following his researching Columbine and other mass shootings, Cullen felt he could never again plunge into a similar situation again. But, the events of Parkland, or perhaps more accurately, the events which followed helped change his mind. Instead, he strived to witness, follow and document the incredible teenagers who decided enough was enough.
Survivors David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky became the face of this campaign. Together, with Jackie Corin and others, they formed MFOL in a bid to change the way America dealt with guns. In spite of media opposition and school yard bullying the group fought on. Cullen does a great job of documenting the groups actions, following them as they go about the day-to-day business of the running the campaign, including the March for Our Lives rally in Washington which saw an estimated 800,000 people descend on the capital to protest against gun violence.
I was absolutely blown away by Parkland, from the amount I learnt about America’s gun laws, to the eye-witness accounts from the students who ultimately took charge when no-one else would, and said enough is enough. This book is a credit to Cullen and to those kids. It’s time to make a change. #NeverAgain #EnoughIsEnough
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
David Cullen’s Parkland is available now from Hachette Australia