Animation of Parkland shooting serves as reminder of loss


By Audrey Bernstein ’20


Since the shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14th, I have suffered through every emotion.

I have seen horrifying videos taken during the shooting, read the words of grieving students and watched as tears filled their eyes in remembrance. However, as time passed, the pain I felt seemed to lessen slightly.

Because of this, when I saw that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office released a computer-generated animation of the shooting, I did not suspect that clicking on the video would entail a flood of the same sadness I felt immediately following the tragedy.

It was not until watching this video that I realized the importance of remembering those lost in spite of sadness.  

In the animation, the gunman – Nikolas Cruz – is depicted as a black dot, while students are represented by green dots. When someone is injured, the dot turns yellow, and when someone is killed, the dot turns purple.

The animation was developed after extensive research, and is an accurate depiction of what occurred during the shooting.

Nonetheless, I was by being so affected by symbols on a screen.

It occurred to me, however, that although what I was looking at was digital, the dots represented real people and circumstances. With each dot’s transformation from green to purple, another family would lose a child, another parent would send texts that would never be read, and another classmate would mourn the life lost only feet away.

Each dot would forever be affected by the events that took place on Valentine’s Day.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the shooting, was in the audience when the animation was presented. He knew exactly which dot she was, and watched as it – as she – turned purple. Although the video was just a simulation, as he watched it, Meadow was being taken away from him again.

As time has passed since the shooting, I have noticed that the discussion and emotion surrounding it have subsided. As a result of this, it has become easier to remember the events that took place in the form of lines and dots.

Despite this, we must make a conscious effort to remember those who continue to suffer as faces and names. Only in their remembrance may we honor the legacies of those lost. Only in their remembrance may we ensure that loss such as this never has to occur again.


Image from animation found on Fox News