News | World News | Families of Dunblane massacre show support for Parkland students

Families of Dunblane massacre show support for Parkland students

Popular Articles

  • Pupils at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have been protesting for tougher gun-control laws, after 17 people were killed in shooting 
  • Today, on the 22nd anniversary of Britain's worst deadliest firearms atrocity, families of the Dunblane Primary School have written to American protesters 
  • Scottish school shooting led to UK enforcing the strictest gun laws in the world 
  • And families of Dunblane massacre believe Parkland students can make change 

By Anthony Joseph for MailOnline

Published: 08:07 EDT, 13 March 2018 | Updated: 08:07 EDT, 13 March 2018

  • e-mail

View
comments

The heartbroken families of the Dunblane massacre have revealed how they have sent letters of support to Parkland students on the anniversary of the 1996 shooting. 

Pupils at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have been protesting for tougher gun-control laws, after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last month.

Today, on the 22nd anniversary of Britain's worst deadliest firearms atrocity, families of the Dunblane Primary School have told American protesters that they are standing with them over their call for change.

The massacre at the Scottish school, which killed 16 children and a teacher and also injured 15 others, sparked shocked the nation and led to the UK enforcing some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world.

The siblings of five-year-old victims, Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier appeared on Lorraine to reveal the letter they sent to the Parkland students in solidarity.

Alison Ross and Jack Crozier, siblings of Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier, who died in the Dunblane massacre
Alison Ross and Jack Crozier, siblings of Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier, who died in the Dunblane massacre

Alison Ross and Jack Crozier, siblings of Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier, who died in the Dunblane massacre

On March 13 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane primary school in Scotland and shot sixteen children and their teacher dead before turning the gun on himself
On March 13 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane primary school in Scotland and shot sixteen children and their teacher dead before turning the gun on himself

On March 13 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane primary school in Scotland and shot sixteen children and their teacher dead before turning the gun on himself

Students released from the lockdown embrace following a shooting, which killed 17 people, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland
Students released from the lockdown embrace following a shooting, which killed 17 people, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

Students released from the lockdown embrace following a shooting, which killed 17 people, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland

Jack Crozier told the ITV show: 'It's just all about a message of hope. This day is very difficult for everyone from Dunblane and it is a day of remembrance - and it's sending a message out to them that change can happen.

'It didn't all come straight away for Dunblane. For families of Dunblane it took a year for that first small step. 

'It was high calibre guns that were banned first and it took another full year after that - the second anniversary - when all handguns were banned.

The Dunblane massacre on March 13, 1996, shortly after 9.30am in the Stirlingshire town shocked the nation and led to the UK enforcing some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world
The Dunblane massacre on March 13, 1996, shortly after 9.30am in the Stirlingshire town shocked the nation and led to the UK enforcing some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world

The Dunblane massacre on March 13, 1996, shortly after 9.30am in the Stirlingshire town shocked the nation and led to the UK enforcing some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world

'It's not going to happen straight away. You're going to have these setbacks where promises will be broken but it's all about just keeping that fight up.'  

Parkland students have held rallies, confronted elected officials and are promising to mobilise eligible youths to register to vote, all in an effort to push lawmakers for tougher gun-control laws. 

A national demonstration is planned tomorrow, when organisers have called for a 17-minute school walkout in memory of those who died last month. 

The Dunblane families' letter states: 'We persuaded British lawmakers not to be swayed by the vested interests of the gun lobby, we asked them to put public safety first and to heed what the majority of the British people wanted. Most politicians listened and acted. 

'Laws were changed, handguns were banned and the level of gun violence in Britain is now one of the lowest in the world. There have been no more school shootings.

'We want you to know that change can happen. It won't be easy, but continue to remind everyone of exactly what happened at your school and of the devastation caused by just one person with one legally-owned gun. Never let anyone forget.'

The siblings of five-year-old victims, Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier appeared on Lorraine to reveal the letter they sent to the Parkland students in solidarity. Pictured: Alison Ross (left) and Jack Crozier (right) on TV today
The siblings of five-year-old victims, Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier appeared on Lorraine to reveal the letter they sent to the Parkland students in solidarity. Pictured: Alison Ross (left) and Jack Crozier (right) on TV today

The siblings of five-year-old victims, Joanna Ross and Emma Crozier appeared on Lorraine to reveal the letter they sent to the Parkland students in solidarity. Pictured: Alison Ross (left) and Jack Crozier (right) on TV today

Students and supporters protest against gun violence outside of the White House
Students and supporters protest against gun violence outside of the White House

Students and supporters protest against gun violence outside of the White House

Students evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last month
Students evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last month

Students evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last month

Alison Ross, the sister of Dunblane victim, Joanna, said she is grateful that her son William, four, is able to go to school in a safe environment.

She said: 'I'm not an anxious mother. I'm very grateful that I'm able to send William to school without any gun threats. Our schools now are safe - I'm very grateful because it was our parents who did that. 

'If our parents hadn't fought for that I wouldn't think anyone would blame me for not sending my kids to school. A lot of us think it couldn't happen twice but there is families in America that it has happened twice to.

'They shouldn't have to live like that. It's just a luxury that they don't have. It must be so terrifying for them.'

Jack Crozier told the ITV show: 'It's just all about a message of hope. This day is very difficult for everyone from Dunblane and it is a day of remembrance - and it's sending a message out to them that change can happen'
Jack Crozier told the ITV show: 'It's just all about a message of hope. This day is very difficult for everyone from Dunblane and it is a day of remembrance - and it's sending a message out to them that change can happen'

Jack Crozier told the ITV show: 'It's just all about a message of hope. This day is very difficult for everyone from Dunblane and it is a day of remembrance - and it's sending a message out to them that change can happen'

Sixteen young Primary One pupils lost their lives, as did class teacher Gewn Mayor (left). Those who died included Kevin Hasell, 5 (back row, third from left); David Kerr, 5 (back row, third from right), Charlotte Dunn, 5 (second row, second from left), Emily Morton, 5 (second row, third from left); Joanna Ross, 5 (second row, middle), Emma Crozier, 5 (second row, third from right), Abigail McLennan, 5 (front row, left), Sophie North, 5 (front row, second from left), Hannah Scott, 5 (front row, third from left), Megan Turner, 5 (front row, middle), Mhairi McBeath, 5 (front row, second from right)
Sixteen young Primary One pupils lost their lives, as did class teacher Gewn Mayor (left). Those who died included Kevin Hasell, 5 (back row, third from left); David Kerr, 5 (back row, third from right), Charlotte Dunn, 5 (second row, second from left), Emily Morton, 5 (second row, third from left); Joanna Ross, 5 (second row, middle), Emma Crozier, 5 (second row, third from right), Abigail McLennan, 5 (front row, left), Sophie North, 5 (front row, second from left), Hannah Scott, 5 (front row, third from left), Megan Turner, 5 (front row, middle), Mhairi McBeath, 5 (front row, second from right)

Sixteen young Primary One pupils lost their lives, as did class teacher Gewn Mayor (left). Those who died included Kevin Hasell, 5 (back row, third from left); David Kerr, 5 (back row, third from right), Charlotte Dunn, 5 (second row, second from left), Emily Morton, 5 (second row, third from left); Joanna Ross, 5 (second row, middle), Emma Crozier, 5 (second row, third from right), Abigail McLennan, 5 (front row, left), Sophie North, 5 (front row, second from left), Hannah Scott, 5 (front row, third from left), Megan Turner, 5 (front row, middle), Mhairi McBeath, 5 (front row, second from right)

The pair revealed that they will be marching at the US Consulate in Edinburgh on March 24 - the same day 500,000 people are expecting to protest in Washington for stricter gun laws.  

Ms Ross said, although her family were already close to the Croziers before the Dunblane massacre, the incident brought the community together and believes the power of united families will make the Parkland protesters' case stronger.

She said: 'We are very lucky that we were friends before. Our families are connected. 

'Joanna and Emma were both christened together, started their first day of school together, went to Sunday school together. Their funeral service was together as well.

'A lot of the families are only connected because of what happened in Dunblane. Whereas we were connected before that. 

THE UK'S DEADLIEST FIREARMS ATROCITY: THE DUNBLANE PRIMARY SCHOOL MASSACRE

Disgraced former Scout leader Thomas Hamilton was 43 when he carried out the planned execution of innocents, first cutting the school's telephone wires before making his way to the gym hall armed with four legally-held handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Inside the gym, 28 primary one pupils were preparing for PE class as he entered and began shooting, killing 16 children and their teacher Gwen Mayor and injuring 15 others. 

The massacre on March 13, 1996, shortly after 9.30am in the Stirlingshire town shocked the nation and led to the UK enforcing some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world.   

Hamilton became a Scout leader in 1973, at the age of 20, but was asked to leave the following year because of complaints about his behaviour at camp.

In a BBC documentary to mark the anniversary, former head teacher Ron Taylor, 63, described how he is still consumed with guilt by the tragedy.

'It was unimaginably horrible to see children dying in front of you. I felt enormous guilt - more than a survivor's guilt. It was my school, I felt violated,' he said.

'As a headteacher what happened to me that day was the worst experience any headteacher could have. People have to cope in their own way.

'One of the things I have at home is a box full of newspaper articles.

'And it includes my own written version of the events of the day and I did that to help. I locked it away and thankfully I have never looked at it again.'

'It's something we take for granted that we are able to go to school and be safe. For them (Americans) standing up - it's a totally different message from them and it's very powerful.

'I think because they are standing up for themselves - they just don't want to be victims. They just want to feel safe. And they are right - why shouldn't they be.' 

Disgraced former Scout leader Thomas Hamilton was 43 when he carried out the planned execution of innocents, first cutting Dunblane Primary School's telephone wires before making his way to the gym hall armed with four legally-held handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Inside the gym, 28 primary one pupils were preparing for PE class as he entered and began shooting, killing 16 children and their teacher Gwen Mayor and injuring 15 others.

Disgraced former Scout leader Thomas Hamilton was 43 when he carried out the planned execution of innocents, first cutting Dunblane Primary School's telephone wires before making his way to the gym hall armed with four legally-held handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition
Disgraced former Scout leader Thomas Hamilton was 43 when he carried out the planned execution of innocents, first cutting Dunblane Primary School's telephone wires before making his way to the gym hall armed with four legally-held handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition

Disgraced former Scout leader Thomas Hamilton was 43 when he carried out the planned execution of innocents, first cutting Dunblane Primary School's telephone wires before making his way to the gym hall armed with four legally-held handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition

The massacre on March 13, 1996, shortly after 9.30am in the Stirlingshire town shocked the nation and led to the UK enforcing some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world. 

The shootings in the US have sparked a public outcry, with students meeting President Donald Trump and organising marches demanding tighter gun controls.

In a Facebook video, the Dunblane survivors and relatives say: 'We want you to know that change can happen. It won't be easy, but continue to remind everybody of what happened at your school and the devastation caused by just one person and just one legally-owned gun. 

'Never let anyone forget. There will be attempts to to divide you, to deflect you and doubtless to intimidate you, but you've already shown great wisdom and strength. 

'We wish you more of that wisdom and strength for this toughest of tasks, one that will be so important in order to spare your fellow Americans having to suffer the way you have. 

'Wherever you march, whenever you protest, however you campaign for a more sensible approach to gun ownership, we will be there with you in spirit.' 

They also offer their 'total support' for the March for Our Lives gun-control rally on March 24 in the US. 

Those in Dunblane say they will light 17 candles on Tuesday evening to remember those who lost their lives in the 1996 massacre, and will also think of those who died in Parkland.

Dunblane families' letter to Parkland students 

Dear Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas School,

On the most poignant day of the year for us we wanted to reach out and offer our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to you and your teachers and to all the families and friends of those who died at your school on 14th February. 

We have watched and listened with tremendous admiration as you have spoken out for what you believe should happen now, a significant change of attitude towards the availability of guns in your country.

Twenty-two years ago today our own lives were devastated when a gunman walked into Dunblane Primary School in Scotland and shot dead sixteen 5- and 6-year-old children and their teacher and injured many more. 

The children who were killed or badly injured were our daughters and sons, our grandchildren, our sisters and brothers, our nieces and nephews, our cousins. The teacher was our wife, our sister, our mother. 

Five of us are survivors. The gunman owned his four handguns legally, and we knew it had been too easy for him to arm himself with lethal weapons. Like you we vowed to do something about it. 

We persuaded British lawmakers not to be swayed by the vested interests of the gun lobby, we asked them to put public safety first and to heed what the majority of the British people wanted. Most politicians listened and acted. 

Laws were changed, handguns were banned and the level of gun violence in Britain is now one of the lowest in the world. There have been no more school shootings.

We want you to know that change can happen. It won't be easy, but continue to remind everyone of exactly what happened at your school and of the devastation caused by just one person with one legally-owned gun. Never let anyone forget. 

There will be attempts to deflect you, to divide you and doubtless to intimidate you, but you've already shown great wisdom and strength. We wish you more of that wisdom and strength for this toughest of tasks, one that will be so important in order to spare more of your fellow Americans from having to suffer the way you have. 

Wherever you march, whenever you protest, however you campaign for a more sensible approach to gun ownership we will be there with you in spirit.

Tonight we will be lighting 17 candles for those who died in Dunblane and will be remembering the 17 who lost their lives in Parkland. Our thoughts will also be with every other victim of gun violence.

We offer you our total support for the March for Our Lives and sincerely hope you achieve success. It can be done. #NeverAgain.

Aimie Adam — Survivor

Matt Birnie, Bev Birnie, Steve Birnie, Lauren Birnie — Survivor and his family

Alison Crozier, John Crozier, Ellie Crozier, Jack Crozier, Fiona Buchanan, Allan Pollock, Allana Pollock, Morag Pollock, Olivia Pollock, Sophie Pollock – Family of Emma Crozier

Barbara Dunn, Martyn Dunn, Alex Dunn — Family of Charlotte Dunn

Eileen Harrild — Survivor

Allison Irvine, Ian Irvine, Bethany Irvine, Rachael Irvine, Scott Irvine, Andrea Linden, Amanda McNamara, James McNamara, Laurence McNamara, Nicholas McNamara, Katherine Robertshaw, Kevin Robertshaw, Mark Robertshaw — Family of Ross Irvine

Duncan McLennan, Liz McLennan, Gregor McLennan, Rachel McLennan, Lauren Shaw — Family of Abigail McLennan

Rod Mayor, Joan Mayor, Debbie Mayor, Esther Proctor — Family of Gwen Mayor

Jenny Morton — Sister of Emily Morton

Mick North, Nicola Cole, Gail Lockwood, Matthew Lockwood, Matthew North, Vanessa North, Christine Warren, Neil Warren, Peter Warren — Family of Sophie North

Andrew O'Donnell, John O'Donnell, Sheila O'Donnell, Katie O'Donnell, Rhona McInnes, Anne Orr — Survivor and his family

Ellen Petrie, Sandy Petrie — Parents of John Petrie

Kenny Ross, Pam Ross, Alison Ross, Andrew Ross, Carolyn Jones, Gareth Jones, Gavin Jones, Irene Smith — Family of Joanna Ross

Adam Savage, Elaine Savage, Gavin Savage, Kane Savage — Survivor and his family

Amy Scallan — Survivor

David Scott, Karen Scott — Parents of Hannah Scott

Kareen Turner, Willie Turner, Duncan Turner — Family of Megan Turner

Isabel Wilson, Guy Wilson, Catherine Wilson — Family of Mhairi MacBeath 

 

Most watched News videos

MOST READ NEWS

View All

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS

By Shawn Arnette 13/03/2018 08:20:00