Travellers wary to head to Florida after the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

By Cassidy Jones

Jan. 11, 2017

Marina Starfas and her family fly into Fort Lauderdale twice a year.

Now, they don’t know what to do.

There was a shooting there on Jan. 6. The shooter killed five people and six were injured.

That could happen just about anywhere, Florida just happened to be the place, Marina said.

“But the fact that it happened somewhere I’m familiar with, made it feel a little more real.”

As soon as the story broke, she found herself obsessed with the details of the shooting, Marina said.

“I was on every form of social media I have.”

She just wanted to know more, Marina said.

The shooter picked up his baggage containing the weapon before heading into the bathroom, where he loaded the gun. Then, he emerged and began shooting.

Marina’s mother, Helen, said she is terrified to fly anywhere now, especially into Florida.

“We planned to visit family in Florida at the end of February. Now, I’m too scared to book the flights.”

Her first thought was the attack was another example of terrorism, Helen said.

“It’s sad that now when there’s an attack, my mind immediately goes there because that’s what’s happening everywhere.”

For Marina’s father, George, the news provoked anger.

“I just didn’t understand. How can this happen in an airport?”

When you’re flying somewhere, you expect the highest levels of security, he said.

“I’m still angry. I don’t think that will go away anytime soon.”

However, this attack does not stop Marina from wanting to continue going to Florida, she said.

“It’s scary, but again, it could have happened anywhere. I still have family I want to visit.”

If something like this had happened on a flight, that would have stopped her from flying for a while, she said.

“But now I can guess that the security in that airport—and maybe all airports—will be tighter. At least, I hope it will be.”