Since Parkland

I can think of no greater failure of our society than the accelerating rate of school shootings. Protecting our children is our most sacred duty.

And yet even the most common sense policies for gun control are shut down by corrupt politicians controlled by the gun lobby. Even President Obama was powerless.

But as he laid out the executive actions he’s taking to curb gun violence in the East Room Tuesday, the President wiped tears from his face. His emotions were stirred while reflecting on the “college students in Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first graders in Newtown” who had their “inalienable right to life” stripped from them by a barrage of bullets.
He repeated “first graders,” before pausing to rest his arm on the podium, his eyes beginning to fill. “Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad,” he said with a stream trickling down his nose. “And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”

President Barack Obama

It is unbearable to see the terrified, tear stained faces of little kids leaving schools where yet another incident of gun violence just occurred. Children everywhere are aware, and affected by each school shooting.

Each time a student has to go through a metal detector, it is a reminder. Armed guards, and even teachers, are not only a reminder, but in many induce more fear. Children of color, especially, are afraid of law enforcement officers, knowing how many unarmed kids are killed in their neighborhoods. I can’t image the trauma of being forced to be in a building where there are armed people. In the latest school shooting at the STEM school in Colorado it looks like an armed school guard shot a student (that won’t be known until ballistic tests are done, we’re told. But how long does it take to do such a test?). The way to reduce violence is not to escalate the use of violence. People of faith, especially, need to be bringing this to the discussions of school shootings.

On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others. Since then Parkland students have spoken eloquently about gun violence. National “March for our Lives” events have been held. And yet very little has changed.

Sharing stories is one of the best ways to create change. The Miami Herald maintains a website named SINCE PARKLAND with many stories related to school gun violence.

A related website, SINCE PARKLAND.ORG, includes a list of the names of all the young lives lost, and stories about each of those children. The list of names looks eerily similar to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.

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