The Parkland Shooting: When Is It Time to Actually Do Something?
What's Going to Change?
When is it going to be time to talk about gun control? Or responsible gun ownership?
What keeps rolling through my mind right now is, "What if the kids in that school in Florida were my kids? What if they were my kids' friends?"
My heart's breaking for those families affected by the awful mass shooting in that Florida high school, and you know what's going to happen?
People are going to keep offering prayers.
Our hearts are going to hurt every time we read about the upcoming spate of funerals for the 17 people killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We are going to continue to be angry that this happened, and we should be angry. We should all be furious.
How did a 19-year-old come to acquire a semi-automatic rifle?
How did this young man, whose mother apparently died in November, escape any sort of attention beyond the "disciplinary action" that led to his expulsion from the school?
There is no doubt going to be a litany of theories and reasons offered by investigations in the coming days and weeks as to how the 18th school shooting since 2018 started was able to occur. The scariest thing is that only 45 days have passed since 2018 began.
Could you imagine being a kid going to school in any of the areas impacted by a school shooting? A teacher? Sure, teachers are grown ups, and we can comfort ourselves with the logic that comes with being grown up - "our school has systems in place to continue to ensure our safety" and things like that are probably part of the reassurances that people working in these schools offer themselves in order not to feel absolutely scared when they walk through the doors of their respective schools.
What about the kids, though? It's hard enough being a teenager lately, and the idea of trying to make it to school in an area where you know there was just a terrible event such as the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School would be even worse. I know several kids who would likely give hard and fast arguments as to why they shouldn't be attending schools in the neighborhood at least for the next several days if they lived nearby.
Thankfully, I won't have to try and muster arguments to get my own kids to school today. All I really have to worry about is trying to get them at least out of bed and about the business of making themselves breakfast before I head out the door to work myself. I don't have to worry about their lives being irretrievably altered by such a terrible event - and I pray to God I never will.
I almost don't want to see the multiple monologues from talk show hosts today and tonight because these will break my heart all over again. They will no doubt range from the solemn (and it should be) to the enraged (again, probably should be) but what's heartbreaking about all of it is not a damn thing will change.
The NRA is a huge and powerful lobby that has a lot of sway in almost any government - Democratic or Republican. Even though people of every stripe are coming forward and effectively screaming at their politicians to actually try and do something about how frequently mass shootings occur in the United States, nothing will happen.
Why bite the hand that feeds?
That being said, I also understand that in reality, the "blame" - and we are most definitely looking for someone or something to blame in this and any case of loss of life involving a gun - can't fall in the laps of the gun lobby exclusively. It can't. While some will argue that sometimes, people just aren't wired right - because who in their right mind would just tear up a school and destroy lives as wantonly as happens in a mass shooting? - there's also the question of what else has gone on in this person's life so that they turn to something as awful as this?
We don't know what has happened in this person's life that they chose to access a firearm and end 17 lives so horrifically. While something definitely needs to be done so that semi-automatic rifles aren't as easily accessed as they seem to be down in the United States, and done fast, we also have to ask what else, if anything, could have been done to prevent this 19-year-old suspect from taking this course of action.