I am sure the events of Wednesday, February 14th, are still rattling around many of our minds as we continue to hear news and developments surrounding the unconscionable incident that took place at a high school in Florida. I do not wish to opine on the matter too heavily, as there is a piece about the issues underscored by the shooting in the Opinion Section this week; however, I do wish to take some editorial license to make my feelings known and to disseminate some information, in the hopes that it may resonate with some students, faculty, and staff on and around this campus.
It is not fair. That is probably the most widely agreed upon thought when dwelling on this issue. It is not fair that seventeen students and faculty members had to die in a place where they were supposed to grow. It is not fair that dozens of parents are now reduced to mourning those children who they were supposed to only celebrate. It is not fair that we, as Americans, must live in fear of a dangerous and dreadful reality that could so clearly be made the convivial reality that we so desperately wish to regularly experience. It is not fair that lawmakers continue to view what has occurred as an immaleable partisan conflict; as if there is a large subsection of the American populous that is truly indifferent toward the untimely and gruesome deaths of our youngest, most innocent, and most cherished citizens.
You may choose to pray or keep these events in your thoughts or share your comforting sympathies with those who have been affected. But if you do so, do not be under the impression that these sentimental pleasantries will do anything of substance to assist in finding solutions to the many problems this shooting has once again highlighted, because that impression is false and, in many ways, inadvertently complicit in the cyclical, perpetual nature of the mass shooting epidemic the United States has been grappling with over the last several decades. We, as a country, are long overdue for some real action.
There’s no obligation to become an activist or a lobbyist, or even a volunteer. But there is an obligation that you and I hold to be a citizen, and that means making our members of Congress aware of how we feel, what we would like to see happen, and how we would like the issues presented before us to evolve and be resolved. The simplest way to do that is to call the United States Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for a Senator or Representative from the state and/or voting district in which you reside. You may not be the National Rifle Association, the Center for American Progress, the Heritage Foundation, or the Brookings Institution, but your voice, your passion, and your knowledge are still valuable tools that many lawmakers use in making vital policy decisions such as the ones that are now laid before us.
Without action, America will lay witness to the next mass shooting tomorrow. The week after that there will be another. And a few days after that another one will occur. Almost like clockwork, their malignance and mercilessness will continue to penetrate our lives. Maybe they won’t be responsible for the death of seventeen people. Maybe only four or five. But even one death at the hands of a gunman is still too much death.
Do not be silent on this issue. Do not believe that there is nothing that can be done. Do not let more Americans, who are frightened and unsure and panicked, be the next victims that are subjected to the kind of terror and treachery that reared its ugly head at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.