The devastating news that there was yet another deadly school shooting last Wednesday hit me in my chest and took the breath right out of me. Seventeen young and vibrant lives were senselessly lost at the hands of a monster who should not have had access to a gun. In the aftermath of this horrific nightmare, students and parents of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have turned into activists with steely determination to make our schools safe.
Today, Andrew Pollack, the father of one of the fallen students, Meadow Pollack, had the opportunity to address President Trump face-to-face. His powerful speech was emotional and brave.
“I’m here because my daughter has no voice,” Pollack said. “She was murdered last week and she was taken from us. Shot nine times on the third floor. We as a country failed our children. This shouldn’t happen.”
His impassioned speech hit on the same critically urgent plea that the loud and inspiring voices rising up from the MSD student body has been echoing: Fix our schools and fix them now.
“We go to the airport, I can’t get on a plane with a bottle of water, but we leave some animal to walk into a school and shoot our children,” Pollack said to President Trump. “It is just not right.”
Since 9/11, Homeland Security has beefed up safety measures for airports around the country, something that not lost on Mr. Pollack.
“I’m very angry that this happened,” said Pollack. “Because it keeps happening. 9/11 happened once. And they fix everything. How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I’m not going to sleep until it is fixed.”
The students of MSD have demonstrated unbelievable strength and dignity in the face of violence and unimaginable grief and fear. With swift action, the kids — kids! — have organized protests in order to get the attention of law makers who hold the power to create meaningful changes.
“It is not about gun laws,” Pollack said. “That is another fight, another battle. Let’s fix the schools and then you guys can battle it out whatever you want. But we need our children safe. Monday, tomorrow, whatever day it is, kids go to school. Do you think everyone’s kids are safe?”
Families in every state across our great nation are worried that their school will be next. Will the tragic events of Parkland be the spark that ignites change? I don’t know, but as a mother, I am wondering just how much more violence our children can take.
Mr. Pollack finished his address to the president by saying:
“I didn’t think it was going to happen to me. If I knew that, I would have been at the school every day if I knew it was that dangerous. Work with the President and fix schools. That’s it. No other discussion. No more discussions. I’ll never see my kid again. Never ever will I see my kid. I want it to sink in. Eternity. My beautiful daughter, I’m never going to see again. And it is simple. We can fix it.”
We CAN fix it. And we will.