I sat at my kitchen table last night and tearfully read about the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen deceased this time.
Remember when Columbine happened? When 13 people was a lot? Look where we are now.
How long will Parkland be the biggest news story? Just this week? Maybe through the weekend? Because that’s the reality we’re living now. It’s become that common. “Another school shooting” is what we say. “How many this time?” we ask. And ’round and ’round we go, with nothing done about it.
Well a young man named David Hogg — a survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 — says our lack of action is unacceptable. And I couldn’t agree more.
Speaking with CNN after 17 of his classmates lost their lives Wednesday, Hogg implored our country to do something. This young man, who may not even have the right to vote yet, seems wiser than his years; which I guess is something that happens when you witness a horror like this — you grow up pretty fast.
“What we really need is action,” Hogg told CNN. “Because we can say, yes we are going to do all these things, thoughts and prayers. What we need more than that is ACTION.”
“Please,” Hogg continues, in a now-viral clip retweeted thousands of times across Twitter. “This is the 18th one this year. That’s unacceptable. We’re children. You guys are the adults. Work together, overcome your politics, and get something done.”
That is the big issue, here. Opposing sides cannot seem to find a middle ground on the gun debate, but the truth is—ALL of our children are dying. In the 18 school shootings so far this year, both Republicans and Democrats lost their children. Gun owners and non-gun owners. Supporters of the NRA and advocates for gun control. We are all sending our babies into school each day, wondering if we will see them at 4:00.
So even though he’s only a kid, David Hogg is speaking the truth. What are we doing to do? Nothing? Let this be the norm?
In a separate interview with George Stephanopoulos, Hogg again showed his maturity and composure after witnessing such horrors hours before. “What I wish people would know is that this is something that people cannot get used to,” he says. “This is something we can’t let keep happening. Because if we do and we get used to it, it’s going to happen again. This is a time for our country to take a look in the mirror and realize there is a serious issue here,” he added.
Whether you believe all teachers should be armed, or schools should have metal detectors and armed guards, or you say “gun control measures don’t work — look at Chicago’s crime rate” or “yes, they do—look at Australia’s crime rate”, or “this is a mental health issue, not a gun issue”, or “it’s my constitutional right”, one thing is for sure. This is happening at an alarming rate, and one of us is going to be next. In another week, or month, one of us is going to get the call that it happened again. In our town. To our school. To our babies.
So thank you, David Hogg for telling America to wake up. To stop being petty. To stop being stubborn and unwilling to have a damn conversation. To make a bridge across party lines. To consider that maybe, just maybe, someone else has a point. To be willing to try. Something. Anything. So that 20 years from now, when our kids are grown (hopefully), and they ask, Mom and Dad, what did our country do to help us? To protect us? We can say we did something.
Schools are taking measures to protect kids. Lock down drills are rehearsed, newer, more efficient locks are on classroom doors, entrances are secured, IDs are checked. Many schools are working on anti-bullying platforms and have social workers reaching out to troubled kids. All of these measures help and matter and show our kids that our teachers and administrators love them and care about their safety.
Can we say the same about our law-makers? For my kids’ sake, and yours, and for kids like David Hogg, who have endured the unthinkable, I hope our leaders are listening.