Parkland Shooting Anniversary
Start writing a post
Politics

I'm Not Asking You To Give Up Your Guns Entirely, I'm Just Asking You To Remember Parkland

No parent should have to bury their child.

520
I'm Not Asking You To Give Up Your Guns Entirely, I'm Just Asking You To Remember Parkland

This week surrounding the one year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has had my heart and my thoughts in a complete mess. I can't even begin to imagine how this week, this horrific anniversary, feels for the students and families whose lives were torn apart in a matter of six minutes, some 365 days ago.

In case you've forgotten, as our country sometimes does with tragedies surrounding gun violence, 14 students and 3 teachers were killed in the halls of their own school. 17 families now have an irreparable hole where a cherished son, daughter, father, or mother used to reside. On Valentine's Day, of all days.

My heart breaks thinking about what those 17 universes, those 17 lives, would look like today if one human being hadn't been able to access a firearm so easily. It breaks for those left behind after that day. Those left to plan funerals. Those left to figure out how life goes on when you've experienced something so painful and so deeply rooted in hate.

The parents and friends of the 17 people killed have turned their grief and anger into voices screaming for change.

Demanding justice. Pleading with aching hearts, realizing that time does not heal all wounds, and asking lawmakers to listen and reform the way our country handles firearms.

Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg lost their 14-year-old daughter Jaime that day. They founded Orange Ribbons for Jaime, an organization that supports the programs and charities that their daughter loved. They use the platform that emerged as a result of Jaime's murder to bring awareness to gun violence and advocate for common sense gun control.

Manuel and Patricia Oliver's son Joaquin (Guac) was also one of the students killed during the shooting. They too began their own organization to honor their son, called Change the Ref, that focuses on empowering youth and future leaders to advocate for change, to give families and victims a disruptive voice in the fight for gun reform.

Students of MSD High School created the March for Our Lives initiative have run with it at full speed. They're making waves in every area of politics and activism, and the sheer bravery of these kids inspires me every single day.

Those are only a few examples of the change and action the survivors of the Parkland shooting have brought about in the midst of their grief. These families have banded together, all connected in a way they wish they weren't, and are dedicated to honoring their friends and family members by advocating for change.

Lori Alhadeff, the mother of 14-year-old Alyssa who was killed in Parkland, stood by the side of the governor of New Jersey as he signed "Alyssa's Law," which will require all New Jersey public schools to install silent panic alarms. Lori wrote a letter to her daughter in the wake of this anniversary. Pouring her grief into a letter she can never send, she writes,

"I wish I could take all the bullets for you."

I'm in no way qualified to speak on this issue on any level other than being moved by the story of this shooting and these families, as I'm sure most people are. But I am not a victim of gun violence. I have no expertise in the area of losing a piece of my family to violence. I don't know what that kind of grief, that kind of loss, feels like.

The only things I can offer are my admiration for these survivors and my "what if's." What if this had happened to me? I take that and I push forward, supporting these victims, and wanting no family, mine included, to ever have to experience the reality of losing a loved one, a child, in a shooting.

It's a mystery to me how some people can read the stories like those of Parkland, and not empathize. Not want to help. Not want to do what it takes to keep children in this country safe. While guns are not on my list of hobbies, they are for many people I know. I have family members, people I love, that are passionate about shooting and hunting. I have a little brother whose eyes light up when he gets to go out shooting or tells me the story of the time he shot his first deer. I love that he has a hobby he loves. I love that he does it safely. I love that he's been taught how to handle firearms properly.

Would I ask him to give up his love of shooting, his hobby? Never. But would I hope that he, and other gun owners and proponents, would be able to make that sacrifice if it meant that innocent lives might be saved? Yes. But the reality is, no one is asking anyone to give up firearms completely. No one's asking anyone to give up their hobbies. All that's being asked is better regulation. Laws that make it harder for guns to get into the hands of those who shouldn't have them.

Universal background checks. Extreme-risk protection orders. Eliminate restrictions on funding for gun violence research. Ending legal immunity for gun manufacturers. Renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Closing the gun show loophole. All of these are things can significantly reduce the risk of gun violence without violating anyone's second amendment right. In a world where sending children into school comes with the increased risk that they won't come home, every human being should be willing to make compromises to prevent that from happening.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

2357
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower

The iconic landmark is reinventing itself with a splashy new color.

4496
Eiffel Tower

Soon, the 2024 Summer Olympics are coming to Paris, and the Eiffel Tower will be in the spotlight.

Embedded so much into Paris's identity, the iconic landmark is no stranger to historic events and world-class gatherings over the years. It is sure to shine again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

You don't just start as the person you are meant to be; there is a journey full of ups and downs that mold a person, so this is my journey.

4513
Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

Overall I'd love to say I grew up a happy overly enthusiastic child that was taught to love herself and be loved by everyone else, but I can't say that and I never will. My smile wasn't always as bright as it is today, but this is the story behind my smile, the story about how I got here to the happiest place I'll ever be. I'll begin at freshman year of high school.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants

Just remember sometimes it is gonna hurt, whether we want it to or not!

6931
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants
Where to start...... Let me start with the cliche that life throws us curveballs and what we do with it is what counts.

One day he walked into my life. UNEXPECTED! And one day he walked out!

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

See which conversations rose to the top on Odyssey this week!

5842
Pixabay

New response writers means exciting new conversations on Odyssey! We're proud to spotlight our talented creators and the topics that matter most to them. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments