Parkland Shooting Anniversary

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.

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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.

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18 Bible Verses That Prove God Would NOT Be 'Pro-Life'

Stop using the Bible as an excuse to take away women's rights.

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"Abortion is WRONG because God (the highest authority) says so! Not because I say so, or "religious" people say so or the government says so...because the CREATOR OF ALL HUMAN LIFE SAYS SO."

This argument is bullshit and I'm sick of hearing it, because it just isn't true. All these Christians claim that the Bible and God says that abortion is wrong, and it's clear they've never read the Bible. Have you ever seen them use a biblical verse to validate their claims? Yeah, me neither. And you know why? BECAUSE THE BIBLE IS NOT PRO-LIFE. They pick and choose vague verses to attempt to back up these ridiculous claims, completely ignoring the damning evidence that the Bible, and therefore God, actually supports child murder, infanticide, and abortion.

Unlike pro-lifers, I'll actually provide some evidence:

1. Numbers 31:17 "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him"

2. Deuteronomy 2:34 "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain"

3. Deuteronomy 28:53 "And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the seige, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee"

4. 1 Samuel 15:3 "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass"

5. Isaiah 13:16 "Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished"

6. Isaiah 13:18 "Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children"

7. Ezekiel 9:6 "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house"

8. Hosea 9:14 "Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts"

9. Hosea 13:16 "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up"

10. 2 Kings 2:24 "And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them"

11. Psalm 137:9 "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones"

12. Numbers 5:21 "-here the priest is to put the woman under his curse- "may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell"

13. Hosea 9:16 "Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb"

14. Psalm 135:8 "He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast;"

15. Psalm 136:10 "-to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever"

16. 2 Kings 6:28-29 "And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.So we boiled by son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son"

17. Leviticus 26:29 "And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat"

18. Jeremiah 11:22 "Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:"


Stop using your religion to try and push propoganda that "God says abortion is wrong because it kills innocent children." Clearly your God doesn't care about killing children. There is more than enough proof that the Bible and God are NOT pro-life. Stop acting like you're good Christians upholding the values of God when you clearly haven't picked up the Bible and actually read it. God doesn't agree with your backwards thinking. Maybe try do your research before spewing your religious bullshit to try and take away women's rights.

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When Words Are Not Enough

Sometimes you just need to be.

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Life is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. We all desire easy fruitful lives where no one ever dies and no one ever leaves. Instead, we suffer through hardships and great trials that test our faith. These conflicts often leave us worn down and feeling helpless. This is the time when words become a languid breeze, going through one ear and out the other. This is what you should do when words are not enough to satiate the pain you hold in trembling hands.

Focus all your energy into just being. No one expects you to get over the tragedy that occurred in your life, so don't force yourself. Just eat, breathe, and sleep until you feel up to doing normal tasks. Whatever circumstance that has stolen your breath and turned your life upside down won't go a week in a couple of days or a week. Wounds like yours don't go away instantly; instead, they take time and nurturing. Sometimes it's best to keep a sore covered but in some circumstances, know that seeing someone is okay.

These tragedies you face are real, and they try to break down the very substances that make you who you are. Counselors and therapists can help you make sense of the burden you carry. There are many reasons why you might be hesitant to see a therapist, but if the burden you carry becomes too much, a therapist can help you lighten that load.

Know that what you are going through is real and it is tough, but you will make it out on top. You are a survivor and a success story. Every single bad thing that has tried to tear you down hasn't succeeded, and this will be no different. Trust me, your story is not over.

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