It’s been more than a week since a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, murdered 17 people and ignited an anger unlike any I have ever seen in South Florida.
But I beg of you all, stay angry.
If you say mental health was to blame, stay angry that Florida ranks 50th for funding of mental health services. Let anger fuel your support of groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Help them push lawmakers, and the president, whose current budget would cut mental health programs, to follow through on their rhetoric and invest in mental health.
If you think better gun laws could have prevented this massacre, stay angry. It’s maddening that in the state of Florida, an AR-15 is easier to buy than a handgun.
Help nonpartisan organizations such as Moms Demand Action pass common-sense gun laws.
If, like me, you believe limited mental health services, antiquated gun policies, underfunded public schools, single-issue voting and a democracy strangled by special interests did this, stay angry.
Vote with your head and your heart, not your wallet. Work toward change until it’s made. However long it takes.
We all have blood on our hands from past inaction.
We must stay angry.
Don’t give up
As Florida and the rest of the country mourn the horrific massacre that took the life of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a glimmer of hope seems to be on the horizon. It is the incredible and collective call to action taken by students and parents.
Those who know Florida’s history and who remember the invincible Marjory Stoneman Douglas and her long years of struggle to save the Everglades, see in these children and parents the same commitment to change what must be changed once and for all — the abominable gun laws in this country.
Whenever the going gets tough, I want the students to remember the person this school was named after and never give up. She never gave up. Let the memory and legacy of Stoneman Douglas be the wind beneath your wings. You will succeed.
And remember, you are not alone. There are so many of us in South Florida ready to join the movement.
Don’t vilify officer
Those who are vilifying Scot Peterson, the school resource officer who did not immediately charge into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, should ask themselves what they would have done in his position. His life has been ruined for waiting four minutes while making radio contact with his department.
Running into the building armed with a pistol and no backup to confront someone with a rapid-fire, high-powered rifle before properly evaluating the situation, might have been the heroic thing to do, but there is a fine line between heroism and suicide. Even if he wore a bullet-proof vest, it would not have stopped a .223-caliber bullet. We might have the right to ask for heroism, but we do not have the right to demand suicide.
It looks like he’s being scapegoated to divert attention from other shortcomings in this case. It also throws cold water on the magical powers of a “good guy with a gun” in a school setting.
Cops get scared, too
The sooner America stops thinking of cops as superheroes the better off everyone will be. Cops are ordinary people. They are not especially smarter, better looking or braver than the rest of us. When cop enters a dangerous situation alone, he is scared. There is no guarantee he will be brave, even if he has been brave a hundred times before.
The cop who failed to enter the Parkland school and confront the shooter discovered what many warriors discover. The more you have to lose, the harder it is to risk your life.
I’ll bet the officer was close to retirement, was married and was putting kids through college. Who was going to care for his kids if he died? Being called a hero is worthless if you’re dead. The older a warrior gets, the tighter he clings on to life. Sadly, everyone lost.
We need campaign finance reform.
Private wealth and the power of the pocket have become more important than honest representation. Elections have become a sick competition of who can raise the most money. Elected officials are beholden to their donors.
There needs to be a limit to donations, and a cap on the spending.
Perhaps if Sen. Marco Rubio were not receiving more than $3 million from the NRA, he would be more inclined to listen to his constituents’ pleas.
We need elected officials working together for the good of the people they represent.
Barbara Sirkin, Miami
In the wake of the Parkland massacre, President Trump has proposed arming classroom teachers. But does that go far enough?
Following his logic, wouldn’t it be better to arm all the students as well? That way, there would be even more firepower to overcome an assailant.
Ira Licht, Miami
Sen. Marco Rubio, no one of any age needs assault weapons. These weapons are only meant to kill many people at once. They should be banned except for the military and the police.
North Miami Beach
The mid-term elections in November can be a turning point in changing the country’s political makeup. Principled, passionate and rational candidates can be elected to replace the incumbents who have sold their soul to the NRA.
And, high school students can be the force behind this change as we are seeing as a result of the Parkland tragedy.
In Florida, teens as young as 16 can register to vote and cast their ballots at the age of 18.
I urge all eligible teenagers who are rightly outraged at politicians’ refusal to even discuss firearm reforms to register to vote now.
And in November, vote for those candidates who will stand up for a safe future free of weapons of war in civilian hands.
Who benefits from assault weapon sales? Follow the money!
The primary benefactors are gun manufacturers, arms sellers and merchants, the NRA and all our political representatives who receive donations.
Now our president wants to sell more guns to teachers to protect students?
We are not sure how, or if, this will help students or teachers, but one thing is for sure: There will be many more millions of dollars for those who benefit from assault weapon sales.
How many more lives will be lost to greed?