This was going to be an almost perfect month. I would celebrate with family and friends my 80th birthday, and look forward to my grandniece Michele’s wedding on Feb. 17.
And then it happened — the Parkland School Massacre. And on Valentine’s Day, a day when we celebrate love. Who could imagine such a thing would happen? What kind of motivation did Nikolas Cruz, 19, have to push him over the edge to kill innocent victims — some who had been his classmates?.
I watched the news and saw a grieving mother scream out her anguish at having to plan the funeral of her 14-year-old daughter.
I watched a survivor — another teen — tell how her best friend told her to hold up a book to help keep her safe. The friend was shot and died there as they held hands.
So much pain. So many sad stories. And yet, the pain we feel as human beings watching the news is nothing like the pain the families of the victims are feeling at this moment.
To say that my heart goes out to the families of the victims is not enough. What would be a big help in stopping this kind of pain is for our elected officials to pass laws that would help put an end to such gun violence.
This past weekend, there was a news story about a man who was buying an AR-15, a weapon at the center of debate on gun control. It seems that this is the firearm that is the weapon of choice for mass murderers. It has been used to shoot the innocent before — in Las Vegas; Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Newtown, Connecticut.
This is what he told a reporter, when asked why a 55-year-old man who already owns about 50 guns would want to buy another:
“Because I choose to own them. I have a constitutional right to own them and I choose to exercise that right.”
He accused the media of making the gun “look like it’s evil. ... This [weapon] does nothing by itself. This takes a human being to take the rifle, point it and shoot someone.”
Exactly. But since we can’t screen the people who buy such weapons, why not stop selling them until we have a system that would screen out the people who are most likely to use the firearm to kill another human being?
I don’t know the man in question. As far as I know, he is a good American citizen who is just exercising his constitutional rights. But I can’t help but hope nobody ever makes him angry enough to use his new AR-15 on another human being.
And while I agree that he has a constitutional right to own whatever guns he wants, I can’t help but wonder why that particular firearm?
I think again, about the 17 victims who died in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. They had rights, too. Their parents had rights — they had the right to see their children grow up to be contributing citizens. The brave adults who died had rights, too. One was engaged to be married. Didn’t he have the right to live for his wedding day and to build a life with his bride?
As Americans, we all have rights. I just think it is about time we think about exercising our rights in a responsible manner.
It seems to me that anyone who has heard of the terrible tragedy at Parkland and the mass shootings that happened before, would stop and question himself as to why he or she would need a weapon that is also the choice weapon of mass killers. Just saying.
So today, as we come to the end of what started out to be an almost perfect month, I lay aside my celebrating to grieve with the families of the victims. And while I grieve, I also pray for our lawmakers to do the right thing and help bring about sensible gun control laws. It can’t be that hard to do.
‘The History of Black Miami’
New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church at 1350 NW 95th St. will present “The History of Black Miami” at 7 p.m. Friday. The program will celebrate Black History Month, while depicting various events and people who live and have lived in the Miami area.
During the program, Booker T. Washington Senior High School will be highlighted as the first black high school in Miami. Roberta Daniels, the president of Booker T. Washington’s Alumni Association, and Keitta Givens, New Shiloh’s program director, are asking for all Washingtonians to be present and wear the school colors of orange and black.
The Miami Northwestern Bulls are invited, too, and to wear their school colors of blue and gold. This should be an evening of learning more about our history as well as some friendly rivalry between the Tornadoes and the Bulls.
Kind of reminds me of the old days when the King of Clubs organization sponsored the weekly forums during February, and the Tornadoes and the Bulls competed to have the most students at the forums. Our choirs also competed to see who would sing the best. Those were great times. Let’s do it again. It’s free.
Muslim coalition annual dinner
The Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations (COSMOS), will have its eighth annual dinner at 5:30 p.m. March 4 at the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel, 5101 Blue Lagoon Dr.
The Muslim organization will recognize several distinguished citizens for their role in helping to help make our community a better place for all by advocating peace, mutual respect, and tolerance.
This year’s honorees are: Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marques Gonzalez; and Daniel Alvarez, professor of religion at Florida International University. The Keynote speaker will be attorney Cheryl Little, executive director of Americans for Immigrant Justice.
To RSVP and for more information, call 305-283-2261.
Celebrate Julia Tuttle
To kickoff Women’s History Month, the Women’s History Coalition will have a celebration of the life of Julia Tuttle, the Mother of Miami, at the Miami City Cemetery, 1800 NE Second Ave, which is Tuttle’s final resting place.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez will open the ceremony and historian Paul George will give a brief presentation of the highlights of Tuttle’s life and the cemetery’s history.
The Women’s History Coalition was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and accomplishments of women in Miami-Dade County. The coalition has published two books, “Julia’s Daughters” and “Beyond Julia’s Daughters.” The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
The coalition also honors six Women of Impact each year, women who have made significant contributions to the community. The Women of Impact awards banquet will be held later in March. For more information, go to womenshistorycoalitionmiamidade.org or call 305-460-0157.
Concert at Ancient Spanish Monastery
The board of directors of the Ancient Spanish Monastery Foundation will present The South Beach Chamber Ensemble as a part of its series of presenting “Music in Beautiful Places” at 7:30 p.m. March 6 at the monastery, 16711 W. Dixie Hwy. in North Miami Beach.
The event is also in honor of Women’s History Month and will feature North Miami Beach City Manager Ana M. Garcia as guest speaker. Spoken-word artist Syretta Massey, and Darius Daughtry and String Quartet will also perform.
To RSVP and for more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dr. Janie Greenleaf at 35-610-3840.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email email@example.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.