Last Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, started off as an ordinary day. Adults went to work, children went to school and up until the middle of the afternoon, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
By the time the sun set, February 14th, 2018 would become an extraordinary day, but not in the way that many of us would imagine an extraordinary day to be. At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 14 students and three staff members were killed by a former student.
The reverberation of the loss of 17 innocent people seems to have finally touched a nerve with the American public. While gun control has remained a hot topic on both sides of the political aisle for far too long, most, if not all attempt of legislating common sense gun control has died before it can be signed into law.
But things are about to change.
On March 24th, the March For Our Lives will be occurring across the country. Started by the students who lost their friends and teachers, it is their anger and grief that will hopefully convince those in power to stop taking money from the NRA and do what is right for the country.
If you can march, please do so. If you can’t march, but still want to participate, please donate. The future of our country and our children depends on it.
Imagine this, if you will: In an ordinary suburb in an ordinary town in America, a former student walks into what was his high school, pulls the fire alarm and start shooting at the students and teachers as they leave their classrooms. By the time the police arrive, 17 are dead, most of them students. The next day, the President gives a tone-deaf speech to the nation, blaming mental illness and the lack of information provided to law enforcement that might have prevented the shooting. He does not mention the elephant in the room, which is that a teenager was able to legally purchase a weapon made for war.
He makes the perfunctory visit to meet the survivors recovering in the hospital and to meet the police officers who rushed to the school to stop the killer.
Then, what does he do, do you ask? Does he personally visit the families of those who were killed? Does he attend the funerals, providing as much support as much he can to heartbroken parents and siblings? Does he rally Congress to finally enact common sense gun laws that protect innocent civilians while respecting the rights of lawful gun owners?
No. He goes golfing. Ironically, this golf course, which is being played at his private golf course, is not too far from where teenagers are being buried and heroic staff members are being eulogized by the students whose lives they saved.
I guess the President’s golf game is more important than the lost lives of teenagers.
The American democracy, as it has stood for centuries is defined by one statement:
“Of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The problem is that some politicians or those who aspire to become politician sometimes forget that it is voting public who is in charge, not the other way around.
Earlier this year, conservative writer David Frum released his new book, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. In the book, he describes that since the 2016 Presidential election, the fundamental tenets of American democracy are being undermined. Standard political practices and long-held beliefs about how the country should be run are slowly disappearing, only to be replaced by a President who cares more about his own image than he does the people who voted him into office.
Mr. Frum is surprisingly not a liberal. He is a conservative. But he is so clear in this book that Trump, his administration and his cronies are not in office to serve the American people, but to line their pockets.
I absolutely recommend it.
Most, if not all of us, have a moment of reckoning, whether on a personal level or a larger cultural/societal level.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday that killed 14 teenagers and 3 staff members dead is our national moment of reckoning.
The question that we all must answer is a difficult one: do we continue the useless cycle of reaction to mass gun violence or do we actually grow a pair and do something?
The fact that the shooter, who is only 19, was easily able to get his hands on an AR-15 assault rifle, despite the warning signs and the information the FBI had is more than appalling. It is disgusting and alarming to consider that the FBI had the information they needed to prevent the loss of 17 innocent lives and did nothing to stop it.
It is also a moment of reckoning for you know who and the voting public. It happened under his watch and if he continues to be tone-deaf about the subject (meanwhile tweeting continuously about the updates to the Russia investigation), I have a feeling that voters will not soon forget his inaction.
It is finally a moment of reckoning for the survivors and the grieving families of the victims. The kids who miraculously survived the attack are not only angry, but will be of age to vote in the next few years or have recently become of age to vote. They will be the ones who will finally stop this endless cycle of mass shootings and create gun laws that make sure another school shooting never happens again.
The shooting yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead reminded us that once more we must publicly grieve the loss of innocent lives due to unnecessary gun violence.
In addressing the nation this morning, you know who put much of the blame on the shooter’s mental illness. He did not mention that the shooter was able to legally purchase a weapon is meant to be used on the battlefield and not in every day civilian life.
I have two problems with this statement:
- Millions of people around the world (myself included) suffer from mental illness. Only a tiny fraction of us spiral down into murdering innocents, but the news reports would make it seem like mental illness is the only reason for the shooting. Unlike other medical conditions, mental illness carries a stigma. Using mental illness as a framing device for any mass shooting, regardless of the state of mind of the shooter is counterproductive in erasing the stigma and helping those who are suffering.
- I know it’s been said every which way for a generation, but we need reasonable gun laws now. We needed them yesterday and the day before, but some of those in power are continuing to turn a deaf ear to the cries of the survivors and the loved ones of the victims. But while they are turning a deaf ear to the voting and grieving public, they seem to have no problem accepting money from the NRA.
My heart breaks for the survivors and the victim’s families. There are no words we can use to bring back their loved ones and dry their tears. But there are laws that can be put on the books and enforced to prevent another mass shooting and we can stop using mental illness as a crutch for mass shootings.
The question is, are we willing to do so or will we continue to see lives lost for no reason?
April 20th, 1999 is a day that will forever live in my memory. It was the spring semester of my senior year of high school. The day was comfortable and ordinary. I went to school, came home and was doing my homework like any other student.
Then the news of the Columbine shooting spread like wildfire across the country. Back then, it was an anomaly that should have once and for all changed the way we view and legislate gun laws in this country. Nearly 20 years later, Columbine has sadly become the first of one too many school shootings where innocent lives are lost.
There was another school shooting today. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Broward County, Florida. 17 people walked into the school building today and left in body bags. The accused killer is Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who was forced out of the school for disciplinary reasons. Somehow, he got his hands on an AR-15, which is a weapon of war and decided get revenge by killing 17 innocent people.
I don’t know when this will stop. I only know that we are killing a generation of kids who might change the world for the better.
As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that one of the hallmarks of adulthood is to place blame where it belongs and not place blame where it is easiest to place.
Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial dropped to numbers that have not been seen in seven years. Fox News anchor Sean Hannity announced that the reason the numbers fell so low is because of President Obama.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am tired of the right pointing fingers. Stop blaming Hillary Clinton and stop blaming President Obama. Neither of them are in the White House. I’m not a professional journalist, but even I know that real journalism does not consist of pointing fingers and blaming someone else because they are on the end of the the political aisle.
If this country wants to move forward, we have to stop pointing fingers and find a way to work together. Unfortunately, some people, especially in the media and in the halls of our government find it easier to point fingers, which in the end, helps nobody.
Tony Tinderholt is a Republican member House Of Representatives from Texas.
He also wants to not only throw women in jail who have had abortions, but he wants to take away their voting rights.
This man makes my skin crawl. Not only does he want to set us back to pre Roe V. Wade days, he also wants to take us back to the 19th century.
What he forgets (and so does everyone else who is anti-abortion), is that sex, whether for pleasure or for procreation requires two people. If a couple has sex without protection, finds themselves pregnant and the woman chooses to have an abortion, why must only the woman suffer? It was the man’s sperm that met the woman’s egg, therefore he must suffer the consequences as well. While Mr. Tinderholt also proposes in the law to punish men whose partners/spouses have had abortions, he still needs to get his head out of the clouds.
Would he deny an abortion to a sixteen year old who stupidly had sex without protection and whose life will be forever changed if she chooses to become a mother? Would he really add another case to child services workload by forcing a mother who is already financially strapped and relies on government assistance to get by? Would he be so cold to force a rape or incest victim to carry her attacker’s child and raise it as if it as if the child came out a healthy, loving relationship?
This mas has no heart and needs to come back to Earth.
It’s no secret that the Trump Presidency has been one of the divisive and controversial in modern American history.
Michael Wolff‘s new expose, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, takes the average voter behind the scenes into the chaos of the administration.
With unprecedented access, Mr. Wolff makes some startling and scary revelations. Some of the revelations include how volatile Trump is, what his staff thinks of him and the real reason why James Comey was fired.
I was completely floored by this book. I was floored because if the allegations of what is happening behind closed doors is true, then this country is in the crapper. We elected a man who not only has no experience in politics, but is unwilling/unable to learn from those around him who have the experience and has the temperament/maturity of a ten-year old.
I absolutely recommend it.
There is a special place in h*ll for those who sexually abuse children for their own pleasure.
Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the United States women’s national gymnastics team, has been sentenced for up 175 years in prison for molesting 150 women and girl over the last twenty years. The only way he will leave prison after sentencing is in a body bag.
While I am beyond thrilled that Dr. Nassar will be getting his just desserts, I am in awe of the women who stepped forward and faced down the man who destroyed their childhoods.
What bothers me, as I am sure that it bothers a lot of other people, is why it took two decades for the truth to come into the light and for Dr. Nassar to be charged. This is not a topic, especially in a large organization that stays hidden under the rug. Someone higher up in either USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University had to have heard something. Rumors, especially of this nature, get around.
I have three hopes/wishes for this moment in history. The first hope/wish is that Dr. Nassar’s sentencing allows his victims to heal and live as full a life as they can. The second hope/wish is that this will induce legislation on the local, state and national levels to ensure that monsters like Dr. Nassar are stopped before they can ruin lives and kill the innocence in our children while they are still children. The third and final hope/wish that organizations will learn from the mistake of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University and enact and/or enforce rules that make it clear that sexual harassment will not tolerated.