Tag Archives: Parkland shooting

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings Book Review

School used to be a place in which we nurture the minds and futures of the next generation. It has in recent years, become a place of death and heartache.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings, by Loren Kleinman and Amye Archer, was published in 2019. Inspired by a text sent by one of the students who survived the Parkland shooting, the book follows the history of school shootings. Interviewing survivors and family members of the victims, the reader is taken into the emotional heart of the experience and the reverberations that last long into the future.

I really enjoyed this book. It hit me in the right place. I was both angry and sad. I was angry about the lives that were lost. I was sad for the families who would never see their children grow up. What struck me was that most, if not all of the shooters fit into a certain type. They are mostly angry white males who have a grudge and turn to violence to get back at those who they feel have wronged them.

The aspect of the book that has stayed with me was the responses from those who survived Columbine and the other shooting that occurred in the late 1990s. Many of us who were on the verge of adulthood back then are now parents. Though it has been decades since they were nearly killed, hearing the news immediately took them back to that day. It is a reminder that trauma of this kind never truly leaves us, regardless of how many years have passed.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings is available wherever books are sold.

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4 Years Since Parkland and it Still Hurts

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day celebrating love.

For the students, staff, parents, and the general Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community, this day will always be a day of heartbreak and grief. Four years ago Monday, seventeen people were murdered by someone who had no business carrying a gun.

I have no connection to anyone involved, but my heart still breaks the same. The young people whose lives were taken had nothing but a bright future and limitless possibilities in front of them. The adults who were also taken were just doing what they loved: teaching. The only reason that they are not among the land of the living is that some within the United States care more about their firearms than keeping their fellow Americans alive.

Later this year is the 10th anniversary of Sandy Hook. Had this tragic event not happened, the children who were slaughtered would be teenagers. The company that manufactured the weapon that killed the students and their teachers, Remington Arms, will be paying $73 million dollars to nine families of the victims.

We know that this money will not bring back those who were killed or take away the trauma of those who were left behind. If nothing else, it sends a message to gun manufacturers and distributors. If one of your products was used to kill by someone who should not have had access to it in the first place, you will not get off scot-free. You will pay, one way or another.

We cannot go back in time and undo what has been done. But we can honor their memory by preventing another massacre with nationwide and airtight gun laws. Only then, will we be able to allow them to rest in peace and us to finally breathe.

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Thoughts On the Parkland Shooting, Three Years Later

Our high school years are supposed to be our formative years, both inside and outside of the classroom. These are the years we experience many firsts that will impact the rest of our lives.

Three years ago, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, were robbed of those experiences.

Though we cannot go back, we can move forward. We can and should enact national gun laws to keep firearms out of the hands of potential criminals. Those with mental health issues should be treated as those with physical health issues.

May the memories of those killed that day forever be a blessing. Z”l.

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How is Marjorie Taylor Greene Still in Congress?

The idea of becoming a lawmaker to represent and speak for the voters in your area is a noble one. But not everyone who is elected is worthy of the job they have been hired to do by their constituents.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has been in Congress for only a short time. But in that short time, she has become a controversial figure. Being a vocal supporter of you know who and QAnon might have been enough, but it was not. She has claimed that the Parkland and Newtown shootings were staged, has advocated for the murders of Democratic leaders, and blamed the recent wildfires on Jewish space lasers.

Minority leader Kevin McCarthy has stated that he will talk to Representative Taylor Greene about her statements. It will be nothing more than a slap on the wrist. She will likely keep her seat on the education committee and be allowed to continue to spew the poisonous lies that are coming out of her mouth.

A slap on the wrist and is the last thing this woman needs. She is entitled to her opinions, as we all are. However, there is a distinct line between one’s cultural/political perspective and making the type of statements she is making. She must be expelled from Congress if we are move on from the chaos and darkness of the last four years.

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Two Years After the Parkland Shooting, Nothing Has Changed

Since the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999, politicians and multiple Presidential administrations have spoken of, but have not enacted reasonable gun control laws. The result of this inaction is far too many gun massacres since then and an incomparable loss of life.

Today is the second anniversary of the Parkland shooting. When my generation went through Columbine, we were too shocked and sad to do anything. The kids from Parkland, though shocked and sad, did something.

They demanded change. They stood up for their murdered classmates and teachers. They did not back down from politicians who gave them lip service about gun control and the lack of gun control laws. They called out the NRA and the politicians who are in the back pocket of the NRA.

I wish that my generation had been able to use our collective voices as the kids from Parkland and this current generation has. Perhaps things might have been different. But we cannot go back, we can only go forward. Only then we can honor the memory of those lost and protect others from what these kids have experienced.

May the memories of those murdered that day be a blessing to us all. Z”l.

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The Generation That Dies in School

Every generation is known for something.

The generation that lived through the Depression and World War II is known as the Greatest Generation. Their children are the Baby Boomer generation. My generation, otherwise known as Generation Y (aka Millennial’s or echo boomers) is known for the technology that become ingrained in our world.

I am convinced that the current generation that is growing up in 2019 will be the generation that dies in school. Too many young people have died in school shootings over the last few years. The most recent shooting happened earlier today in Colorado. One student was killed and seven were injured.

After Sandy Hook, after Parkland, after the UNC shooting last week, I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Our kids should not be dying in school because of guns. They should be learning so they can one day become responsible and prosperous adults. They should not be afraid to go to school. On the same token, their parents should not be afraid to send their kids to school, not knowing if they will see their kids at the end of the school day.

I have no problem with the 2nd Amendment. I have no problems with people who purchase guns legally, are of sound mind and use their firearms in appropriate situations.

What I do have a problem with is that our leaders continue to allow murders of innocent children in the classrooms to happen. When did the 2nd Amendment and guns become more important than our children?

May the memory of the student killed be a blessing to their loves ones. And may we, once and for all, do something so this generation does not become the one who dies in school.

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Thoughts On the 20th Anniversary of the Columbine School Shooting

20 years ago today, millions of high school students around the country (myself included) walked through the front doors of their high school as they did every school day. By the time the school day ended, 12 students and one teacher were dead in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

It was America’s first school shooting in what was then recent memory. Sadly, as we all know, it would not be the last.

Looking back, I can’t help but feel anger. One mass school shooting should have been enough to galvanize the nation and our leadership to change our gun laws. If New Zealand can change their gun laws after the Mosque shooting last month, why can’t America do the same? If we had, we might have prevented the shootings at Sandy Hook and Parkland.

May the memories of the students and the teacher killed be a blessing and may we finally learn from the past.

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The Real National Emergency is the Epidemic Of Mass Shootings

A year and a day after 17 innocent lives were taken during the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, another 5 innocent lives were stolen.

Yesterday, a gunman killed 5 people in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois. The shooter (who will not be named in this blog post), was on the verge of being fired. The authorities have not released all of the details to the public yet.

Just before this shooting happened, you know who proclaimed that there was a national emergency on our Southern border. The only way to solve the problem was to bypass Congress and waste tax dollars on an unnecessary border wall.

The real national emergency is not on our Southern border, it is the epidemic of gun violence in this country. When it comes to the point of being afraid to go to work, school or live our lives because of the fear of gun violence, something has to be done. We cannot completely abolish the 2nd amendment, but at the same time, we need to make sure that those who have guns are doing so legally and are of sound mind. While authorities have not yet confirmed or denied that the gunman had mental health issues, it is one of the key components that have been the cause many of the mass shooting in recent memory.

I’ve spoken in the past of my memories of the day of the Columbine shooting. At that time, it was an anomaly that should have shocked the nation and our lawmakers into action. But it didn’t and twenty years later, we are paying the price in the blood of innocent Americans.

 

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Thoughts On the First Anniversary Of the Parkland Shooting

One year ago today, the students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started the school day like any other school day. By the time the sun had set, 17 people were dead and many more were injured.

I’ve spoken in previous posts about my memories of the day of the Columbine attack. If only we would have done something back then. If only the gun laws would have been strengthened. If only our treatment of mental illness would have been different. Parkland and the other mass shootings that have occurred might not have happened. But we can only say “if only” in hindsight.

My heart still breaks for the families of those killed, the community at large and for the survivors whose lives were forever changed.

We need common sense gun control laws. While we cannot step on the rights of gun owners who follow the law and are of sound mind, we cannot continue to allow our children to be massacred in their classrooms.

May the memories of those who died one year ago today be a blessing and may we never forget the toll that gun violence takes on all of us.

 

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Do Not Underestimate The Youth, Mike Huckabee

The conventional political wisdom is that young people are either illiterate about politics or frankly don’t give a sh*t. They are more interested in the latest trends and spending time on their phones.

In this case, conventional wisdom is wrong.

The other day music superstar Taylor Swift publicly announced via Instagram that she is supporting Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, two Democratic nominees who are running for office in Tennessee. As a result, 65,000 citizens registered to vote. Former Presidential candidate and current Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee sniped back via Twitter that 13-year-old girls cannot vote and threw his support behind Marsha Blackburn, Mr. Bredesen’s opponent.

We all know that 13-year-old children cannot vote. But they have older siblings, cousins and neighbors who are of age to vote.

What Mr. Huckabee forgets is the power of young people voting and using their political muscle. If the survivors of the Parkland shooting had not used their collective rage/voice to remind this country of the true cost of gun violence, it would have become just another school shooting that most of us would have forgotten by now.

Young people have the power to change the world, to fix the mistakes of their elders. They also have the ability to vote out any politician whom they believe is not doing the job that voters elected them to do.

While celebrity endorsements, especially of politicians can be a little iffy sometimes, they have the reach that a politician may not have.

I think, perhaps Governor Huckabee would be wise to mind his words, especially if he plans to run again for Governor. He may find out on election day that he is out of a job, because of the young people.

 

 

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