Valentine's Day Gun Massacre Leaves 17 Dead at Parkland, FL High School
'Land of the free, home of the brave.' One day, the United States will live up to the rhetoric in its anthem. Days like today remind us that "free" is a relative term. The U.S. is far from a land of free people. People cannot be free while they live in country with gun laws that are so relaxed it causes citizens to live in a constant state of debilitating fear.
Valentine's Day 2018 ended in bloodshed and chaos in Parkland, Florida, when 17 high schoolers and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ("MSDHS") were shot and killed. The weapon of choice was a domesticated weapon of war used in countless mass shootings, the AR-15 assault style rifle. The lone wolf terrorist responsible for the carnage is a teenager and former student of MSDHS.
The student was reportedly expelled from MSDHS but details concerning the expulsion were not disclosed during the press conference. Cowardly shill for the gun lobby, Florida Governor Rick Scott, dodged questions about guns and the havoc they wreak. Every reporter whose question focused on guns, received a boilerplate pivot by Scott claiming 'mental health' as the true culprit. According to Florida state officials, the gunman is currently enrolled in Broward public schools. However, officials we're precluded from releasing his name or providing more information about the individual because of FERPA protections. FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of student education records.
Gun violence is so frequent, it has become a mainstream fixture of U.S. culture. Learning that over a dozen children lost their lives to senseless gun violence, is devastating. No one should leave their home in the morning expecting their day to end in a mass casualty tragedy.
Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut has been laser focused on the issue of gun violence. He appears to be the only member of Congress willing to publicly express opposition to the NRA and gun lobby. A few hours after the shooting, Murphy delivered the following (impromptu) remarks from the floor of the U.S. Senate:
As we speak, there is a horrific scene playing out a high school in South Florida. If you turn on your television right now, your're going to see scenes of children what looks to be the nineteenth school shooting in this country. And we have not even hit March.
I’m coming to floor to talk about something else, but let me just note once again for my colleagues — this happens nowhere else other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting — it only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction.
We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else. As a parent, it scares me to death that this body doesn’t take seriously the safety of my children, and it seems like a lot of parents in south Florida are going to be asking that same question later today. We pray for the families and for the victims. We hope for the best.
When more senators show the same level of courage as Chris Murphy, a shift in perspective on guns will lead to necessary reform.