OpEd: A Massacre Too Close To Home

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Photo credit: Devon Sayers/CNN.

How do you write again about a massacre and mass murder?

How do you reconcile that this time it was not four hours away in Orlando but four miles away in Parkland?

When it’s inevitable that you know someone somewhere who has a friend or relative that has attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School?

Well, what you do, my friends, is if you still can, you rise up, dust yourself off, and fight again. This time, this past week, we have seen a community of angry students do just that. They have not been silenced and quiet. They have stood up angrily, passionately, and politically.

The students of Douglas High are where we were in the hours and days after Pulse. They are saying this can’t happen here; that it can’t happen to us. But it did, and on a sunny weekday in February, their lives have changed forever. But they are fighting back.

A wound that cannot forget is seared into their soul. A youth that was not fully explored was stolen from their lives. An anger and bewilderment that never should have entered their hearts is now a virus they can’t unshackle. But deal with it they must.

Life can be unfair, and last week it most certainly was for the students of Parkland and Coral Springs. Words on our editorial pages cannot erase the pain, but only offer solace and grace to lives lost, families fractured, and loves shattered. The universal truth of a tragedy like this hitting our own zip codes is that it proves yet again we all have so much more in common than we do apart.

Of course any population of 4,000 students will have its share of LGBT brothers and sisters. We don’t necessarily know who right now, but we do know that the Parkland massacre is our own as well. We feel the pain, absorb the loss and question why. Our community centers are open, our counselors are here, and we do, as Equality Florida so quickly did last Saturday, offer our aid and assistance. Where we can help, we will.

None of us are alone, but too many of us are being buried. Assault weapons are for war, not for high schools. Last year, a big shot, newly sworn in president gave a tough inauguration speech asserting that the ‘carnage ends now.’ But it has not, nor has he done much to tame the terror.

Trump has failed to stem the tidal wave of mass shootings. It’s hard to get a think tank meeting every Saturday on the fourth green in a place called Mar-a-Lago. But then he never had a plan or purpose in place other than to promote the pomp and circumstance of his personality and presidency.

The billionaire who said he could stand up to anyone is already held hostage by the gun lobby. What was it he got from them- 33 million? Know this: saluting first responders for getting to the hospital in record time does not stop kids from needing to go to the hospital.

This is not about politics. It’s about efficiency. Trump has made promises he has shown himself woefully incapable of delivering upon. As another body is laid to rest in Parkland today, it is all too clear that Trump comes up short as a unifying leader with a plan to bring our communities together.

The president’s voice has hurt more than healed. His term is more tortured than temperate. He has demeaned the presidency and disgraced the United States. As in San Juan and Houston, his apologies in Parkland are empty and hollow.

It will fall upon this community and its neighbors to make a difference. The first signs are very encouraging, and SFGN joins with the school and its students in coming back from this terrible loss. There are no winners until the bloodshed ends.


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