Parkland, Florida: Out of the Mouths of Babes Comes Hope

Who are the kids and who are the adults in the room? In the aftermath of last week’s school shooting in Florida, the answer to that question has become readily apparent. The horror is terrible. The outrage palpable. Our elected officials culpable.

The resolve of the students and parents of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has taken them en masse from Parkland, Florida to the capitals of our nation and the state capitol of Florida to express their grief, outrage and call for discussion, reform and change. From a ‘lay in’ outside the gates of the White House to presenting today to the Florida Legislature to a nationally broadcast town hall meeting tonight on CNN (including with a spokesperson from the NRA), these bright and determined young men and women are keeping this topic at the forefront of news cycles and our society. For better or worse, the subject of gun control is once again on the public stage with vim and vigor and no sign of abating.

And while politicians offer ‘prayers and condolences,’ the lip service, has, thus far, not equated to change. In fact, the Florida legislature yesterday, egregiously and unbelievably, rejected a move to even consider a bill to ban assault rifles. Many of these elected officials will find themselves face to face today with the kids who have suffered so terribly in recent days and who represent the memories of those lost. Yet, these young people are not voters nor organized to the degree of guns right advocates with deep pockets, voting rights and the backing of powerful lobbyists. Can their passion and emotional appeals break through?  These politicians will listen but not much more unless more pressure with career ramifications is brought to bear.

To his credit, President Trump has indicated a desire to potentially raise the age limit of those who can purchase firearms from 18 to 21 while also calling for new legislation to ban ‘bump stock’ which, in essence, make an automatic weapon semi-automatic. All steps in the right direction. Most also acknowledge that a more robust database to weed out those with mental health issues and histories of violence is paramount along with greater wait and screening timeframes.

Will we finally, as a nation, bring forth reform in order to keep this nation and our children safe? The odds may be stacked against it, but perhaps these high school students will finally help move our ‘bought and paid’ for politicians’ closer to some sort of tipping point. The kids have vowed not to stop until the states and D.C. are held accountable and do the right thing. It’s up to all of us to listen and help. Here’s how: