The CDC reports 1,300 children die from gunshot wounds in the US every year. That is nearly one Sandy Hook shooting per week. Every week. Every month. Every year.
Early yesterday morning, a grandmother arrived at her one-year-old granddaughter’s home to find the infant child shot and killed. She found three other family members shot and killed in the same Brownsville apartment, including a 16-year-old child.
One month ago yesterday afternoon, a gunman took the lives of 17 students and educators at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The day before yesterday, gun reform advocates placed 7,000 shoes on the U.S. Capitol lawn to symbolize the children killed since the taking of 28 lives in the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The CDC reports 1,300 children die from gunshot wounds in the US every year. That is nearly one Sandy Hook shooting per week. Every week. Every month. Every year. Three of the five deadliest shootings in modern US history have occurred in the last year and a half.
Enough is enough.
Our country has a history of being inspired to act by youth leadership.
Yesterday, students across the nation participated in the March for Our Lives. They walked out of school to protest gun violence, to say enough is enough, and to call us all to action. Today, we witness a movement awakening the conscience of our nation. Our country has a history of being inspired to act by youth leadership. As a nation, we are called to take responsibility for the policies we choose and the policies we fail to choose. We should choose the path of common-sense gun reform, including a comprehensive background check system, an end to devices like bump stocks, and a ban on military-style assault rifles. We should choose the path of improving our mental health infrastructure, providing Mental Health 101 training for teachers, and increasing support for school social workers. No policy is a panacea, but taken together these measures will save lives.
Yesterday we saw the agony, the suffering and the ongoing trauma caused by gun violence in communities across our nation transforms into action. Far beyond thoughts and prayers, we are called to act to change our gun culture, to stop the violence and to make our communities safe. Youth across the country carry forward a tradition of peaceful protest to vindicate our rights. The time to stand up for freedom from gun violence is now.
Freedom from gun violence at movie theaters – where 12 lost their lives in Aurora, Colorado in 2012. Freedom from gun violence at schools – where 17 lost their lives in Parkland, Florida last month. Freedom from gun violence at houses of worship – where 26 lost their lives in Sutherland Springs, Texas in November 2017. Freedom from gun violence on university campuses – where 32 lost their lives at Virginia Tech in April 2007. Freedom from gun violence at night clubs – where 49 lost their lives in Orlando, Florida in June 2016. Freedom from gun violence at music festivals – where 58 lost their lives in Las Vegas, Nevada in October 2017.
Enough is enough!