2018-02-18 / Editorial

Enough is enough when people demand change to end killing

It has happened again, another mass casualty shooting in the United States. Seventeen people, mostly students, were killed on Valentine’s Day at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

When is enough, enough?

With tears rolling down her face, a distraught mother screamed into a microphone, glared into a camera, and begged President Donald Trump to address the nation’s deadly mass shooting epidemic. “President Trump, please do something! We need it now! These kids need safety now,” she cried. Her 14-year-old daughter was one of those killed Wednesday.

Just seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at U.S. schools that have resulted in injury or death.

This week’s tragedy in Florida brought chills to Lapeer County law enforcement, parents, students and school administrators. Our community has so far escaped the horror of a school shooting. But false threats and active shooter drills at our county’s schools remind us Lapeer County is not immune to that horror.

Florida Congressman Bill Nelson on Wednesday said, “Are we coming to expect these mass shootings to be routine? And then after every one we say ‘enough is enough’ and then it continues to happen?”

Thoughts and prayers are not enough to stop the senseless carnage in our nation’s schools and communities. There must be action, on several fronts.

There needs to be more resources made available nationwide to identify and treat people who may be mentally ill before they harm themselves or someone else.

There needs to be consensus and action on how to make our children’s schools safer from the threat of the gun-wielding individuals who would murder our children in their classrooms. If it takes armed guards and metal detectors at every school in America, so be it. Get it done.

But there also must be discussion about the weapons, and access to those weapons, that consistently kill and maim innocent Americans, including students in their school buildings.

The suspect in the Florida school shooting bought the AR-15-style rifle used in the attack legally a year ago. Federal law allows people 18 and older to legally purchase long guns, including this kind of assault weapon.

From an Orlando nightclub, to a Texas church and a Las Vegas concert, and now to a Florida high school, some of this country’s worst mass shootings share a chilling characteristic — the weapon of choice was a military-style AR-15. The same type of gun used by the shooter on Wednesday has been used in at least 10 mass shootings since 2011.

Congress has refused to tighten restrictions on gun ownership, even after 20 children and six educators were massacred in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. We asked then, if not now, when?

Fast forward five-plus years and nothing has changed.

When is enough, enough?

The answer is when people demand change from their lawmakers in Lansing and Washington. How many more kids have to die? How high does the body count have to go before people say, enough?

At a press conference on Thursday, following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Broward County School Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said, “I will tell you that students have been reaching out to me … saying that now, now is the time for this country to have a real conversation about sensible gun control laws in this country.” He continued, “I hope we can get it done in this generation. But if we don’t, they will.”

We may not all agree on the exact course of action, but surely, we must agree that action is necessary. Let us then call up our representatives, congressmen and senators and demand that they find a way to take the first steps toward positive change.

What a shame it would be if, within a few days of this latest mass slaughter of our children, we return to our day-to-day lives and defer the responsibility action to the very generation that we should be set on protecting.

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