Speed of Life column: When enough is enough
It was enough on March 24, 1998. Craighead County, Alaska, Westside Middle School, 4 students dead, 1 teacher dead, 10 wounded.
It was enough on April 20, 1999. Littleton, Colo., Columbine High School, 12 students dead, 1 teacher dead, 21 wounded.
It was enough on May 20, 1999. Conyers, Ga., Heritage High School, 6 students wounded.
It was enough on March 5, 2001. Santee, Calif., Santana High School, 2 students dead, 13 wounded.
It was enough on March 21, 2005. Red Lake, Minn., Red Lake Senior High, 5 students dead, 1 teacher dead, 1 security guard dead, 7 wounded.
It was enough on October 2, 2006. Nickel Mines, Penn., West Nickel Mines School, 5 students dead, 5 wounded.
It was enough on April 16, 2007. Blacksburg, Va., Virginia Tech, 32 students and faculty dead, 17 wounded.
It was enough on Feb, 14, 2008. DeKalb, Ill., Northern Illinois University, 5 students and faculty dead, 21 wounded.
It was enough on Feb. 27, 2012. Chardon, Ohio, Chardon High School, 3 students dead, 3 wounded.
It was enough on April 2, 2012. Oakland, Calif., Oikos University, 7 students dead, 3 wounded.
It was enough on Dec. 14, 2012. Newtown, Conn., Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 first grade students dead, 4 teachers dead, 1 principal dead, 1 school psychologist dead.
It was enough on Oct. 1, 2015. Roseburg, Ore., 8 students dead, 1 teacher dead, 9 wounded.
It was enough on Jan. 23, 2016. Marshall County, Ky., Marshall County High School, 2 students dead, 18 wounded.
It was enough on Feb. 14, 2018. Parkland, Fla., Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school, 17 dead, 14 wounded.
Are we listening yet?
It would be hard to “overreact” to this tragic loss of innocent lives and even more tragic, if not criminally negligent, to not act to stop this massacre today.
We worry about leaving the next generation a dying planet made sick by our poison, greed and neglect. If we don't solve gun violence in schools, there will not be a next generation to leave anything to.
It's not a matter of better background checks, banning assault weapons, bump stocks, clips, placing a police resource officer in every school, working with compassionate intelligent gun owners to redefine the Second Amendment, it's all of these and more. This is not a red or a blue issue, it's not a gun owner versus non gun owner issue, it's about students' rights to get an education without the fear of losing their lives or their friends' lives or teachers' lives.
And it's not just students and teachers who are dying, it is friends and neighbors going to work, going to church, going to the movies, going to a club, going to a concert.
Have you ever spoken with a parent whose child did not come home from school, who will never come home from school? Parents who found out on Facebook that their child’s school was on lockdown. A parent who's reading text messages from a son or daughter describing your worst nightmare, the unimaginable happening at your school, and then the texting stops. And with it, shopping for a prom dress, homecoming, graduation, first love, visits to colleges, giving away the bride, the first breath of a grandchild, gone in the blink of an eye, the finger on a trigger stealing lives faster than they can text.
Don't turn off the television, the radio, the phone. Listen to all of it. Force yourself to read the stories of Alyssa Alhadeff, Martin Duque Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet, Jaime Guttenberg, Luke Hoyer. Expose yourself to the pain of parents whose children will never come home, then …. do something about it.
We are NOT powerless to change this!
Children should never have to march for their lives.
Carve time out of your day, your week, every week to email, call or write your legislators until this senseless violence is ended. Walk out of school with your child, stand or sit next to him or her, close your eyes for 17 minutes and imagine what it would be like to not have your son or daughter there next to you ever again. Walk out of your place of business on March 24 at the same time your student walks out of his or her school.
Don't be the shoulder they cry on after the fact, be the shoulder they stand on to change the way we think and the way we protect what is most dear to us.
Tom Lindfors is a reporter for RiverTown Multimedia.