Focus on what matters, our kids, not politics #DouglasStrong

Last Wednesday, the unthinkable happened. Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Except, what should be unimaginable, an anomaly, isn’t so much anymore.

Since 2013, there have been 290 school shootings, per reporting from Everytown for Gun Safety. In 2018 alone, 18 incidents of schools occurred in our country. These numbers are ridiculous, horrifying, and tragic. Schools are meant for learning, not battling bullets. Shootings on school grounds are now the norm for pupils, whether accidental or intentional, per the breakdown of incidents referenced by Snopes based on Everytown statistics.

Per usual, our politicians offer their “thoughts and prayers.” And per usual, there is the backlash from pro-gun control advocates that “thoughts and prayers,” is an inadequate response to a dire situation. For pro-gun control advocates, a massacre of our children is unacceptable and should cease to exist.

On the other side, second amendment advocates grip and howl at gun control supporters, accusing gun control supporters of being ill-equipped to discuss gun laws, considering the media’s parade of supposedly passing misinformation on what constitutes an automatic weapon vs. a semi-automatic weapon.

Furthermore, pro-gun advocates accuse the liberal media of biases, charging them with forfeiting journalism for activism, as S.E. Cupp recently opined. Salaciously, gun control advocates are charged with being anti-second amendment, and as salaciously, pro-gun control advocates are scorned with the reputation of caring more for the National Rifle Association (NRA) than children.

Amidst all the debates, misunderstandings, and illogical frustrations are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL.) waste-of-time defense against the media criticism of his stance on gun laws: “also hear how media again tries to inflame by falsely claiming I said, ‘more gun laws won’t do anything’ Real quote? ‘more gun’s law ALONE,’’ he tweeted. Sen. Rubio, I understand that you’re in a tough spot, in the lion’s den, but you need to shift focus. Instead of worrying about perceptions and quotes, focus on what truly matters: the children.

And to gun control and second amendment advocates, you too must focus on the children. They are what’s matter. Quibbling about who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to gun laws and access isn’t going to wipe away the trauma for these kids.

Of course, we need robust and honest conversations, addressed civilly. We need hard discussions about the breakdown in communication between the FBI and law authorities. We need fierce debates about what qualifies as mental illnesses to warrant a restriction on accessing guns. What qualifies a person to be placed on the terrorist watch list? What does a background check involve, and is it logical? What weapons logically make for good protection vs. warfare? Why do countries with sticker gun laws have less gun violence than the United States?

But first and foremost, we need a huge dose of reality because America’s children are traumatized. Parents are burying their child. Teenagers are attending a friend’s funeral. And it’s not an anomaly but the norm, as already said, but bears repeating. Here’s the truth, children are growing up in a world of constant trauma from gun violence.

Dear adults: We all should be ashamed.

While we’re busy languishing in divisiveness, our kids are in real pain, and they are practically screaming at us to listen, so let’s act on the art of being a supportive figure.

Listen to the Douglas kids, who are ad nauseam expressing themselves on Twitter:

@jkatzO: “Attending one funeral in one day is already a tough task…Today I had to mourn the loss of TWO of my friends at each of their funerals.”

@ohstephany: “I can’t unsee what I saw today or unhear those shots. He did something that will stick with us forever, and I hate that. Praying for everyone: victims, friends, classmates, administrators, everyone. #DouglasStrong.”

@madigoodman: “I don’t think I have ever been so petrified in my life…I am still shaking. Nobody should ever have to go through what me and my friends did. #DouglasStrong.”

@jaydenbeirr: “Today I lived in a nightmare. I can’t believe what has happened at my school today & this will forever be the scariest, worst day of my life. Please send prayers to my school. I didn’t wake up today knowing that I was going to hide in a closet feared for my life. #douglasstrong.”

Do those words break your heart, like they do mine? For one minute, just one minute, can we put aside our agenda and listen to our kids? Their mourning is real. Their pain is significant. For once, let’s put politics aside and walk themLast Wednesday, the unthinkable happened. Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Except, what should be unimaginable, an anomaly, isn’t so much anymore.

Since 2013, there have been 290 school shootings, per reporting from Everytown for Gun Safety. In 2018 alone, 18 incidents of schools occurred in our country. These numbers are ridiculous, horrifying, and tragic. Schools are meant for learning, not battling bullets. Shootings on school grounds are now the norm for pupils, whether accidental or intentional, per the breakdown of incidents referenced by Snopes based on Everytown statistics.

Per usual, our politicians offer their “thoughts and prayers.” And per usual, there is the backlash from pro-gun control advocates that “thoughts and prayers,” is an inadequate response to a dire situation. For pro-gun control advocates, a massacre of our children is unacceptable and should cease to exist.

On the other side, second amendment advocates grip and howl at gun control supporters, accusing gun control supporters of being ill-equipped to discuss gun laws, considering the media’s parade of supposedly passing misinformation on what constitutes an automatic weapon vs. a semi-automatic weapon.

Furthermore, pro-gun advocates accuse the liberal media of biases, charging them with forfeiting journalism for activism, as S.E. Cupp recently opined. Salaciously, gun control advocates are charged with being anti-second amendment, and as salaciously, pro-gun control advocates are scorned with the reputation of caring more for the National Rifle Association (NRA) than children.

Amidst all the debates, misunderstandings, and illogical frustrations are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL.) waste-of-time defense against the media criticism of his stance on gun laws: “also hear how media again tries to inflame by falsely claiming I said, ‘more gun laws won’t do anything’ Real quote? ‘more gun’s law ALONE,’’ he tweeted. Sen. Rubio, I understand that you’re in a tough spot, in the lion’s den, but you need to shift focus. Instead of worrying about perceptions and quotes, focus on what truly matters: the children.

And to gun control and second amendment advocates, you too must focus on the children. They are what’s matter. Quibbling about who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to gun laws and access isn’t going to wipe away the trauma for these kids.

Of course, we need robust and honest conversations, addressed civilly. We need hard discussions about the breakdown in communication between the FBI and law authorities. We need fierce debates about what qualifies as mental illnesses to warrant a restriction on accessing guns. What qualifies a person to be placed on the terrorist watch list? What does a background check involve, and is it logical? What weapons logically make for good protection vs. warfare? Why do countries with sticker gun laws have less gun violence than the United States?

But first and foremost, we need a huge dose of reality because America’s children are traumatized. Parents are burying their child. Teenagers are attending a friend’s funeral. And it’s not an anomaly but the norm, as already said, but bears repeating. Here’s the truth, children are growing up in a world of constant trauma from gun violence.

Dear adults: We all should be ashamed.

While we’re busy languishing in divisiveness, our kids are in real pain, and they are practically screaming at us to listen, so let’s act on the art of being a supportive figure.

Listen to the Douglas kids, who are ad nauseam expressing themselves on Twitter:

@jkatzO: “Attending one funeral in one day is already a tough task…Today I had to mourn the loss of TWO of my friends at each of their funerals.”

@ohstephany: “I can’t unsee what I saw today or unhear those shots. He did something that will stick with us forever, and I hate that. Praying for everyone: victims, friends, classmates, administrators, everyone. #DouglasStrong.”

@madigoodman: “I don’t think I have ever been so petrified in my life…I am still shaking. Nobody should ever have to go through what me and my friends did. #DouglasStrong.”

@jaydenbeirr: “Today I lived in a nightmare. I can’t believe what has happened at my school today & this will forever be the scariest, worst day of my life. Please send prayers to my school. I didn’t wake up today knowing that I was going to hide in a closet feared for my life. #douglasstrong.”

Do those words break your heart, like they do mine? For one minute, just one minute, can we put aside our agenda and listen to our kids? Their mourning is real. Their pain is significant. For once, let’s put politics aside and walk them through their grief to healing.

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