I am a parent. We raised four children. I love them passionately, unconditionally, as I do their children and their grandchildren. I cannot imagine, cannot place myself in the shoes of the parents of 14 children in Parkland, Fla. I ache for those parents. My heart bleeds for them. How do they get through every day?
They sent their children to school, their bright kids with a lifetime of promise, a world to change, a life to live. Their children are gone. Just ... gone. They will never see the promise fulfilled. They will never make peace with the mistakes they made. They will never hold grandchildren in their arms. The kids are ... gone. Forever. It’s over. No prom, no graduation, no wedding. Nothing. Gone. I want to see those parents, hold them, tell them how I ache for them. How I wish there were something, anything that I can do. I want to make it better. My brother and my son each suffered the loss of a child. There can be no deeper grief in this world. There must be something I — no, you and I — can do.
There is. We can say, enough! Not one more child, not one more empty room, bed, chair, future, heart. The surviving children are leading the way.
We can hear them. We can applaud them. And we can demand action from the lawmakers we hire to work for us. I do not advocate banning guns, though I must admit the more the gun lovers resist the more I fear that might be the only way. For now, I want to see the children protected by every means we do have. We can ban assault rifles. We can commission studies of gun violence. We can expand and support background checks and remove loopholes. We can enforce sharing of information. We can create a legal, constitutional means of restraining people who should not have guns; i.e., a speedy means of getting court orders to remove guns from a household that may pose a risk of violence, without violating any law-abiding citizens’ rights. Domestic abusers do not need guns. Children with diagnosed illnesses, such as fetal alcohol syndrome, should not have guns. Studies will produce more answers.
Let’s never see another child return home to his parents in a casket because of gun violence.
Never. Not ever again. Never.