Last week, my 17-year-old daughter said to me “Mom, why don’t you write something on your blog about the Parkland shooting?”
I had thought about it before she said it to me, but I didn’t want to write something just to “jump on the bandwagon”. I did not want to make this about me – this is about the kids in that school and their families who are living through this horrific tragedy.
I said this to my daughter.
Since then, I have been thinking about this. I can’t stop thinking about it – I watch everything I can on the news, read every Facebook post, and talk with my family and friends about it. Just like most people, I am absolutely sick over it.
I have changed my thinking over the last few days. I now want to “jump on the bandwagon”. I want to scream from the rooftops that this must stop.
My daughter is a junior in a high school. Her school is not so different from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Some of my daughter’s friends and classmates know students and teachers at that school, some who didn’t survive.
This very well could have been her high school in suburban New Jersey. It could be any high school, anywhere in the country. I don’t care what political party you are in, I cannot imagine how this thought does not terrify every single parent out there.
In the almost two weeks since the shootings, February 14, 2018, my daughter has had a very busy time. She has gone to the junior prom, she celebrated her 17th birthday, she took her road test and got her driver’s license, and we took a few days away to visit one of her top college choices.
It has been a very exciting time for her, but in the back of both of our minds has been the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. She has had many milestones over the past week. Milestones that every child should have and be able to celebrate. This was ripped away from many children and their families 10 days ago. I cannot imagine the pain that these families are going through.
I got off the plane yesterday to a text from a close friend. She asked if my daughter and I would like to join her and her family at a rally being held at a temple in our neighborhood. Some of the survivors from the Parkland shooting would be speaking. I immediately said yes, as did my daughter.
I was so moved listening to these students speak. The way in which they are taking action to help make a change is so admirable. They are fighting for stricter gun control and to eradicate assault weapons so that this will never happen in another school, nightclub, concert, etc. I was proud to be there and will support their cause in any way that I can.
While standing on line to get into the rally this evening, I ran into an old friend. While we were talking, she said to me, “I feel a blog post from you coming on”.
I smiled at her and told her that I had written the first half of this post five days ago, but then put it away. Right then and there, I decided to finish it after the rally.
I am not a politician. I am not an activist. I am just a mom. Now, I am also a writer.
I do not believe that guns have a place in our schools. I do not believe that anyone needs to own an assault rifle.
I am jumping on the bandwagon. I want to be part of the change.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims of the Parkland massacre. You are right. It could be any school. I have a 17-year-old son who had milestones too just like your daughter. Every time I read something about the shooting, I feel my knees weaken and my heart breaking. That kid in the picture is David Hogg, Stoneman Douglas’ news director. He and Emma Gonzales lead the students to rallies and protests against gun violence. Unfortunately, they’ve been a target of a conspiracy theory. And I can’t fathom why people do these to kids for their own gain. The shooter Nikolas Cruz is also a kid, he’s 19. He’s troubled. I hope and wish everybody safety. God bless our children.