How do I begin? Every time I read a story, watch a TV interview or the Town Hall meeting or see a video about the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School I begin to cry. I don’t even know anyone who died, was injured or lived in Parkland. Yet it affected me and countless others, triggering emotional and verbal responses.
This tragedy parallels 9/11 in some ways:
MURDER - CHAOS - TRAUMA - FIRST RESPONDERS - FEAR - GRIEF - PTSD - ACTION
Just as men and women went off to work on that beautifully clear late summer day in New York, students and teachers left their homes on February 14 assuming they were facing a typical day at school with the added joy of it being a holiday acknowledging LOVE.
After 9/11 people feared traveling in general, internationally, by plane, in subways, across bridges and entering tall buildings. Now students, near and far, are experiencing fear of safety in their own schools.
And there has been action! The students who survived the traumatic day at their school are speaking out and carrying signs. Their voices are strong, their messages clear and they are gathering support from teens across the country and from prominent adults as well.
In his February 18 article, “Is It Time, Again?”posted on LinkedIn, Stephen Gray Wallace (author, speaker, consultant) reminds us that students at Wayland High School in Massachusetts founded SADD in 1981 after two of their fellow students died as a result of impaired driving only a few days apart. That decision led to the creation of 10,000 chapters all over the country, resulting in over 60% less alcohol related teen deaths in just over 10 years.
Will the students from Stoneman Douglas HS be able to bring about the change to end school violence? Fred Guttenberg, the bereft father of Jaime, when interviewed February 22 on “Morning Joe” shared that a week ago “my soul was shattered”, but…” because of people reaching out and stepping up my hope is restored…because of these kids my faith is restored…they are strong…they are fierce. These kids are my hope.”
May those who are grieving and have been traumatized by all past school shootings heal and have the strength and courage to effect change. May they experience feelings of hope rather than despair.