If you have spent more than 5 minutes with me, you know that I have a teenage daughter. She was a much-wanted gift from God in my late thirties, and is the center of my heart.
So when I see videos of children hiding in closets or calling their parents to say what they think is a last goodbye, when I see photos of parents in fear and shock and grief, when I hold my own daughter’s hand as tears roll down her cheeks, my heart literally breaks.
Today, my heart has found some relief.
In Florida, kids and parents have gone on national television to address members of the government and DEMAND gun control. In Washington, DC, local teenagers staged a lie-in yesterday in solidarity with their fellow students in Florida. Kids are walking out of school, forfeiting their education in exchange for a please for the safety of their teacher and classmates. Across the nation, teens are taking to mass media, social media and the streets, speaking as the “Mass Shooting Generation.”
I am so proud. But I am so ashamed.
My daughter was born two years after Columbine. She prayed and cried with me after Sandy Hook. Her school has experienced lockdowns because of credible shooting threats. And still – 17 students and teachers died last week. A seventh grader shot himself at his middle school TODAY.
As parents, as loving adults, as citizens, we have failed our children because THIS CONTINUES TO HAPPEN.
Psalms 8:2 tells us, “From the mouth of infants and nursing babes you have established strength.” And thanks be to God, that is exactly what is happening. Our youth are leading us to peace … and as parents, as teachers, as loving aunt and uncles, as people of faith, it we must support them with our strength, with our experience, our time and our votes.
How can you help?
First, do your research. What position does your own representative or Senator hold on gun control? Go to their website and find out. If it’s not published, sent an email, a letter or a tweet and ask them. Find out from whom they take contributions, because sadly, policy follows cash. If your Senator or representative accepts blood money from the NRA or other pro-firearm associations, it’s time for them to go.
Second, support a lifting of the Dickey Amendment. This 1996 legislation forbade the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using money to “advocate or promote gun control.”
Third, make your voice heard. Call, write, email, Facebook, Twitter … talk to anyone and everyone in government. Tell them that lax gun laws, assault weapons, and most tragically, murdered kids have no place in our nation.
Finally, support the kids who are speaking out with your time and your dollars. Attend the National School Walkout on March 14, the March 4 Our Lives on March 24, and other similar events. Show your face and raise your voice so that if nothing else, lawmakers are shamed into taking action.
Thoughts and prayers are important, but we are also called upon to combine faith with acts. Let us act with love, with peace, and with righteous anger. The lives of our children depend on it. #NeverAgain