Some pictures stay with you. They even break your heart.
Last night while watching the news, I saw some of the videos recorded by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, 40 minutes from my house. The tears kept running down my cheeks. The children documented what they could. Some texted messages of love to their parents in case they did not survive the 18th shooting of the year.
I sobbed out loud with one video. It’s not the video you might expect. When the SWAT team came to rescue the kids sitting in one of the classrooms, they ordered the kids to raise their hands. Everybody obeyed. The video shows all those hands in the air. One pair of hands trembled violently, uncontrollably. Those hands shaking in the air said it all. I felt the terror in that classroom. We do not see faces, but we see the panic.
My little brother just sent me this video of the swat team evacuating his classroom at stoneman douglas. So scary but glad he’s safe. @nbc6 @CBSMiami @NBCNews @wsvn @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/XNTtra221q
— Melody (@Melody_Ball) February 14, 2018
Melody Bell shared this video on Twitter, after saying she received it from her younger brother.
These children were the lucky ones. They survived. But this trauma will be a part of their lives forever. Those who lost children, parents, brothers and friends will never stop hurting. They might learn to live with the pain but their lives will never be the same. A murderer who had access to a semi-automatic weapon turned everything upside down.
I refuse to name the shooter. I will not give him more fame. I will never be able to understand him. But I will name the heroes and victims, like school guard and coach Aaron Feis, who died saving his students.
I have a voice and a vote. I will use both. I’m sick and tired of the phrase “thoughts and prayers.” We need action. Politicians need to top pretending all the blame lies with the murderers who pull the trigger. If those shooters didn’t have access to weapons capable of killing so many people, it is highly unlikely that mass shootings would seem normal. Let me be clear. Mass shootings are not normal. These politicians are more concerned about the NRA’s dollars that finance their campaigns, than school children’s lives. They have refused to enact tougher gun laws even after kindergartners and first graders died at Sandy Hook. After people praying in a church were shot to death. After people were just dancing at a club or attending a country music concert. Those same politicians that declare themselves pro-life, do nothing to defend innocent lives.
Enough is enough! Do you really believe that the right to a semi-automatic machine gun is more important than protecting people’s lives? Who needs a weapon of mass destruction for self-defense? I am not proposing eliminating the right to bear arms. I’m talking about restricting access to weapons designed to cause maximum damage. Those with mental health problems should not be able to buy guns.
It’s time for change. I hope that those who love their children more than guns will vote for people value human life more than the dollars they receive from the NRA. I hope politicians have a conscience and work together to prevent tragedies like the Parkland shooting.
I refuse to give up hope. Our children deserve more than fear and death where they should feel safe.
My heartfelt condolences to everybody who lost a loved one in the Parkland shooting or in previous shootings.
En español: Las manos que temblaban