My Fellow Americans,
I remember a day when school shootings weren’t just another headline. Unfortunately, those days have passed.
With the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, we are given another opportunity, our fifth since the start of 2018, to rigorously inspect our society’s flaws.
We cannot let Alyssa, Jaime, Martin, Gina, Joaquin, Meadow, Luke, Alex, Peter, Carmen, Nicholas, Alaina, Cara, and Helena die in vain.
The task ahead of us cannot be taken lightly. We must practice diligence. Each time we fail at this endeavor we are responsible for placing more child-sized caskets in the ground.
A gun lobbyist’s dollar and a constituent’s vote should not hold more weight than a parent’s tears and their child’s blood. And a political victory against guns should not be the goal.
Just as the heroic faculty, Aaron, Scott, and Chris, sacrificed self-interest to save others, we must do the same.
For my fellow Senators with pro-gun platforms, we must realize that although guns are not the sole problem, they are a vehicle with which our society’s demons wreak havoc. We need to enact legislation that restricts ownership of certain styles of firearms, over-sized magazines, ammunition over a certain quantity, and unnecessary modification items. We must put in place a comprehensive licensing system to ensure people are trained and physically and mentally capable in their use and ownership of firearms.
But for my fellow Senators with an anti-gun platform, we cannot let this simply become a war on guns, or we will watch in stunned horror as future headlines flash across our screens.
We need to address the flaws in our healthcare system. The government and private sector must make access to mental health care easier and more affordable. Ensuring health insurance plans cover mental health care is a must. We need to pass and protect legislation forcing health insurance issuers to treat mental health and substance abuse needs similar to physical health and surgical needs.
We need to spend time and money researching why our children are more desensitized to killing their fellow humans than ever before.
We need the public and private sectors to work together to develop defensive technology such as security systems with ranged firearm identification capabilities, automatic lockdown and law enforcement notification capabilities, etc., and we need to ensure it’s purchased and installed in our schools.
We need our law enforcement agencies to carefully analyze what they missed and create systems to ensure it never happens again. If it was caused by negligence or wrongdoing, a punishment should be swiftly administered.
And finally, our media must reevaluate how they report on these incidents. When a streaker runs nude across a football field, the NFL and partnering media do everything in their power to deny them camera time. By not giving recognition the act becomes worthless. Why then, when we have a school shooting do we devote hours of airtime to the event, detailing any “records broken”, replaying the horror of the act over and over, and profiling the perpetrator giving them their own version of fame? Is it ridiculous to think a hurting kid looking for the best method of revenge or a spectacular way out takes notice of the “stardom” given?
Bottom line, I ask my fellow Senators to not let these incidents become Red vs. Blue or pro-gun vs. gun-control. The list above is only one Senator’s thoughts; think of the power we’d have if all 101 of us came together to solve this.
It’s time for more than our thoughts and prayers.
51st Senator of these great United States
Currently serving 38th term
“Coffee is hot” disclaimer: Senator Cinicinnatus is a fictional character used to replicate what it would be like to have politicians who actually fight for the country and their constituents, not their party.