Today there are 17 grieving families who have lost a child they most cherished to gun violence. Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida joins the long list of schools that have experienced gun violence. Currently we know that 15 other students were wounded. We mourn and extend our expressions of condolence to the families, the students, teachers and the community of Parkland, Florida. And at this moment we must also be aware that every parent in America who has lost a child or a family member to gun violence relives those wrenching moments of their loss for the rest of their lives. Knowing you will never see your child live a full life, knowing you will never to feel the arms of your loved one around you.
The shooting of children in school should be unthinkable or unimaginable, but in America they are not. Today’s school shooting in Florida was the 18th in the United States in the first 44 days of 2018. More than two-thirds of schools regularly practice lockdowns or active shooter drills. Once again our nation is experiencing shock, numbing grief and profound sorrow because of gun violence. Is this what defines America? “Americans must find the courage to imagine a country where these massacres do not occur,” stated former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) addressed the Senate floor about the mass shooting: “Let me just note once again for my colleagues…We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”
“It’s long past time for our nation’s leaders to muster the focus, the outrage, and the courage to do something about this public health and safety crisis.” — PAGV (Prosecutors Against Gun Violence) on Parkland school shooting.
There are those who will say that now is not the time to talk about banning assault weapons or the AR-15, the type gun used by the shooter. If not now when? Sandy Phillips, who lost her beloved daughter in the Aurora massacre said, “I don’t want any more sorry or prayer — I want action!!!
If you have finally reached that moment when you are ready to take action in your community, we invite you to join with Coalition Against Gun Violence, a Santa Barbara County Coalition, www.sbcoalition.org and #HonorWithAction contact your legislators:
1. Call Senator Feinstein: California (415) 393-0707) Washington DC (202) 224-3841 Say you support: S. 2095 Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines
2. Call Congressman Salud Carbajal (California) (805) 730-1710 Washington DC (202) 225-3601 Say you support H.R. 2598 Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) and the Senate Companion bill S. 1212.
3. In your call to Congressman Carbajal say you also support H.RL 4240 Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017. He is a co-sponsor on this bill.
On Friday, February 16, CAGV’s TVSB “Guns in Our Society” show will feature Santa Barbara School Board member Isamel Paredes Ulloa, Goleta School Board member Susan Epstein, and Santa Barbara Response Network’s Jina Carvalho. Viewing times will be Saturday, Feb. 24 at 10:30 a.m.; Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2:30 p.m.; and Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 5:00 p.m.
Toni Wellen, Chair
Coalition Against Gun Violence