What is there to say, really?  So much is being said, so many are upset, angry, hurt, sad, brokenhearted, and scared.  I know because my daughter and I are two of them.

We (my daughter, her mother and I) attended funerals and viewings this week.  We saw these families say goodbye to their loved ones.  My daughter, her mother and I cried as she said goodbye to her friends.  We listened and witnessed the broken hearts, the parents, family, friends, and classmates speak about these young lives, taken way too soon.

We watched the news, the CNN Town Hall discussion, students speaking out, the rally in Tally, the trip to Washington, student walkouts to support MSD, MSD students speaking out and the donations for the upcoming March for Our Lives on March 24th.

First, I will say that what these students are doing is valiant, strong, and revolutionary.  I praise their efforts and hope they are loud and strong enough to make a stand and create change.  I hope this doesn’t tinker off in a couple days or a few months like the Sandy Hook and Aurora shootings did.  They are brave, strong, and smart and need their voices to be heard.  And they want to feel safe and be protected as this will forever be etched in their hearts and minds.

I opened up last night for the first time since this began.  I don’t like to get into political debates because it turns heated, hated, and causes friction without any resolve.  So I don’t see the point.  But watching the CNN event, I had to speak out.

The truth is debates don’t solve anything.  People’s opinions are unlikely to change.  And last night was no exception because I was angry and heated over what was happening at the BB&T Center, so I opened up about it.  And of course, it was a back-and-forth battle of what we agree, or respectfully disagree, to discuss and debate but in the same right, it was great to see the students speak up and speak out.

I’m here to say one final thing, my last stance on the topic, at least verbally.  Going forward I will be silently protesting  with my actions to speak, rather than my words.

I was in the middle of this when it happened.  The facts have been presented to the public.  This kid was mentally ill and there were several indicators that lead to this.  Would we have known the date or day it happened?  No.  Were there things that could have been done to prevent?  Yes, I do believe there could have been.  But could’ves should’ves and what if’s do not exist and matter not.

But here’s what I do know:  We need solutions and we need them quickly.  This isn’t one particular group or organization’s fault.  This is bigger much bigger.  This event was a combination of several factors.  This is about mental health with violent tendencies as shown on social media sites.  This is about troubled people who lash out and use guns, bombs, knives…anything they can to inflict harm.

“But this isn’t about bombs or knives, this is about guns that have killed students time and time again.”

That’s right.  It is.  But terror is terror, no matter how you look at it.  We can blame guns.  Definitely.  That was the weapon of choice.  But there have been mass stabbings and bombings that have hurt and taken several lives.  Yes, students and schools are a target because they are defenseless.  But weren’t the runners in the Boston Marathon easily a target and defenseless when the Tsnaraev brothers bombed them, killing three and causing 16 to lose their limbs?  Or how about the World Trade Center bombings in 1993 that killed 6 and injured 1,000?

I’m not trying to make it seem any worse or better.  I just want people to be aware that terror is terror and people that want to cause pain and hurt will find a way, regardless of laws, organizations, or whomever or whatever it is and their attempts to prevent them.

I’m not saying we not do anything.  Definitely not.  What I’m saying is we can’t lay blame in one particular area.  There are several areas that this affects and here’s what I believe we need to do:

  1.  The age should be increased to buy/purchase a fire arm.  I think 21 for handguns and 25 if they want to buy a rifle.  It’s not about age, but about maturity and I believe that maturity is part and parcel to age and 25 is a good time.
  2. I think background checks should be put forth on ANYONE who buys a firearm, regardless of the type and style.  I also feel that anyone who buys a firearm should also be required to take a class…not only to purchase but to learn the intricacies of guns, how they fire, recoil, caliber, etc.  When you learn to drive a car, you have to take a test, take a class, pass a driving test, etc.  Guns are weapons and should come with the same safety and knowledge that driving a car comes with.  Perhaps even going to a range and completing a certain number of shooting rounds to understand the strength and power that come with guns – hand or rifle – as part of the learning process, the same way that you can drive a car at 15, only with a parent.
  3. Create a mental health database and anyone that is found by a licensed doctor to be mentally unstable or diagnosed with a mental disorder should be entered into this database.  If they try to buy a gun, the background check will be linked to the mental health database and redirected to the proper authorities to be immediately investigated.  This will keep their mental health protected by HIPAA laws but also will make sure they are accounted for if there is an attempt at creating terror.
  4. Increase security in schools.  A friend of mine posted that they can’t take a bottle of water on an airplane, but they can walk onto a school campus easily and freely.  Use the retired vets or police officers.  Build the schools stronger and safer with only specific entrances and exits that are monitored; the same way you have to check in at the gate of a gated community should be the same with anyone who wants to enter onto a school campus.  They should also be directly linked to their child with either a picture or an ID prior to the start of school.
  5. Create a tab on ALL social media sites, directly ON the site, that should anyone witness something so severe, such as someone posting themselves with hatred, pictures of killings (like Cruz had), bad or evil messages, etc., they should be able to click on the tab, TAG the person’s site (anonymously) and make it known to the sites coordinators and moderators to be a red flag.  This will allow people on social media sites to actively watch when on them and be able to report if they feel someone is threatening or they feel someone is planning to cause harm and pain to others.

These are my solutions.  They may not be the right solutions, but they are a start, from me alone.

I don’t have all the answers.  Talk is cheap when it comes to matters like this.  Actions are the only answers at this point.  As my grandfather use to say, “Don’t tell me what you’re going to do, show me what you’ve done.”

I posted a link below to an article by ABC News back in December of 2012 after the Newtown shootings.  Interesting read with some facts that stand out.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/newtown-connecticut-shootings-assault-weapons-ban-work/story?id=18000724

My heart still hurts, but it’s time to begin the healing process and take action.  It was a tough week for my daughter, her mother and myself – and of course everyone affected by this tragedy.  But we need to start moving forward, healing, and working toward protecting our children, and taking action to make safety THE top priority for all our children, sick and not sick, mentally healthy and mentally unstable.

We are holding a fundraiser on March 6th, from 7pm-9pm at Bonefish Mac’s in Coral Springs to raise money for Aaron Feis’ wife Melissa and daughter Arielle.  We will have silent auctions, raffle off  a bunch of amazing gifts, have a 50/50, and we will have a donation table for those that just want to donate to help them out as they will require all the help they can get.

Please feel free to share this post.  Here is a link to a great song I found by a band called Blessed Union of Souls called “Healing.”

I am no longer going to debate this topic or discuss it as we all know what needs to be done – as a group, as a community, as a family – to protect and safeguard our loved ones and those around us, especially our defenseless children, from any future tragedies.  God bless.  God speed.  And may all the hurting hearts begin the healing process.

 

#msdstrong#foreverinourhearts#neveragain#flyhigh#eaglepride#bethechange

 

 

One thought on “Stoneman Douglas: Moving Forward

  1. Very well written my friend. I can’t even imagine the feeling and emotions you, your family, and friends are going thru. I agree with all your suggestions and believe that they are all realistic. But I would urge you to not stay silient. To get things done one must make noise. Don’t let this horrible experience go to waste. Become that annoying person who goes to all the budget and city council meetings. Contact social media outlets everyday, continue to have fund raisers for the school so if the city won’t provide the people can. It is the only way people get what they want in this world. I my thoughts and prayers will not make things any better. So I wish you luck my friend.

    Like

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