Finding Hope – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

By Susan MacLaury
February 20, 2018

It was hard to feel hopeful this weekend, in the aftermath of yet another school shooting that killed 17 kids and caring adults. Hard not to scream while listening to legislators nod solemnly on Sunday news shows that more needs to be done to protect American children while finding ways to give themselves passes.

Harder even still reading David Leonhardt’s op ed piece in the Sunday New York Times, “Letting American Kids Die,” and learning that we have the highest child mortality rate among the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world: 6.5 thousand deaths per million vs. the average number, 3.8. This translates to 21,000 “excess deaths” of American kids each year in sharp contrast to fifty years ago when our child mortality rate was below that of these same nations. The majority of these deaths are attributable to guns, car accidents and infant mortality, all of them clearly serious problems that must be addressed.

The cause that could be addressed immediately is banning assault weapons. It seems clear that our politicians are governed by self-interest, so possibly the decision by top Republican funder, Al Hoffman, Jr., who stated: “I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons. Enough is enough,” will have an impact on funders supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle. Let’s hope so.

I will be forever haunted by the image of 5 and 6 year old children literally cut in half in the Sandy Hook shooting and dismayed by the fact that their community’s efforts on their behalf, successful in changing Connecticut laws, didn’t make a dent nationally. As always, though, I find the greatest source of hope to be our children themselves.

This week’s shooting has galvanized the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to seek public support for their mission to end gun violence. It’s resonated for students who experienced similar traumatic events at their schools who’ve come out in support of them. These are our children. Let’s join them all. Let’s give them the chance to find meaning to their experiences, to thrive, to help us become the best America we can be.

A march in Washington, DC is planned for March 24th: