UPDATE: We now know that 17 were killed in yesterday's tragedy and 15 are hospitalized.
A few weeks ago we donated to Sandy Hook Promise, the organization created by several parents and spouses who lost loved ones in the senseless, tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. The lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators were lost in an instant to a gunman intent on harming as many students and adults as he could.
Out of that tragedy, Sandy Hook Promise was born. Its mission: to prevent gun-related deaths due to "crime, suicide and accidental discharge" so that no other parent has to experience the senseless, horrific loss of their child (or loved one).
From the Sandy Hook Promise website:
"The moment is now. We must work together as one country, and as one family, to explore meaningful, effective and common sense ways to make our communities and country safer through education, outreach and grass-roots discussion. Our society should not live under the threat of this kind of violence any longer. We know real change will require a comprehensive approach and a lot of hard work. But with your help, we can do it."
As I write this, at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14th (Valentine's Day), the news is coming out of Parkland, Florida, at Stoneman Douglas High School, that there has been a shooting and at least 14 have been injured and 2 are dead. Most likely, as in past events, the death toll will rise. Over the next few hours and days we'll see the usual coverage: reporters interviewing parents and/or kids who escaped but can recount the horrors as the shooter did his murderous work; we'll see parents and kids grieving for the lost souls; makeshift memorials will go up; the lives of those who were lost will be recounted by their family members; wakes and funerals will be held with nationwide coverage.......we're good at this because we've done it so often in our country.
I understand that this is a hugely charged issue and there is a massive divide between gun owners' rights and those who believe there should be laws making it harder to get guns. The Foundation does not wade into politics. I am writing to express my profound sorrow about the violence that is so prevalent in our society. I am writing to share Sandy Hook Promise's "The moment is now" call to action. And I am writing to share two videos created by Sandy Hook's grieving parents and spouses. These videos are intended to teach.....to remind us that these things don't "just happen". Most often, after such senseless violence, we hear that there were signs. We hear people say "I never thought it could happen here." "I never thought he would do anything like this....."
These videos were created to help adults and students see the signs.....recognize the signs....and get help for someone you (or your kids) think may be in danger of acting on his or her rage, anger or sadness. The videos are below:
We grieve with all those in Parkland, Florida. We pray for those who will bury loved ones in the upcoming days, for those who will grieve for a lifetime, for those who will have months of medical treatment because of their injuries. We grieve remembering the tragic deaths at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Florida State University, to name a few, along with tragic shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Charleston, Fort Hood, Aurora (CO), Washington DC....and so many others.
Indeed. The moment is now.