Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida.
It’s one of those places now that, just by mentioning its name, evokes vivid, horrifying images for us all.
One year ago today, that school lived its worst nightmare.
An eighteen-year-old former student showed up on campus with a semiautomatic rifle and shot seventeen people to death; fourteen of them, students.
Most of us can’t possibly imagine what that experience was like; to helplessly watch the surreal scene of a gunman randomly killing people, killing your friends.
And you wait, paralyzed in utter shock and terror, for your turn.
Can you imagine?
And today, all the surviving students, teachers, families and members of the community who have lived with this horrific tragedy every day for the last year, will commemorate this anniversary by honoring the memory of those who were lost, and by renewing their commitment to putting an end to the senseless violence that forever changes the lives of all who are affected by it.
Which, incidentally, is all of us.
So then, let’s all honor the memory of those who died tragically a year ago. Let’s remind ourselves of how precious the people in our lives are, and how we need to let them know that every chance we get, because the time could come when we run out of chances.
I was listening to a man on the radio this morning recalling his experience that day. He was at a Starbucks just blocks away from the school when the shootings happened. He clearly remembers all the parents’ phones ringing at once. He remembers the horrified screams, the panic and chaos.
And he remembers one mother’s tearful regret over not telling her daughter goodbye that morning before she left for school.
Remind the people you love that you love them. Today.
And let’s also honor the memory of those who died by letting our lawmakers know very clearly that there is no longer any excuse for weak and inadequate gun control laws. This insanity has to stop, and they have the power to make it happen, if they can just stop kissing the arse of the National Rifle Association.
Let’s all speak out. The Stoneman students are; let’s support them. Let’s join them.
Today, we are all Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.