One Year Since the Tragedy at Parkland High School, Virtue Demands That We Act

Flowers and crosses line a fence near the school on a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 16, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the Florida high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured.

This week scores of people will experience again the grief of missing loved ones, cut down by a deranged young man with multiple deadly weapons, in the high school he shared with his victims. The Parkland, Florida mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which killed 17, injured 17, joins the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which wiped out a classroom of precious children, as two of the most horrific moments in American history. The irony that the Parkland slaughter was on Valentine’s Day only increases the suffering. While many will celebrate having and enjoying their loved ones in their lives—the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors will only feel afresh the terrible vacuum in their hearts.

All these years after Sandy Hook—and a full year after Marjory Stoneman—Congress has finally responded with a first step toward curbing the use of firearms to kill, terrorize, and stain the social fabric with blood, sadness and fear. This new bill, H.R. 8, is a proposed federal law requiring universal background checks before the purchase of any deadly firearm. This action paves the way for similar bills enacting a “red flag” law, so that anyone can point to a disturbed person before he/she buys or uses a gun to hurt others.

Of course, legislation is only one way to deal with the curse of gun violence. There must be an awakening of the conscience on the part of spiritual, civic, business, and political leaders. There must be a moral resolve not to allow any more children, women, or men to be mowed down at school, in church, or at concerts. The idea that I get to procure any deadly weapon I want because I enjoy it—or it gives me a feeling of personal security—or it makes me feel powerful—at the expense of children, is untenable and reprehensible. The voices of moral leadership, especially in the pulpit, need to be heard—and their actions need to be seen.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rob Schenck