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NAME Statement on
Florida High School Shootings
The National Association for Multicultural Education understands and shares the anger students and families expressed after the Feb. 14 mass shooting of students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This is a recurring tragedy in this country that goes against every principle the US is supposed to embody. First of all, the FBI failed to act on credible information more than a month before the Parkland killings, warning that the gunman planned to terrorize the school. That is inexcusable. Also, the armed school resource officer and possibly other sheriff’s deputies stayed outside the school while the gunman killed and injured people inside. That contradicts gun advocates’ arguments that “good guys with guns” will deter or stop bad guys with weapons.
The National Association for Multicultural Education once again joins other social justice organizations in denouncing the gun culture of the United States that enables these and other recurring killings to seem so commonplace they’ve become the new normal for the nation.
Consider the following:
• An open-air Saturday night concert in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, where a gunman opened fire from his 32nd-floor room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 59 people and injuring more than 520 others.
• A Sunday church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Nov. 5, where a gunman killed 26 people and wounded 20 others.
• And then the Parkland, Florida, tragedy, where a 19-year-old gunman carried an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 14 students, three staffers and wounded more than a dozen others. In each, the expectation people had of fun, faith and uninterrupted studies for a good future was shattered by separate mass shootings.
NAME like the rest of America can count. In less than six months, these three mass shootings claimed the lives of 102 people and injured more than 550 others. The psychological and emotional scars will last a lifetime for the family and friends of the victims as well as those who were at the scene of the tragedies. Others viewing television reports, newspaper accounts, radio or web-related stories of the tragedies irreparably suffer from the trauma, too.
Prayer vigils have proven to be ineffective in countering the gun violence. Lowering the U.S. flag to half-staff has no effect in preventing the killings as have repeated pronouncements from presidents of the United States and other U.S. officials.
After each mass shooting, dating back to the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School slayings that took the lives of 12 students, one teacher and injured 21 others, state lawmakers avow plans to take action, but then do nothing to upset the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the powerful gun lobby. The political tempest also swelled after the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School killings in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children ages 6 and 7 were slain as well as six adult staffers. Instead of gun laws being strengthened, they were relaxed, enabling more people to buy guns and allowing educators to carry firearms into schools. Where is the sense in that?
NAME knows the senseless slayings must end and calls on state and national lawmakers to institute sensible and enforceable gun laws. Banning automatic and semi-automatic firearms and bump stocks accessories would be a good start. But lawmakers also need to find the courage to stand up to the NRA and the political will to do what’s right for the safety of the population. This public mandate no longer can be ignored nor can we ignore the growing cries for our streets, communities, schools and other gathering places to be safe — no excuses.
The trauma that U.S. gun worshiping continues to create harms everyone. NAME applauds today’s more vocal student, parent and teacher protests against gun violence. NAME also implores lawmakers to listen to them and take action so that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” written into the Declaration of Independence can finally be possible for everyone.