Feb 16, 2018
Young people fleeing in panic. Shots ringing out. Police swarming the building. Screams. Tears. Anxious parents huddled together. News media surrounding the carnage. This scene has become all too familiar in America. The recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., has once again devastated families. This Valentine Day's massacre has broken the heart of the nation.
In 2012, the nation recoiled in horror when a gunman in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But the outrage at such a tragedy has done little to prevent further shootings. Since Sandy Hook, there have been 239 school shootings. And, since the first 45 days of this year alone, there have been 18 incidents of school shootings in our country.
We are facing an epidemic of violence. Last year ended with a record of 345 mass shootings, the deadliest chapter in the history of mass shootings in modern times. With gun-like rapidity, the Texas church shooting of Nov. 5, 2017, the deadliest mass shooting in the state's history, followed the Las Vegas massacre of Oct. 1, 2017.
These repeated tragedies of shootings in schools, sports events, parking lots, churches, post offices and cafeterias confront us with an unsettling question. Are we a violent people? Can we not put behind us the bloodshed of the civil war when partisan views on slavery plunged the nation into its chaos? Are we still tethered to the attitudes of the 60s when civil unrest led to violence and assassinations? Is violence the tragic legacy we wish to give our children?