Over the years, Compass editors have devoted a lot of space to addressing the issue of gun violence and mass shootings:
- Las Vegas: Our spilled blood; Lack of compassion leads to violence, Oct. 4, 2017;
- When will the shootings end? Time to ban assault rifles, June 14, 2016;
- Gun violence: Prayer and action both needed, Dec. 9, 2015;
- How can we end violent culture? Time to address important issues, Dec. 19, 2012.
Questions were raised as to how these senseless killings by deranged individuals could happen and suggestions for preventing future tragedies were offered. For example:
- “The moral of this story: we need to pray and to work (a motto of the Benedictines). For politicians who offer their prayers in times of tragedy, please continue. But you’re moving in circles if you don’t work to end the madness of gun violence.”
- “For the sake of all children, a shift in the culture of violence, with its many layers, needs to begin. From the poor regulation of assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns to the glorification of violence in movies, television and video games, a period of enlightenment must begin.”
- “While we can all debate the usefulness of handguns and concealed carry permits, there should be no wavering on the ban of assault weapons. Let’s continue to pray for an end to gun violence and for the victims and families of the Orlando massacre. But let’s also demand that laws be made to restrict assault weapons. This will help answer those prayers.”
- “We must fully realize that we are family, we all share one blood. Until we do, there will only be more blood spilled. Senselessly. Violently. And even if, the next time, it isn’t my blood spilled or your blood spilled — it will still be our blood spilled.”
On Feb. 14, we were again forced to address the familiar scenario of a mentally unstable young man with easy access to an assault rifle, resulting in the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
What more can be said to shake ourselves and our nation’s leaders out of complacency and into action on this heart-wrenching act of violence against innocent youth? Few, if any changes have been made to prevent school shootings.
Our inaction has now become a rallying cry for a younger generation, one that is demanding gun control to help end school shootings once and for all. Students from Florida who lost friends and classmates in the Parkland massacre are taking a vocal, active role in calling for change.
“Our students are asking for that conversation and I hope we can get it done in this generation, but if we don’t they will,” Robert Runcie, superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, said at a press conference Feb. 15.
On Sunday, Florida students announced a march on Washington March 24 called “March for Our Lives.”
“People keep asking us, ‘What about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different,’ because this has happened before and change hasn’t come,” Cameron Kasky, a junior at the high school, told ABC News. “This isn’t about the GOP, this isn’t about the Democrats. This is about the adults. We feel neglected and at this point you’re either with us or against us. … We are going to be marching together as students, begging for our lives.”
We send our children to school to learn, but sometimes they teach us lessons. God bless the children.