Today is the 1-year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people lost their lives that day. Here are their names:
- Alyssa Alhadeff, age 14
- Scott Beigel, 35
- Martin Duque, 14
- Nicholas Dworet, 17
- Aaron Feis, 37
- Jaime Guttenberg, 14
- Chris Hixon, 49
- Luke Hoyer, 15
- Cara Loughran, 14
- Gina Montalto, 14
- Joaquin Oliver, 17
- Alaina Petty, 14
- Meadow Pollack, 18
- Helena Ramsay, 17
- Alex Schachter, 14
- Carmen Schentrup, 16
- Peter Wang, 15
My heart goes out to the families and friends of these 17 victims: there have been many difficult days for them over the last 12 months, but I know this day, in particular, will be filled with pain and sadness as they remember the events of February 14, 2018.
For the rest of us, it can be so tempting to turn away from this kind of tragedy, to tune out today and block out the overwhelming grief. But avoidance is not going to prevent this type of violence from happening again, and it’s certainly not going to bring back the 17 victims whose lives were lost last year.
Today is a day for the families of the victims to mourn and grieve and reflect on their loved ones. For the rest of us, it needs to be a Day of Action. If we want to avoid these kinds of tragedies from happening, we need to raise our voices against gun violence, and promote common-sense safety measures, like the recently-passed Alyssa’s Law.
For those of you who live in New Jersey, here are two positive ACTIONS you can take today, to honor the memory of the “Parkland 17” and all of the victims of gun violence across the U.S. :
— Write or call your local legislator and ask them to support A4878/S3079, a Child Access Prevention measure which prohibits leaving a loaded firearm within easy access of a minor under the age of 18, and requires law enforcement officers who observe unsecured firearms to conduct follow-up and confirm compliance. You can look up your legislator by Municipality at this link: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/SelectMun.asp
— AJR 100/SJR88 designates June 2nd of each year “Gun Violence Awareness Day” in New Jersey. AJR100 passed the Assembly unanimously last year, and was referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee, where it awaits further action. Contact the Committee Chair Senator Linda Greenstein (firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-395-9911) and ask her to post AJR100/SJR88 for a hearing in her committee as soon as possible.
Although nothing can change the events of February 14, 2018, you CAN still make a difference in the world, by taking action to raise awareness of Gun Violence in New Jersey, and by supporting common-sense proposals like A4878/S3079, that promote responsible gun ownership without violating anyone’s second amendment rights.
Please join Keep NJ Safe in turning this sad anniversary into a day of Advocacy and Action.