Republished below from February 2018 on this anniversary of the horrific shooting. Our hearts go out to families, friends, and a nation still trying to heal. The cries for hope to the end of violence still resonate.
Parkland has well-manicured lawns, new developments, and huge parks, with trails and tennis courts and basketball courts and ballfields. At the intersection of Coral Springs and Parkland is a horse riding academy, Malachi Acres, with a boarding stable, amidst the palms. Town hall is beautiful, and residents talk about the sense of community. A resident recalls how there was a mini-scandal when there were some car break-ins in a neighborhood. The reason, he said with a near smile: “The owners left their doors unlocked.” It’s that kind of place. A month ago, my wife and I left Parkland, heading to the airport after visiting relatives there. The Lyft driver told us why he moved to Parkland, this proud man from Brazil. For the schools, he said. For the schools.
Yesterday, it was about all of this, a sense of place, the schools, and something much more profound: passion, determination, unyielding force. Angry teen-agers with a grudge, clutching a sadness no one should have, fighting to curb gun violence, restrict the access to guns — assault weapons – and vowing, vowing, vowing to make politicians know they will be ousted from office if they don’t comply. So there is no more terrible nonsense of gun violence that is taking lives, the “17 angels” — the 17 people – students, a football coach and athletic director, who were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. There were 14 wounded. The gunman was mentioned only in passing yesterday during the March For Our Lives rally, only in a word like horrible, but also as a pathetic reason why, why, why laws must be changed, gun laws, mental health laws, funding, you name it. All our hearts are broken, and we’ve had enough was the refrain, constant and true.
Parkland was center stage as a place, but its students were also taking the center stage in a rally in Washington D.C. Parkland is one piece of the gun-control puzzle. So is Chicago. So is New York. So is Miami. So is Los Angeles and everywhere where marches were held. One bullet that fells any kid in a school, on a street. That’s what they fought against yesterday, mostly these kids, but there was plenty of support, no doubt about it, from parents, teachers, friends, the elderly. Stop the gun violence. Stop people from having assault weapons. Down with NRA. Thump the Trump. (ok, my term). Placard after placard. Sign after sign. The message was clear: Lawmakers and the President, if you don’t do enough you will be voted out by their supporters, damn it, when they are old enough to vote. One student from Parkland told how she thought the privilege of the town helped draw it attention, but the fight represents all races, all genders, all lifestyles. Those voices at rallies across the country related personal experiences of friends, relatives, loved-ones cut down in senseless violence, in emotional, drive you to tears speeches. Eyes welling up all over. Let’s hold those thoughts.
“We are survivors of a cruel and silent nation,” said D’Angelo McDade, 18, of Chicago at the Washington D.C. rally. “I too, am a victim, a survivor and a victor of gun violence,” McDade said. “We are survivors not only of gun violence but of silence. I come from a place where minorities are controlled by both violence and poverty, leading us to be deterred by success. But today we say, ‘No More.’
No more, he said: violence, no more poverty, no more unjust policies and lack of resources. “You must be the change,” he told the crowd.
In 1970, after National Guard troops shot students at Kent State, we were young and demonstrated with passion and fury. We were convinced the wrongs of America would turn to rights.
We didn’t have social media. We had bull horns.
There’s something magical going on now amidst the sadness.
These kids are articulate and their speeches are raw and practical. Blunt. No more BS!
There are still huge bureaucratic mountains to climb, but as the protestors insisted yesterday, this is just the beginning. We’ll be hearing more of the words Ballet Box. — Joe Cantlupe
One thought on “A Year Later: Never Again! Enough is Enough! We Call BS! ‘Survivors of a Cruel and Silent Nation’”
This is a beautiful article.
Martha and I went to the March for a while yesterday. It was very very impressive. We didn’t get much beyond the periphery, but as we moved toward Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street, Northwest, people were packed together so closely that we moved forward with little steps. As we moved forward other folks were heading away from the main body of people. Although we were so up close and personal, the spirit of the gathering was a great combination of painful and angry and hopeful speeches, coming over the sound system and a feeling of camaraderie. There were babes in arms and babies in strollers, there were old folks, young folks, folks in wheelchairs, and folks of many hues. The interactions among us were positive–spontaneously making way for folks in wheelchairs–and friendly.
Eventually, we walked back up 6th Street then over to 7th and up 7th in search of a bite to eat without a long waiting line. As we walked along we passed folks who had suspended photos of young folks who have been killed in firearm violence. It was quite moving. I have found myself thinking that it would be good to have similar collections of other folks who have been killed by firearm violence, and those who have died as part of the opioid epidemic, and in auto accidents. We came to an Italian restaurant where we avoided a long wait by going to one of the tall tables near the bar. A 23 year old IT guy was finishing his lunch and allowed up to join him. He was born in New York, lived in New Jersey, and moved with his family to Florida when he was a youngster. We had a nice visit with him–he was here for work, but was happy to be part of a historical and quintessential Washington experience. The folks at the next table were our age or a bit younger and had come from Houston, Texas–shout out to Neal and Joyce– for the March. I had the impression that they might have been well-to-do folks who had just hopped on a (their?) plane to join in the statement. When our IT friend moved on, a couple about our age joined us at our table. They had driven in their RV from Eastern Tennessee near the North Carolina border–pretty near to Roan Mountain, Pam. He’s an attorney who was born in Florida, she manages the finances for the firm and was born in Massachusetts. They say that there aren’t many folks in their neighborhood who share their political beliefs, but that folks are quite friendly and welcoming. They like it there. We talked about how amazing the Parkland kids are, particularly Emma Gonzalez and the strength of Fred Guttenberg.
It was a great experience.
Thank you for this post, Joe. As you can see, I’m sharing it with a number of folks we care about. I think that you captured the event very well. May the March help all of us move forward to a safer world.
Martha and Dennis
On Sun, Mar 25, 2018 at 8:22 AM, Health Data Buzz wrote:
> joecantlupe posted: “Parkland, Fla. Parkland has well-manicured lawns, new > developments, and huge parks, with trails and tennis courts and basketball > courts and ballfields. At the intersection of Coral Springs and Parkland is > a horse riding academy, Malachi Acres, with a boa” >