This morning, as I scrolled through my camera roll on my cell phone to delete pictures I don’t want anymore, I came across this one (the graphic shown below, which I will continue to hold on to.)
It is a simulation picture of what happened on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This picture and those green dots (which represent fatalities,) reminds me how fragile our lives are. It should remind us all.
I keep it to remind myself of just how close our daughter came to being a victim of this school shooting. I keep it and I analyze it and I am reminded of the horror she and her classmates had to live out that day at school, especially those in the 1200 building, which is where she was. Her classroom was 1251. It was a matter of sheer luck, timing, divine intervention, whatever you want to say, that the shooter didn’t turn around and shoot into the classroom she was in. This graphic reminds me of that, every time I see it. That is why I keep it.
Most people have moved on, especially those not affected and not in the Parkland/Coral Springs area, but it is not over, not by a long shot. It is not over because these students, teachers and staff have to go to the scene of a crime, every day. Sure, they don't walk into the 1200 building, but they do have to go by it every morning and every afternoon. They have to walk along the border fence of that building. The students have to attend classes where they once had classmates who are no longer there because they are now dead.
They still have to close their eyes at night and see visions of dead bodies in the hallways, blood on the walls and hear the echoes of victims crying out in pain. I cannot begin to fathom the pain of those sights and sounds. I can only sympathize with what my own daughter experienced, and even then I will never truly know the details of what she saw and experienced and truthfully, I am afraid to know. It is heartbreaking that innocent lives were taken away that day and teenagers have to endure their high school years with such painful memories.
Personally, it reminds me of the lapse of time when there was no communication with our daughter. It reminds me of how the last thing I heard from her at around 2:40p.m. was: "Mommy, there is a shooter in school. I'm okay, but I am terrified. I am hiding. I can hear someone crying because they got shot. Please call 911."
That was it, then we didn't hear from her again for another 30 to 40 minutes. Those were the absolute worst moments of my life, of my family's life. All I could think of was that she was close enough to hear gun shots and then all we got was silence.
It is a reminder that for these students, their families, their teachers, it is NOT OVER. Especially for those families who lost loved ones that day. We use the term “lost,” but the truth is, they were not lost, their lives were brutally TAKEN by a troubled teen, who had access to an assault rifle.
It is NOT OVER because it KEEPS HAPPENING!!!
There is nothing we can do to change what has already happened, but we sure as hell can do EVERYTHING in our power to make sure these tragedies don’t continue to happen in our schools!
I have written of this tragic event before and I will continue to do so, to remind myself and others, that the repercussions of this incident boil over onto many aspects of life and our community.
It reminds me that although we experienced the worst moments of our lives, we were blessed to welcome our daughter home safely, (forever, changed emotionally, but physically safe.) Seventeen families were unable to do that on February 14th. They had their family member taken from them because of gun violence, lack of school safety and mental health problems. ALL issues we must take on.
This November, during midterm elections, it is our duty to VOTE!! Vote for leaders who want to keep our kids and our streets safe. Vote for those who want to make sure assault rifles do not fall into the wrong hands. No one is coming for your guns. This is about safety.
This is why we are part of Families vs. Assault Rifles PAC, to make a difference. Not to ban guns, not to go and take your weapons, but to re-classify assault rifles. FAMSVAR PAC is working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that severely restricts access to assault rifles.
Many people think it is too late, that there are too many assault weapons out there, however, we HAVE to start somewhere and do something! We each have the power to make a change or at least try. Voting is a privilege that many have given their lives for. We, as citizens of the United States of America, cannot take this privilege for granted.
Everyone aligns themselves with the cause that best interest them and I think that by working together and communicating, we can slowly but surely bring about change.