As a parent, nothing terrifies me more than the thought of my son dying, and I don't think I'm alone in that fear. For parents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when a 19-year-old shooter walked on campus on Feb. 14 and went on to kill 17 people, they experienced every parent's nightmare. The mom of one of the victims has spoken out, and her raw and impassioned plea to President Donald Trump to prevent these all-too-common shootings from happening again is something that every parent needs to see.
Lori Alhadeff's 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was one of the children murdered on Wednesday when a domestic terrorist, who later confessed to the shooting, began using his legally purchased semi-automatic rifle on hoards of innocent people. In an interview with CNN, she pleaded with President Trump to, at long last, take action to protect students.
"The gunman — a crazy person — just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child's door, and starts shooting, shooting her and killing her," she explained, her voice cracking.
"President Trump, you say, 'What can you do?' You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands. Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools. What can you do? You can do a lot!" Alhadeff cried out. Later in her speech, she demanded action. "This is not fair to our families that our children go to school and have to get killed! I just spent the last two hours putting [together] the burial arrangements for my daughter's funeral, who's 14. President Trump, do something! Action! We need it now! These kids need safety now!"
As hard as it is to listen to the visceral heartbreak of a grieving mother, it's so important that we do so. Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, who was interviewed by an emotional CNN reporter just after her speech, agrees. "What she said, what that grieving mother said, is the most powerful message that everyone needs to hear," he said.
I've heard a lot of people saying that at this point America is too numb to systemic gun violence and school shootings to change anything. Listening to that grieving mother, it's clear that it's not numbness that's the problem. Her speech, delivered with a raw, cracking voice, proves that. What we are is cynical that anything is going to change. So hopefully, by forcing people to hear devastation like that of the mother in this video, citizens and members of Congress will be encouraged to no longer accept the deaths of children as collateral damage for an impervious Second Amendment.