Something feels different this time after the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland.
Sandy Hook’s massacre occurred the day I finished my first semester of college, then Boston. People broke down crying in the middle of the airport. My mother sobbed some hours later when she picked me up at Bush Intercontinental. I thought it was going to be different that time too. But alas, nothing happened. The Senate voted down a proposal by President Obama to increase background checks that did not go nearly far enough to fix the problem.
So each atrocity is met with trite responses. The president tweets “thoughts and prayers.” The flags are flown half-staff. Arguments erupt on Facebook pages. And, of course, politicians do nothing.
After Stoneman Douglas, I resigned myself to the same cycle. I figured that this is just the new normal — the bimonthly sacrifice of children to the gods, Colt, Smith & Wesson. A friend with whom I was planning to study that evening put his foot down and said enough. He refused to abide becoming numb to these atrocities.
It appears he isn’t alone.
The children have shown up this time. They’re demanding action, they’re speaking truth to power — and the deceit and mendacity that accompanies it — they’re keeping the issue at the forefront of our minds and headlines. And they’re making progress.
Top Republicans, including Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, have broken from the malevolent National Rifle Association to endorse reforms. Very modest, incremental reform, but reform nonetheless. Ban the bump stocks. Raise the age to purchase guns. Increase background checks and mental health funding. And please, for the love of HaShem and all that is holy, take semiautomatic weapons of war out of the hands of civilians.
I get that shooting feral hogs from a helicopter with an AR-15 is cool. You know what else is cool and fun? Drinking a can of Lone Star in your car. But in 2001, the State of Texas made that time-honored tradition illegal because too many children were dying. Enough.
Sandy Hook’s aftermath — or lack thereof — left me with a deep sense of nihilism on the issue. For if the murder of little children didn’t incite progress, what could? It appears the children speaking out may do it. In a country so deeply divided, without an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite to speak to all of us, I have long wondered if there is something that could bring all of us — or at least a consensus — together.
So suffer the little children, America. Suffer their cause, suffer their action and suffer their pain. Suffer their loss, suffer their grief and suffer our own complacency — or perhaps complicity — in letting this abomination that befalls our country continue so long unabated, and claiming so many lives.
Suffer Alyssa Alhadeff.
Suffer Martin Duque Anguiano.
Suffer Scott Beigel.
Suffer Nicholas Dworet.
Suffer Aaron Feis.
Suffer Jaime Guttenberg.
Suffer Christopher Hixon.
Suffer Luke Hoyer.
Suffer Cara Loughran.
Suffer Gina Montalto.
Suffer Joaquin Oliver.
Suffer Alaina Petty.
Suffer Meadow Pollack.
Suffer Helena Ramsay.
Suffer Alex Schachter.
Suffer Carmen Schentrup.
Suffer Peter Wang.
Suffer them all, and suffer their surviving classmates who have loudly proclaimed, “Never again.” We need to protect the children. We need gun control. And we will need to vote the cowards afraid of the NRA out of office.
Horwitz is a second-year law student from Houston. He is a senior columnist.