What Are We Waiting For?

 The following Publishers Note was first published in March 2018 just two weeks after the tragedy in Parkland at Marjorie Stone Douglas High School. At the time, both Carol and I naively thought surely now something would be done to control guns in the United States. Although we recently lost Carol’s dad Ralph, we consider ourselves a lucky family. We have wonderful grandchildren, grandnephews and grandnieces – all of whom go to school each day. It is time to find a path forward, no matter how small. The majority of Americans favor universal background checks. We will accept any small step to save our kids, everyone’s kids, from the terror of active shooter drills and children being murdered in their classrooms.

 Our Inaction Has Been Deafening

 Gun violence is a notoriously American problem – this cannot be disputed (so please don’t try.) And once again, it’s happened right here in our South Florida community, forever affecting our relatives, friends and co-workers. And each time an American massacre occurs, half-hearted declarations are debated about new bipartisan bills, laws and regulations … ad nauseam. But then the gunshots fade, the visible wounds heal, the funerals end … and we all forget.

But I believe this time, thanks to a brilliant, articulate, still-traumatized group of Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, we are all being held accountable. Much like my 60s generation who affected the Vietnam era culture shift, these children are tired of being sacrifices to impotent politicians and 2nd amendment scare tactics. Does it make sense to say a person is too young to buy a handgun, but an AR15 is acceptable?  Not one student has even whispered that all guns should be banned, but rather it’s time for sensible gun control and effective mental health screening with regard to guns in the State of Florida and the United States.

As the students of MSD and #neveragain, asked so eloquently,

“How could it hurt

… to ban assault weapons?

… to reinstitute regulations that make it more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain guns?

… to save more children and adults like the 17 we lost in Parkland, Florida?”

Look in the mirror and ask yourself, how could it hurt?

 You can reach Charles Felix at Charles@southfloridahospitalnews.com