Valentine’s Day 2018 will go down in recorded history as a day of love and loss, as a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church–Ash Wednesday–with ashes spread in the sign of the Cross on the foreheads of the faithful, and as a day of crisis.  The February 14, 2018 crisis resulted in the massacre of 14 innocent high school students and 3 heroic staff members with 17 injured by an emotionally-disturbed 19-year old with an assault weapon and back-pack full of ammunition.

This #Valentine’s Day 2018 Massacre was methodically planned and executed at #Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland (FL) with a legally purchased AR-15 assault weapon that at one time was banned in the U.S.  This tragic and senseless event is a reminder of our frailties and brokenness as human beings and demonstrates the ability of a grieving community to mourn for and to celebrate the lives of these victims of gun violence and hatred with candles, memorials, prayers, compassion, rallies, and advocacy for new school safety and gun laws.

From local newspaper accounts to national “Meet the Press” television segments to world-wide Internet news stories accompanied by pictures of grieving families hugging their loved ones, there is hope on the horizon as the Broward County (FL) community positively moves forward and upward in its unanticipated democratic fight for school safety, peace-building, stricter gun safety laws, and responsible action demanded from our state and federal government officials to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of our citizens.  Our Founding Fathers stated these inalienable democratic rights so clearly in the Declaration of Independence adopted on July 4, 1776.

South Florida high school students, parents, educators, and community activists are challenging the National Rifle Association (NRA) and politicians who appear to be controlled by dark monies and are largely unaccountable to the American electorate.  Rallies and sit-ins are planned in Tallahassee, FL and Washington, DC in support of stricter gun laws by students and parents outraged and shocked by the Valentine’s Day 2018 attack and cognizant of the Columbine High School, Littleton (CO), shooting on April 20, 1999 that resulted in the deaths of fifteen people.  The senseless loss of life in Parkland, FL makes it the deadliest high school terrorist attack in U.S. history.

This Valentine Day’s 2018 Massacre in Parkland, FL represents the latest event in a long string of violent gun deaths in the United States.  The “voices of main street Americans” will be heard in the November 2018 mid-term elections.  The majority of Americans are opposed to the amorality, coarseness, lack of civility, and chaos accepted and silently endorsed by too many of our current elected government officials.  Gridlock and legislative stalemate are unacceptable to the American people who demand peaceful solutions to violence and firearm deaths.

Action is demanded, and the voices of the American people must and will be heard and respected under the U.S. Constitution and rule of law that governs our diverse and democratic society. Students, parents, educators, and community activists will remind government officials that moral and compassionate legislative action is essential to heal the wounds inflicted by our recent history of unchecked gun violence and hatred.

America is a shining model of liberty, peace, and justice to the rest of the world.  The Russians know this, want to undermine our democratic institutions, and cannot be allowed to interfere with the integrity of the upcoming 2018 elections. As a society, we need to proactively advocate and take action to ensure our inalienable democratic rights and the rights of future generations of Americans.  Let the Statue of Liberty continue to shine her light on the American people and newcomers to our great country.

United we stand, divided we fall.