Recently a group of people set out, on the Capitol lawn in Washington DC, 7000 pairs of shoes to represent the 7000 children who were killed with guns in America since the Sandy Hook Massacre. 7000 children killed. Twice the number of people who died in the 9/11 assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. What was done in response? Nothing. No tightening of background checks. No banning of assault rifles. No funding of security for schools. Nothing.
Today, around the nation, children walked out of schools everywhere for seventeen minutes, to demand that adults do something to prevent the loss of lives such as the seventeen who died at Douglas High School in Florida. The Florida legislature passed something of a law, but assault rifles and their multi-bullet cartridges are still available, and the president has gone back on his word to take significant steps to stop this senseless and preventable killing. Parents everywhere worry, with good reason, whether their children are safe in their schools. Yet the president, and the federal legislators, do nothing.
Enough is way past enough. This is not a political issue. This is an issue of fundamental safety and respect. This should be as obvious as the nose on your face. Those who do not act, those who would sacrifice children’s lives to protect political contributions, are being public shamed. By children.
Someone said recently that the children’s words and actions should be respected because they are not yet “corrupted.” It is a sad comment on adulthood to define it as having been corrupted. Perhaps it is the depth of Jesus’ comment that we all need to become like little children. Whatever it is, we all, of all different political parties and all different interest groups, we all need to stand back and look at ourselves. We have, for far too long, defined ourselves by getting and spending. We have worshipped tax cuts, despite the fact that those cuts have driven the country deeply into debt while suffering deep cuts in funding to education, health care and infrastructure. We need to return to defining ourselves by our obligations to the inalienable rights of all human beings.
Listen to the children.