Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of being able to spend some time with Andrew Pollack and Ryan Petty, two of the parents who are part of one of the worst clubs in the country: moms and dads who’ve had their children stolen from them by cowardly criminals and evil individuals intent on taking as many innocent lives as possible. While both of these gentleman have suffered the same loss and dealt with the same grief as other parents, because they don’t embrace the idea that more gun control laws are an effective and constitutional way to deal with the issue of targeted violence, however, they don’t receive nearly as much attention from media outlets as other parents who’ve channeled their grief into anti-gun advocacy.
One of those parents is Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was murdered by the same twisted soul at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who killed Meadow Pollack, Alaina Petty, and fourteen other students and staff. Oliver has a brand new op-ed at CNN advocating for a “solution” to get Congress to pass new gun control laws that has about as much chance of success as a gun ban does at preventing acts of violence.
For families like mine that have been impacted by school shootings, the lull in school shootings because of the lockdown is a moment that shouldn’t be ignored.So, while I recognize the struggles many have faced in the past year, I have a suggestion: that all kids keep learning from home until we see some real action on guns from our legislators.Some may read this, roll their eyes and dismiss this as a preposterous idea that ignores the realities for families.To that, I would say look at what has happened since the country began opening up. Over one weekend last month, there were 11 mass shootings across the US. And I would also ask, do you think schools will suddenly be spared from this act of domestic terrorism?
As responsible parents and protectors of our loved ones, we should demand the federal approval of universal background checks for every firearm purchase. We should also expect the adoption of “red flag” laws, which are state laws that allow courts to temporarily confiscate firearms from anyone believed to be a danger to themselves or others; and safe storage laws, that require that gun owners store their firearms unloaded and appropriately locked away, be passed at the federal level.No change in society will happen on its own, and some radical circumstances — like the constant drumbeat of America’s mass shootings — require adding disruptive pressure to our representatives. My wife and I founded Change the Ref with the idea that Joaquin’s life could make a difference if it spurred the use of disruptive and untraditional ways to fight injustice. So, keeping the kids home as part of a national strike sounds like an effective way to accomplish our mission.