by John Donnelly.......
The picture appearing as a lead to this article is a "Commissioned Sculpture" presented to me recognizing my achievements as an "Outstanding Educator" in South Florida.
I'm a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA).
Although very much imperfect, the God of my understanding saw fit to bring a cadre of courageous, determined and magnanimous people into my life. These individuals allowed me to team up with them to do some truly incredible things. We successfully fought against injustice, saved the lives of innocent citizens and promoted student achievement in environments that were underserved and frequently avoided.
Lashing out with toxic and violently laced political rhetoric against an individual because they're a member of an association that promotes "gun safety", responsible "firearm ownership and training"; while protecting the 2nd Amendment "constitutional guarantees" in our Bill of Rights; is irrational and illogical. It circumvents the scientific inquiry necessary to arrive at authentic solutions that can save and protect the lives of our children.
Disregarding and ridiculing the life's work of advocates for reform and social justice, simply because their ideas differ from those of your own is fanatically bizarre. Punishing and fascist elements appearing within the words and propaganda proffered by these haters has caused injury and harm.
Seventeen (17) innocent students and their teachers were collectively executed in a Florida high school. Their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were summarily terminated. These constitutional liberties, along with their lives were murderously eradicated, through no fault of their own. Government protections, of any type, were not afforded to these defenseless children and teachers.
Those wounded in this attack were forced to deal with a level of fear and trauma that a school child should never have to endure.
Wounded at age 19, I cradled and comforted gunshot victims in my arms before they died. Equating my experience to those of the students is not my objective. They're clearly separate and distinctively different events. However, teenage murder and killing remains profoundly troubling.
The tortuous agony endured by the families of those massacred students is a hellish nightmare that's beyond my ability to comprehend.
The purported murderer of these students was no stranger to law-enforcement. Expelled from high school because of his threatening behavior, there were 39 occasions when police were called to the alleged killer's residence, because of his threatening and dangerous conduct. His combative actions and statements were clearly identified via his stated desire to engage in some type of "school shooting".
Responsible citizens repeatedly contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, seeking their assistance with this "specific identified threat", up until 30 days prior to the commission of this school massacre. FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted the bureau ignored their concerns and warnings. Director Wray acknowledged that he and his department did not follow the appropriate protocols that may have prevented this unnecessary slaughter.
The Broward County Sheriff's Department was unaware that said school's video was on a 20 minute delay. This "communication failure" led the police to believe they were tracking the shooter in real time, when in fact they were seeing 20 minute old footage. One deputy from the aforementioned department resigned, after refusing to engage the shooter. It's reported another 4 deputies waited outside the school and would not go in, while the students were being murdered.
Name calling, casting politically charged insults and promoting censorship against another's beliefs, is an evil unto itself. Drowning out competing thoughts and ideas, refusing to embrace the wealth of wisdom available concerning the development of solutions regarding this tragedy, has become standard operating procedure for partisans, sycophants and ideologues. Unfortunately, this type of dialogue has become an acceptable form of media and political discourse.
The National Rifle Association of America has been providing solutions to gun violence since its inception, approximately 148 years ago. During my tenure as a teacher, because of the NRA's Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program, I was able to bring a modicum of peace, safety and well-being into the lives of at-risk children.
Professionally trained individuals from the NRA made themselves available and were eager to assist and respond to the questions and needs of teachers and students. They were an invaluable resource for students, school and community.
Rank detractions, contempt and hatred of the NRA, which has actually implemented effective "school and gun safety" programs; is destructive and perilous to the safety of our students. Exposing children and citizens to further harm and injury, so that a particular political ideology might be achieved, is abhorrent and despicable.
Demonizing and condemning the NRA, so as to justify their exclusion from a discussion on "gun safety", is dangerous and radically insane.