By: Marcia King-Gamble
On February 14, 2018, when a troubled, former student, opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 people, and injuring 17 in Parkland, my life, like so many others, was irrevocably changed. I live in a town just a sneeze away from Parkland, and the Stoneman Douglas High School massacres affected me in a very personal way.
No, I did not have kids attending the high school where the shootings took place. In fact, the closest to knowing any of the affected kids, is my friend’s, daughter’s boyfriend, who told a harrowing account of spending 3 hours in a closet, praying for his life.
For days after that event, people were in such shock, they remained frozen in their homes. Local establishments had a downturn in business, as strangers mourned the loss of innocent lives, and neighbors feared for their safety. It took months for some sense of normalcy to return to our area. Life as we knew it was forever changed, and we no longer took our safety for granted.
For those readers who know little about Parkland, it’s an affluent city in Broward County, Florida, and the last place anyone would have expected something like this to happen. The median income in 2016 was $131,340, and median home prices were close to $600, 000. The community is primarily residential and labeled suburban living at it best with vast expanses of greenery. Every first and third Sunday during the winter season (yes Florida has winters,) people come from all over to buy fresh, organic products and flowers at the popular Farmers Market.
But back to the superhero theme that is this month’s topic. Some good did come out of this devastating tragedy. Out of the ashes came the Never Again Movement. The organization is best known by the Twitter hashtags #NeverAgain, and #EnoughIsEnough. It was the brainchild of twenty students surviving the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, massacre. They’d decided enough was enough. These are my superheroes. The folks I celebrate in this month’s blog.
This initially grassroots operation, staged protests demanding legislative action be taken to prevent similar shootings in the future. These young voices vocally condemned U.S. lawmakers who received political contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA,) and won a stunning victory against the NRA in the Florida legislature when both houses voted for various gun control measures. As a result, the law increased funding for school security and raised the required age to buy a gun from 18 to 21
Kudos to prominent members like Alfonso Calderon, Sarah Chadwick, Jaclyn Corin, Ryan Deitsch, Emma González, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and Alex Wind. You are my superheroes! You made it happen!
Flash forward almost two years later, while the group hasn’t been able to stop mass shootings. (There have been more than 300 since then, leaving more than 300 people dead, and more than 1,300 wounded.) That doesn’t mean they’ve failed. The important thing is they took a stand. They made news and they did not back down!
Because these students spoke up and marched, the old guard was shaken up. Small as progress may seem, they made a difference. They proved that raising your voice forces you to be heard.
These are the qualities that make them superheroes in my book, especially in a world that labels today’s youth as the “Me Generation.”
About Marcia King-Gamble
Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, and caring for her animal family.
Visit Marcia at www.lovemarcia.com or “friend” her on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1MlnrIS
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