** Heads up, this is not a travel-related post **
This afternoon I was traveling from Jackson, MS to Birmingham, AL when I received this text from my wife.
“Active shooter at Stoneman. Happened at dismissal. 100 law enforcement vechicles surround…100+ law enforce surrounding 3 story building. Shooter now on 3rd floor.
NE CORNER beside parking lot
20 victims so far“
That came four hours after this text from her.
“We got gun shots on Apopka Vinelend and Silver Star!”
“Jeez are you serious”
“Omg… right here by the fire station
Happy Valentine’s Day
Welcome to Tuesday, February 14, 2018. Today’s events hit home, too close to home.
You see, I spent my formative years in Coral Springs, Florida….. Coral Springs High School class of 1982! At that time Parkland was in its infancy. Homes with horse barns dotted the gravel roads, Parkland was our playground.
I worked after school and weekends at the local feed and seed. And our free time was spent 4-wheeling, fishing and chasing armadillos in what is now Parkland. This Is Not My Parkland.
We wore matching suits from JC Penny’s to events at the Elks Lodge. We drank Mickey’s Wide Mouth Beer behind Don Carter’s Bowling Alley. The consensus was that the “Wide Mouth” bottle allowed you to drink the beer quicker thus allowing you to get drunk quicker……. we were 18 and lightweights. During school, most of us carried knives in our pockets and a handful of us had firearms in our vehicles. This Is Not My Parkland.
I was in the Coral Springs Fire Department, Station 4 and we kicked ass. We covered Parkland and I remember extinguishing brush fires where the ground got so hot that my feet swelled and I couldn’t remove my boots. This Is Not My Parkland.
My mother-in-law was an educator and recently retired as a department head from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I can only imagine the impact on her as well as the teachers still working there. This Is Not Her Parkland.
So what in the hell has happened in the last 36 years?
Part of the blame falls on us, the parents, we’ve become lazy! Back in my day, parents were involved. We corrected the neighbors’ kid when they did something inappropriate, Nowadays if you correct a kid that’s not your own be prepared for an onslaught of insults and criticism…… “Mind your own damn business”. We have stopped parenting and let some electronic “Smart Device” replace us.
Part of the blame falls on the media, television, print and social. They glamorize the perpetrators…. if it bleeds, it leads baby. It seems that they can’t publicize the perpetrator’s name fast enough. Want to decrease some of this madness? Don’t give these scumbags a second of publicity.
Part of the blame falls on society. We crave this crap, we love tabloid, we love scandal, it seems that anything that makes us feel better about our own life is acceptable. I rarely turn on the TV, especially when traveling, but tonight I’ve had it on and it seems that the news heads were focused on little besides being able to finally display a death toll from this tragedy
What happened today isn’t OK and it isn’t normal. Unfortunately, thoughts and prayers do little, it’s time for us to take a stand and say this behavior isn’t acceptable. This isn’t about politics or gun control it’s about accountability and the future of the world we want to leave behind.
This was to have been one of those “Traveling During A Holiday” posts, but dammit the world got in the way. Resolving this garbage begins at home and in our neighborhoods. Time for another quote “ Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.
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