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Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Barry Stock
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Barry Stock
Parkland, FL shooting survivor Emma González speaks at the rally to support firearm safety legislation in Fort Lauderdale, FL on Feb. 17.

I’m fearful. It’s just days since I shared an extraordinary week with my children and grandchildren so the news of the shooting at the Florida school hit me in my heart. It could have been my child.

We are blessed to live in a city where the crime rate is at historic lows but unlicensed guns are still a problem and since there are holes in our background check system, mentally ill people can buy guns.

Each Sunday, I watch the talk shows and sadly heard reporter after reporter talk about the small chance of any changes in federal law. But, being an optimist, I believe change can come.

It’s a time for compromise and taking a message from Martin Luther King that our leaders can come together, listen to each other, and reconcile their differences.

It could be my child’s school where an insane person carrying an automatic weapon kills.

I was in my hotel room when I saw the leader of the NRA Wayne LaPierre and his spokeswoman Dana Loesch on TV pointedly saying, “They are trying to take away all our guns,” and calling efforts to ban assault weapons a “Violation of our Second Amendment rights “

I don’t get it. No one is saying to take away guns. Am I hearing two different worlds talking? Because I hear a call for federal registration of guns and background checks of buyers wherever they are purchasing guns. There are voices calling for the regulation of automatic weapons of war which currently can easily make their way into the hands of the general public. It seems so bizarre to see the ugly statements that deflect from the real agenda.

Anti-media messages delivered at the CPAC conferences are a way to deflect from the truth — that there are dead kids who were killed by an insane person carrying an automatic weapon. Truth cannot be clearer. This is not editorializing. It’s reporting the facts.

Over 40 years ago, I led a group of women who marched and picketed at Willowbrook State School on Staten Island over the abominable conditions that helpless children with developmental disabilities were living in. We protested, profoundly moved by what our eyes, ears and noses found in the back wards.

That's me on the left protesting at the Willowbrook State School.

That’s me on the left protesting at the Willowbrook State School.

It was the consistent reporting by passionate reporter Geraldo Rivera that raised the city’s consciousness of what was going on at Willowbrook. It was his reporting that motivated the parents association at Willowbrook to file a federal class action lawsuit.

Yes, we are a nation of laws and when we won the case, the people living in desperate conditions were released into community homes accompanied by day programs. They now live a life of dignity. Change happened.

I see the marchers’ power today. Protests can shift the conversation. We want our leaders to work together to find solutions.

Our great country always had disputes between parties and we survived. Compromise made it possible.

All good people should take the time to write our president and ask him to take action.

There’s been enough talk. We need action. Let’s lift our pens and be heard.

It could be my child’s school under attack. It could be yours.

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