Last month, I toured Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I joined Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) and three dads who had each lost a child to the mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018.

It was a place frozen in time—a snapshot of when a gunman entered, opened fire, and murdered 17 people with an AR-15 assault rifle.

Much of what I saw was hauntingly ordinary. The unopened box of Valentine's Day chocolates. The stacks of textbooks. The unfinished writing assignments and the lesson plans scrawled on white boards.

And then there were the signs of a massacre. The broken glass, the bullet holes, and the bloodstains. Each of the three fathers pointed to the spot on the floor where his child had drawn their last breath.

That building is just as it was six years ago. And in a triumph of right-wing obstruction, so is our country.

America's gun laws remained virtually unchanged, as if nothing has happened. No assault weapons ban. No universal background checks. No federal red flag law. No crackdown on high-capacity magazines. Not even safe storage requirements.

And so, the carnage continues.

Six years to the day—nearly down to the minute—after the Parkland shooting, more than 20 people, at least half of them children, were shot while celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl victory.

Every day, another 23 kids are shot. Six of them lose their lives. All told, guns are the single deadliest killer of American children.

This epidemic of gun violence is as uniquely American as the Super Bowl itself, and it's marring the soul of the American people.

Every scene of mass death erodes something core to our human spirit: the freedom to be at ease.

Whether we're dancing in a club, gathering at church, or celebrating a Super Bowl win, the threat of sudden gunfire hangs over every moment.

With every school drop-off, parents are forced to wonder if their child will come home. With every sudden sound, teachers calculate whether to lock their classroom door.

We live in a purgatory of terror and grief—oscillating between heartbreak for the dead and fear over where shots will be fired next.

This nightmare is not inevitable or preordained. Congress had the power to save lives in Parkland, Uvalde, Kansas City, and the countless shootings that never made national news.

But at every opportunity, Republican extremists have stood in the way. This carnage is a choice made by those who perversely define "freedom" as unfettered access to weapons of war.

There is no freedom for a teenager who will never know adulthood.

Freedom is nowhere to be found when you're running for your life.

There is no freedom from anguish for those left behind.

Along one of the hallways in Stoneman Douglas, there's a quote painted on the wall: "Never live in the past, but always learn from it."

In refusing to put aside their fealty to the gun lobby, Republicans are not only ignoring the past—they are condemning more of our children to a violent death.

It's up to the rest of us to honor our past by changing our future.

We can't bring back those who have been stolen away from us. But we can honor the murdered by honoring the right of the living to be free from fear.


Original story HERE