WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-5) took to the House Floor to recognize the sixth anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Below is a transcript of her remarks: 

“Last month, I joined my colleague Jared Moskowitz on a tour of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The school is frozen in time. It’s just as it was six years ago today, when a gunman stole the lives of 17 people. There was a box of chocolates left in a classroom on a stack of textbooks. A stuffed animal with a Valentine's Day balloon sitting on a chair. Writing assignments left unfinished. White boards covered in lesson plans. 

“It was so ordinary. So hauntingly familiar. It’s what you would see, today, if you walked into any high school on Valentine’s Day.

"And then there was the horror. The broken glass. The bullet holes. The bloodstains. The outlines left by children’s murdered bodies. Two of them right next to the teacher’s desk — where their classmates and teacher were hiding inches away.

“Three dads joined us that day. One by one, each of them led us to a spot where his child had been shot to death. One told us of how his daughter had run for safety into a stairwell. How she had missed safety by a split second. How a single bullet ended her life before it had even begun.

“Her blood, and the blood of her classmates, mark the floors of that hallway. And they mark the soul of a country that could have saved them — but chose not to. The collective failure to prevent this tragedy permeates every corner of that building and every corner of this building.

“The failure of the ‘good guys with guns’  to respond quickly and without hesitation. The Sheriff’s failure to act on a warning of ‘a school shooter in the making.’ The FBI’s failure to investigate a tip about an angry, unstable teenager who wanted to kill people. And Congress’ failure to keep an AR-15 rifle out of his hands.

“The men and women in this building could have prevented him from acquiring a weapon designed to kill and kill fast. But no. Nothing. No red flag laws. No universal background checks. No crackdown on high-capacity magazines. No assault weapons ban. No safe storage requirements. All of it rejected by those, Madam Speaker, who perversely define ‘freedom’ as unfettered access to weapons of war. 

“Madam Speaker, there was no freedom for the students and staff gunned down that day. There is no freedom in violence and terror and death. There is no freedom in being forced to wonder if your child will come home from school — will they live to see graduation? And there is no freedom from the grief of those parents whose worst fears have been realized. 

“Along one of those hallways, there’s a quote painted on the wall: ‘Never live in the past, but always learn from it.’ Madam Speaker, that building is just as it was six years ago — and so is this country. Our gun laws are frozen in the past, as if nothing has happened. In refusing to act, Republicans not only ignore the past — they condemn the children to future violent death.

“Madam Speaker, let us honor our past by changing our future. Let us honor the murdered by honoring the right of the living to be free from fear.”

To watch the full speech, click HERE


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