One Week Later

By: Jessica Morse

In fifth grade, I remember huddling under my desk at school as my teacher turned off the lights, pulled the curtains and locked the doors. The intruder alarm was blaring. She assured us it was just a drill. She read us a story as we lay on the floor under our metal desks in the dimly lit classroom. Later that day, I learned that someone had come onto campus with a gun. I think back to the bravery of my teacher, allowing us to feel safe in our classroom, sheltering us from the terror she must have felt.  

My eyes still well with tears when I think of the brave teacher at Sandy Hook who shuffled all of her first graders into a bathroom, then stepped out and sacrificed her life, and the football coach at Parkland who shielded students with his own body. Our teachers are brave and courageous and self-sacrificing every day. But they shouldn’t have to be.

McClintock suggests that more guns in schools would have stopped this unthinkable tragedy. He believes teachers and “men, women, and children” should be armed to protect themselves.

I have lived in a world in which everyone was armed with automatic weapons. It’s called a war zone. I’m here to tell you it was not safer.

We all want to protect our children and families, our schools and places of worship, our communities and citizens. Americans are less divided on this issue than it appears. We must agree on common sense safety measures to protect our families and communities from this awful violence.

Like many in our district, I grew up hunting with my family and respect the rights of responsible gun owners. I know firsthand the difference between a gun designed for hunting and one designed for combat.

In California, we are lucky to have some of the strongest, and most effective, gun safety policies in the country - background checks on all gun sales, required waiting periods, and a ban on assault weapons. I want to take these common sense protections we already have in California and make them federal policy.

Even amidst the darkest grief, there is a glimmer of hope. Watching the brave and passionate young survivors of Parkland cry out for action has moved all of us to tears, and needs to move us to action.

Let’s start by holding representatives like McClintock accountable. As the students of Parkland are demonstrating, we can hold them accountable with our voice and with our vote.