Once again a dark cloud of evil and hate arose in another one of our innocent schools in America on Feb. 15, 2018. Seventeen innocent people died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. I can’t help but ask myself, is the problem gun control in America, or is this a problem of hate and evil in the hearts of people in our country? This is an internal question for all Americans. How are our lives and actions ensuring that we are displaying love and not hate in our country? I believe hate is taught. We all have a great light beaming on the inside of us, but how are we using our influence to ensure we teach love to one another?
I do believe that now is the time for lawmakers to speak up and ensure commonsense gun-control reform. There have been many mass shootings in American history. How many more will have to take place before our lawmakers take action?
Time and time again we have seen mass shootings happen in our country over the course of the last decade. Think back over the course of your own life. How many times have you turned your television on to see a mass shooting in America? Let that sink in. Let it marinate. So many have lost their lives, and others were changed irreparably and forever.
I have asked this question time and time again: Why isn’t Congress listening to the pleas of the people begging them to act on gun control? Regardless of whatever you choose to believe, the facts are plain and obvious: This kind of firepower should not be legal on the streets of America.
America is known for its ability to move past hate and evil. Many times it has taken public examples for our country to take action. In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched and murdered in the Mississippi Delta after Carolyn Bryant lied and said young Till had made sexual advances at her. His mother, Mamie Till Mobley, had an open-casket funeral to show the world the type of hate and evil that resulted in the murder of her son. The event sparked the Civil Rights Movement nationally and internationally, as it showed the consciousness of America. People across the country couldn't believe the photos that they saw.
The videos of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were heartbreaking. Anyone with the right conscience could feel the fear and pain of those students and leaders at the school. Why is it that lawmakers can’t agree on a commonsense gun reform? What does it mean when America is too weak to do what’s necessary to save the lives of its citizens?
It’s time to speak up and speak out just like Mamie Till Mobley did in 1955 to show the world what happened to her baby Emmett. By allowing ourselves to be silenced, we become victims because we have yet to make our voices so loud that our political leaders can no longer ignore us. The time is now for the citizens of the nation to rally and demand action from our lawmakers.
What will it take? Will we have to witness a murder before our very eyes before we come to a consensus on gun control? I refuse to do that. I will not do that. I don't want to see another person lose their life needlessly.
I believe in my heart that the American people are ready for a change, but if we sit back and just wait for change without action, we will never get anywhere.
Congressman John Lewis's leadership always emboldens me, and as he's said so many times: When you see injustices in your community, you must stand up, speak up and speak out. Make some necessary noise for change.
Necessary noise. That's what we need right now. We need every citizen in this country whose life has ever been touched by any aspect of gun violence to take the reigns and make noise. Wake the people up! Don't let anyone go through what you went through. I'm starting to become convinced that the American public has seen so much bloodshed and carnage through mass shootings such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, San Bernardino and the Pulse nightclub, and now Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that we are numb to it now.
The direction that we decide to take right now as a country will either save lives or take them.
It's that simple. American streets should never be a war zone.
Duvalier Malone is the CEO and founder of Duvalier Malone Enterprises.