I have seen the face of the enemy it is us

Publisher Jeff Roland

That old quote came to mind last week when 17 people were gunned down at a Florida high school. This young man who had been expelled from the school a year earlier mowed his former faculty and fellow students down. The images that came out of the massacre have the whole country in mourning. A week has almost passed and if you’re like me, still grieved for the families and students.

I can remember in the 80’s the pain and grief we felt as students at Sheffield High School when we lost two of our student body to accidents. My friends Todd Mussard, who died in a motorcycle crash, and Sharon Pace, who died in an automobile accident, were taken from us and the community as a whole. Let me tell you it hurt. So I cannot imagine the dread times 17 that must have befallen this school in Florida and that entire community.  These 17 deaths were not accidents. It was cold-blooded murder. This week, the young gunman’s lawyers are trying to avoid the death penalty with a guilty plea. Will one more death help anything?

We seem to forget these people as statistics. We hear 17 die in a School shooting, the mainstream media seems to treat it like a plane crash or something. But these were 17 daughters, sons, fathers, people with hopes, dreams, plans, and loved ones. Many had been accepted to various colleges and universities. They all had qualities that made them special like my friend Todd’s wit and sense of humor or my friend Sharon’s infectious smile that would light up an entire room.

I’m not saying take guns away.  I’m saying let’s prevent this from happening again and have a conversation on the system that allowed this kid to buy an AR-15. Kids should not have to think about surviving high school.

There seems to be a disconnect with these school shooters. They have no regard for human life. I also have a hard time believing a video game or a movie could ignite this type of behavior. But I do believe when you take God and prayer and discipline out of school the price might be more than we can bear.

Jeff Roland

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