Commentary: Florida victims need thoughts, prayers and America needs action

Commentary: Florida victims need thoughts, prayers and America needs action
March 08
03:00 2018

James B. Ewers Jr., Guest Columnist

School shootings in the United States of America have made me numb almost with a sense of hopelessness. Recently, this country has been reduced to the wild west because of these senseless acts of violence.

Just a few weeks ago in Florida, mothers lost daughters, fathers lost sons and siblings lost each other. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 was a sad day in American history. The shooter was 19-year- old Nikolas Jacob Cruz, who walked in and killed 17 people with a gun that he purchased.

Samantha Fuentes, a senior student at the high school, will not be returning to complete her senior year. She will instead take online courses to graduate. She said, “I want to live out the rest of my high school career normally. But there’s no such thing as normal anymore.” So, it seems that the word normal is no longer a part of the lexicon of some young people these days.

These school shootings all have one thing in common and that is the purchase of firearms without much difficulty. At some point, which I hope is sooner rather than later, we must make it tougher to purchase a gun. Right now, it is too easy. Will there be more stringent gun laws implemented? It depends upon whom you ask.

It appears this latest shooting may have swayed the thinking of some previously not swayed. Legislators have pretty much given an array of answers to this problem. I believe over time constituents will push them to be more definitive.

One of the biggest difference-makers in this gun issue is the students themselves. They are marching for stricter gun control measures. Some on the pro-gun side say the students are being persuaded to march and to protest. America’s high school students who are leading this movement are both reasonable and deeply concerned about what is happening in America today with guns.

Another common theme in America’s violent present is the phrase, “We are sending our thoughts and prayers.” All of us are sending our thoughts and prayers. This expression has been a common thread in our society whenever our universal brothers and sisters meet with tragedy and sadness. And yes, we must continue to send our thoughts and prayers to the families in Florida.

Yet in the minds of many these mass shootings are happening way too often. It is time for something to be done, in my opinion, by elected officials. Everyday citizens like you and me read the reports and listen to the news and come away with the fact it is too easy to purchase a gun here.

If you are a lawmaker with children, you send them to school and make the assumption they’ll be safe. This is the same assumption the parents in Connecticut and Florida made. You must do something now as the hour is getting later each day. People with bad intentions are trying to destroy this country.

Stevie Wonder penned a tune some years back and here are some of the lyrics: “It’s that love’s in need of love today. Don’t delay send yours in right away. Hate’s goin’ round breaking many hearts. Stop it please before it’s gone too far.”

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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