Listen to the students, and act accordingly

| 20 Feb 2018 | 01:21

    (Editor's note: The following was sent to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida , and forwarded to the Straus newspapers. The author is the parent of Tony Pompelio, a 17-year-old Sparta student who was stabbled to death by another teen in Sparta in 1989.)
    Dear Students of Stoneman Douglas High School:
    Thoughts and prayers are not enough to send you or your community in the wake of the shooting that ravaged your school on Valentine's Day 2018. You, and every conununity in this country, deserve action.
    The carnage at Columbine High School in Colorado happened before you were born. Scores of students since then have died in American schools, a fact that makes none of us proud. Perhaps the incident at your school, almost two decades after Columbine, will be the proverbial "straw that breaks the camel's back."
    You are not old enough to legally buy a six-pack of beer in this country. However, in too many states, including yours, an 18 year old can legally buy a semi-automatic weapon, the sole purpose of which is to deliver bullets, very quickly, into its targets. The targets of these guns are not the sportsmen's targets of animals; they are humans. Semi-automatic guns are weapons of war and belong only in the hands of soldiers and members of law enforcement.
    You brave students have spoken clearly in demanding action. We are listening, and we are acting. On a national and local level, we will research before voting, Many of us will not vote for those who accept money from the NRA or other gun lobbyists, and we will hold legislators accountable for their votes on gun regulations. Encouraged by you, we will speak out against senseless gun laws, and we will vote accordingly.
    Do not lose your passion. Keep speaking. You will soon be old enough to vote. Use your voting power to make our communities safer from gun violence. You are the future, and you can help make what happened in your school a closed chapter in our nation's history.
    Ann M. Pompelio