By Tom Perez
Tom Perez is the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Yasmine Taeb is a member of the Democratic National Committee from Virginia. She grew up in Coral Springs, FL and attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Dear Students of Stoneman Douglas,
One of your brave classmates, David Hogg, said this week, “We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together, come over your politics, and get something done.”
David’s right. We are the adults. And we’ve let you down. Our country has let you down.
When you learn about government in high school, you’re taught how it should work. Our elected leaders should serve the interests of the people they represent. They should work together to solve problems for the common good and keep us safe.
The issue of gun violence shouldn’t be an exception to this rule. And yet, massacre after massacre, broken family after broken family, the gun lobby’s close allies in Washington have continued to block any attempt to protect the American people from gun violence. They shamelessly use mental illness as a shield for their inaction. They’ve even banned the Centers for Disease Control from conducting research on the best ways to reduce gun violence.
Too many politicians act as if these shootings are just a fact of everyday life, as if there’s nothing we could have done to stop this one and nothing we can do to prevent the next one. They send thoughts and prayers while accepting millions from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to stay silent about every atrocity and stand in the way of even the smallest reforms.
Gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S. than in any other high-income country. Every day, seven children and teens die from gun violence. In many states, people are more likely to be killed by a gun than in a car accident.
This is not normal. This is not acceptable. This is not inevitable. We must stop pretending that we are powerless to prevent these tragedies.