Editorial: Pivot point - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Editorial: Pivot point

Source: Richard Franklin, AFT President Source: Richard Franklin, AFT President

The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 News General Manager Collin Gaston, which first aired on Thursday, March 8, 2018:

In February, we all watched in horror as the scene unfolded in Parkland, Florida as the tally of those killed rose to 17 on the grounds of Stoneman Douglas High School. Parents and family of those killed have been vocal that their children will not die in vain, and Florida has since passed legislation that would impose new restrictions on firearm sales and allow some teachers and staff to carry guns in school. Florida Governor Rick Scott has 15 days to sign it into law and has promised to go “line by line” as he considers whether to do so. It’s not a slam dunk that he will sign, as there has been the expected contentious debates on both sides. Would the new law go too far in its restriction on gun ownership? Is it not enough to make it harder to keep guns out of the hands of those that would do harm to others? Those are just some of the questions being debated by Florida’s Governor.

On Wednesday, Birmingham lost a special young woman with a bright future, on a High School campus, at the hands of someone with a gun. This is not a topic that local officials or state officials raise their hand to debate, but the debate just came to them. The family of this young girl, now deceased, is going to want answers. The same answers the 17 families in Florida are now asking. An answer to one fundamental question in particular: Is there anything that could have been done to prevent what happened?

I have no predisposed position on what we need to do in Alabama or this country related to guns, but I will tell you this, if this had been my child, doing nothing would not cut it. Without suggesting laws be changed, my child’s life cut short on the campus of their school would, at the bare minimum, deserve the focus and attention of that school, that community and state leaders to debate what we might do to reduce the possibility this could happen again. 

Leaders are placed into power to have the courage to take on the tough issues. There are few issues tougher than those involving guns in our great state of Alabama. Whether this will be a pivot point is left to be seen, but not having the courage to debate what might need to be done is a disservice to the constituencies they serve.

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