The video above is based on the following letter, which I wrote to my senator, Marco Rubio, in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I urge you to hold your elected officials accountable by sending them a letter and tagging them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever other social media platforms you use.
Dear Senator Rubio,
I am writing to you as a former employee of your Tallahassee, Florida office. My sophomore year at Florida State University, I accepted a non-partisan internship at your Tallahassee, Fla. location. As an eager, young Political Science student, I was excited to get my foot in the door of a Senator’s office; however, I was dismayed when your staff told me that you probably wouldn’t be present for the duration of my internship.
As it turns out, they were right – I worked for your team for five whole months, twenty hours a week, and never once saw you in the office.
As an intern, I was tasked with fielding constituents’ calls and writing their comments into a call log, which was sent to you at the end of each week. Supposedly, you used this log to address the needs of constituents, but I am skeptical that you ever actually read through it.
Now, three years later, I am one of those concerned constituents pleading for change from you, our elected Florida official. I am afraid, though, that my pleas for help will fall on the ears of another intern and go no further – but you can prove me wrong by taking action against gun violence.
When I was 19-years-old, FSU – my home away from home – experienced a campus shooting. On November 20, 2015, Myron May approached the Strozier Library on FSU’s campus and opened fire on students using a .380-caliber handgun. Three of my fellow colleagues were injured. May was mentally disturbed and consumed by paranoia to a point where he sought to murder people on my campus.
Thankfully, during the shooting I was not at the scene of the crime, but rather, across the street sitting in my dorm. While I studied for my upcoming finals, students were being shot a few yards away from me.
When I was 20-years-old, yet another community I hold close to my heart suffered a mass shooting. On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 58 others using an AR-15 style-rifle at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Mateen specifically targeted LGBTQ+ Latinx/people-of-color that evening.
I was about one mile up the same street from the massacre that night. Again, a blood bath occurred yards away from me and my friends.
Less than 7 months later, tragedy struck while I was visiting home for winter break. January 6, 2017, Esteban Santiago-Ruiz used a Walther PPS 9mm semi-automatic pistol to gun down five individuals and injure six others at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The Broward County airport my family used to travel our entire lives became a warzone.
Today, I am a 21-year-old college graduate and am writing this with great despair – and even more anger. On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 style-rifle to murder 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and staff, and injured at least 14 more.
I sat in my parents’ home, just around the corner from my alma mater, as children were being slaughtered. Once again, I sat in a silo of safety as a bloody massacre literally played out across the street.
I’ve lived in the serene town of Parkland since I was three-years-old, and attended MSD for four formative years of my life. The hallways where I once shared laughter, curiosity, and hope are now crime scenes. Members of my community have lost their lives. Students and staff of MSD are traumatized. My tight-knit community of loving people is broken.
I am in shock that one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history happened in Parkland, Fla., my hometown – the safest place in Florida.
In my short lifetime, these countless acts of terror have plagued communities throughout the United States with unimaginable grief, and it is time for this pattern to stop. I will no longer feel helpless nor sit idly by while these atrocities occur.
I will not accept mass shootings as the norm.
It is YOUR responsibility as our elected official to pass laws that protect your constituents. This isn’t about party politics – this is about human lives. I am begging you to implement a systematic plan that will end the mass shooting epidemic in Florida and beyond, starting with:
· Stricter gun licensing
· Recognizing gun violence as a public health issue
· Funding research on gun violence and gun violence prevention
· Extensive background checks for gun purchases
· Close loopholes in gun purchasing (i.e. gun shows)
· Implementing a buffer period between purchasing a rifle and taking it home
It is shameful that I have to write this and beg you to do SOMETHING.
I hope you have read my letter free from the influence of wealthy lobbyists who may impede your senatorial judgment. I hope you read this letter at all.
Respectfully, your former intern and concerned Parkland citizen,
Shana Miranda Rosenthal