Here we are again. Just three months separate the horrific killing of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla., and the latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, where 10 more people are dead. Another community is scarred by senseless gun violence. And we’re left to wonder and worry about who is next.
We are burying children, again, and that’s not right.
In the days after the Florida shooting, young leaders mobilized, leading walkouts and marches that have brought tremendous attention to the need for sensible gun laws.
We’re fortunate here in Massachusetts to have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, but we’re no less vulnerable, because there are no walls — nor should there be — at our borders.
As we write this, the Massachusetts Legislature is debating the Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO), a common-sense proposal that would further protect Massachusetts citizens by allowing courts to temporarily prohibit a person from possessing or purchasing guns if law enforcement or an immediate family member can demonstrate that he possesses a significant risk to himself or others.
We need to keep the pressure on leaders to look for meaningful changes like this one.
Some Vineyard teens are among those at the State House to lobby our representatives and senators to pass this legislation. And Janet Goldenberg, a seasonal resident of the Island, is an active member of the Massachusetts Coalition Against Gun Violence, the organization that led the charge on this initiative.
We’re hopeful that the legislature and, ultimately, Gov. Charlie Baker will see this as an important safeguard to keep guns out of the hands of people who risk our safety.
We’re fortunate to be able to see rays of sunshine through those thick clouds of Texas, Florida, Newtown, and Columbine.
Keith Chatinover, a senior at Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, was recognized Saturday for his tremendous efforts as a student activist. Keith organized two busloads of students from the Cape and Islands who went to Washington, D.C., for the March for Our Lives. He continues to play an active role and, on Friday, in the wake of the Texas shooting, worked to rally Islanders to Five Corners, once again, to raise awareness on the need for gun control.
Keith is not alone when it comes to young people giving us hope that our future is bright.
This week, hundreds of students from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School fanned off across the Island to work with various nonprofit organizations on cleanup efforts as part of the Islanders Give Back Day.
They picked up trash and raked beaches, they collected litter along trails of the Island’s conservation lands, offered their elbow grease at churches, and stocked shelves at the Island Food Pantry.
The idea, as we reported earlier this month, was generated by Gus Hoy and Andrew Karlinsky, two students at MVRHS who told the school committee that more than 600 students would participate at 42 locations across the Island.
Not only was it a fabulous idea by Gus and Andrew, but from what we’re hearing — and we’ll have more in a future story — it was well executed as well.
Spring is a time of a renewal and hope, and we need to look no further than our little Island to find some shining examples.