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Those Not With Us: Parkland Kids Graduate and Prepare to Hit the Road To Change


Those Not With Us: Parkland Kids Graduate and Prepare to Hit the Road To Change

In a bittersweet ceremony, seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduated this weekend facing four empty seats and wearing tributes to those killed; for many, the day's most poignant moment came as the mother of slain senior Joaquin Oliver accepted his diploma in a shirt that read, "This should be my son.” In 10 days, many of the students will head out on a national barnstorming and voter registration "Road to Change" bus tour hoping to ensure that heart-rending scene will never be replicated.


I’m sorry there aren’t comments here. I don’t know the reasons for that emptiness.

For me, the MSD kids are the heroes of our sorry society. I’m proud of everything they’ve done, the result of unmentionable pain, shock, and grief. Hopefully kids from other school shootings will join this tour and they’ll all make themselves SEEN and HEARD.

Parents everywhere should climb on board in every type of support possible.


There ought to be more, certainly. There is so much to reply to. Those of who do are sometimes overwhelmed by the number, the choice, and the act and have to take a break to live life.

The sign stopped me short. Every day from now on, Joaquin’s parents will wonder what would life have been for him. His life, stopped so suddenly and senselessly, won’t ever change for them. They will revisit all the memories they have of him from birth to the moment he went to school on Feb 14. OMG, I can’t say anything else. It is too sad for me to say more.

I am so thankful for the young men and women of MSD who are acting and organizing on behalf of their murdered schoolmates and students and young people everywhere. The future is theirs to live and they will change the conversation and reality. I fear never again is too much to expect, but fewer and fewer is the certain and the only acceptable outcome.

May the life force throbbing through them move them on from this point to the new time when the NRA is squelched, their enablers are defeated, the gun lobby is throttled, and it is once again safe to attend concerts and movies. go to a club and out to eat, and go to school.

A daily look at the Gun Violence Archive is all the reminder I need of the insanity that has our society in its clutches. Out you go kids to make this country a better place. Yes, you can.


Sometimes there simply are no words. I hope for the best for all the young folks going through this (hopefully temporary) era. What a time to grow up in.


Thanks for the articulate hopefulness posting.

You’re right…finding words is not easy.


And you’re right, too. How can we express what we truly feel?


The Heart can’t always Speak…

After too many miscarriages…one day Longfellow burst from the page at me

There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.

“Shall I have naught that is fair?” saith he;
“Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again.”

He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.

“My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,”
The Reaper said, and smiled;
"Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where He was once a child.

“They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear.”

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above.

Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day;
'T was an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away.


Just a post from the heart, to fend off the pain


I guess we should use whatever we can to fend off that pain and shame. I wear them like a suffocating cloak every single day these days. My only reprieve, to be terribly honest, is in watching the birds that come to the feeders outside, hearing their songs and squabbles, and watching the squirrels scampering about, the most roguish calculating how to jump and get the bird seed… you’re lucky you can get into poetry!

Thank you.


Ha, me too. The Birds indeed are a reminder of Nature’s Care.
My squirrel grabs through the cage to get at the suet.
Little paw prints, eating his daily.
Screaming at the dogs to go away.

Its a tough one this Life we have now, I do believe I have sometimes seen Too Much.
Compassion and Caring are my only balance to the Anger I feel.
Even they do not come automatically, I must force them upon my Spirit
Too much a fighter, too well trained.

We must strive forward for those who cannot.


Thank the Universe for those critters…they reduce the cortisol, even if just for a few moments.

I wonder if in my dotage, I’m turning into a misanthrope… My dad did his thesis on proving that Twain was not a misanthrope. My brother proudly declares himself one and likes to see himself akin to HL Mencken. :scream:

The current crop of inside dangers to what democracy we have left is making me rethink everything from my youth…nonviolent resistance, anti-capital punishment, and others, I guess. I wish for the subhumans of NRA leadership or PTB to suffer what all of the shooting victims have suffered. I doubt MLK would appreciate my stance, and Gandhi could see it, but he’d spin and argue, huh?

One of my kids is a beekeeper. It blows my mind how civilized her bees are compared to man, especially governments.


Once had the opportunity to visit the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

By the time one leaves there, at least for me, one comes out swinging.
Idiot Rednecks Beware…I have arrived.

Then you see the Lorraine Motel where MLK was killed, it is a very plain hotel, like any Super 8 we have ever stayed in.

First thing one realizes is that this was a very Common Man doing very Uncommon Things.

Sleeps on those spongy beds on aluminum wheels, bathroom in the corner, room on the second story up the stairs at the end of the building.

Then you see the blood stain on the balcony… where the shot was fired from just across the little street…it all makes you somehow part of the whole thing…man’s eternal struggle for Witness and Truth and Respect.

It’s more than just a Pass of the Baton, it is a feeling like…By God I am not Going Down on this One, I am Carrying this the Rest of My Born Days.

So where does that put us Today.

Today we Get Up Again.
We Thank the Day for our Lives, However Poor and Frustrated They Are

And By God We Go Out Swinging, Loud, Defiant in our Truth that has been Bought with the Blood of Those who have Fought this Devil Before.

Truth is Truth, and it is not reserved to some Evangelical Hypocrite Leading his Flock Astray.

Truth is Paid for Every Day by the Common Man doing Most Uncommon Things.

These Youth will Succeed where we Only Started.

Why? Because they Know the Price of Witness, of Truth, of Respect.


Gee, Ms/Mr Poet,

That was pretty powerful for so few words!

I’ll probably never make it to that Museum or Memorial, too far away and too little $$$. I’ve read about all that and watched Amy’s shows with Bryan Stevenson, one of my heroes.

I think you ought to share your poem with magazines like the Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones, etc. Everyone can use your words of encouragement…

Peace, Amiga or Amigo…


I love that line!


amigo y mi esposa