by Naseer Syed
Originally Published in The Star Press on March 3rd, 2018
Seventeen kids were murdered at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Three days later, less than 50 miles away at a gun show, hundreds thought buying more weapons was the appropriate response.
Give it another week or two, and we’ll have brushed off the frenzy of activism that accompanies mass atrocities in our country. The debates on news media and Facebook will have subsided and life will go on as usual. Our focus will shift to the next mass shooting and these 17 faces will be forgotten by most, replaced, unfortunately, by new ones.
Our desensitization to repeated mass murders of our children in “the greatest country on earth” is utterly despicable, but with 18 school shootings in the first 45 days of 2018, our capacity to mourn every 2.5 days has been exhausted. Our obsession with guns is now at a point where we will gladly barter our children’s lives to keep our weapons; ironically enough, to save them.
Working as a pediatrician, it is my job to care for children and help them grow to be successful, contributing members of society. It is frustrating enough convincing parents to inoculate their children against preventable diseases, but after you pronounce your first death on a child, you realize its value.
Yet, many Americans have failed to realize the value of gun reform, even after reports indicate 1,300 kids die a year in our country from gun-related injuries. We openly criticize teenagers when they decide to eat Tide Pods, because the dangers are apparent and deadly. Yet in 28 states, kids of any age can possess a rifle or a shotgun.
The second leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Bashiruddin Mehmud (peace be on him) said, “nations cannot be reformed without the reformation of youth.” If we truly want to make America great again, we need to invest in the future generation. We killed 17 last month and expect to kill about 1,283 more by the end of the year. Countless others are expected to have permanent disabilities while even more will suffer from PTSD, recurring anxiety and severe depression. Are we great yet?
While thoughts and prayers may help mend the hearts of those grieving, no amount of them will prevent other parents from having to lower their children into graves. As the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said, “trust in God, but tie your camel.”