Sunday, September 23, 2018

Uprising: Pulse to Parkland

Pam Schwartz and I attended two screenings at the Global Peace Film Festival. The screenings were at the Bush Auditorium on the Rollins College Campus. The first film was "Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane". It was produced by Kim A. Snyder the same documentary film maker that made "Newtown". Father Bob Weiss was featured in Newtown. In the days following the Sandy Hook Massacre that took the lives of 26 children and teachers on December 12, 2012, he was tasked with burying 8 of those children. Interviewed in this film he broke down as he said that it was an honor to be able to do this for the families. After the tragedy he was still needing to heal himself while having to answer parishioners questions and grief.

He received a letter from Father Basil O'Sullivan from Dunblane, Scotland where in 1996 sixteen school children were gunned down by a gunman. Through a series of letters, the two forged a bond sharing their similar experiences in having to deal with the trauma and recovery. Father Basil agreed to fly to Newtown for the one year remembrance. One year after such a tragedy can be re-traumatizing and he decided to go in solidarity to offer his support. My favorite scene had the Father reading the same sermon he presented in Dunblane after that tragedy. The audio of that sermon from the past cross-dissolved with the present audio. At the Dunblane sermon, Charles Prince of Wales was in the congregation. After Pulse, I've seen members of our community reach out when others face the same kind of tragedy.

The second film, "Uprising: Pulse to Parkland" was about two Florida Communities united by grief and anger from deadly mass shootings. After 49 lives were taken at Pulse, gun legislation was proposed and quickly died in Tallahassee. Part of the problem was that the legislature wasn't in session at the time. When 17 lives were taken at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School  the movement for sane gun legislation once again ignited. March for Our Lives swept up the peninsula and marched into the Nation's Capitol. The Stoneman Douglas Students demanded an end to assault weapons and a stop to gun violence in America. The NRA however is a strong force in America with many politicians paid off and in their pockets. The battle for gun legislation is a long and continuing battle. Other countries around the world are shocked by America's murderous obsession with guns.

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