A call for action


You have most likely already witnessed high school students from Florida exhort local and national leaders to enact common sense gun laws. Whatever your opinion is regarding the matter, we all want safe schools and communities. We need more than words of praise or condolence. For this moment in time, change and action are required. Now more than ever, we should be asking “why?” It’s time.


The chambers were all frozen

Human glaciers sat galore

Decades mired in inches

When we needed so much more

Children in the hallways

A barrel lurking by

Scenes witnessed countless times

How many have to die?

Bullets as donations

Money changing hands

Lawmakers playing silly games

With the laws of the land

Complicit in inaction

Prompting teachers to wear guns

All the while parents grieve

For daughters and lost sons

Tears today are worthy

Yet tomorrow calls for more

Time has come for reflecting

On who’s minding our nation’s store

Stand up and be counted

And ask each other why

These tragedies need to happen

How many have to die?

Each generation must create its own sense of spirit and legacy. Mine (the Baby Boomers) was created through Vietnam, Civil Rights, Women’s issues, The Cold War and the Space Race. The children of today are being impacted by a series of events that includes the dark cloud of gun violence. We can help by guiding. We can help by listening. We can help by allowing them to create their own zeitgeist. There will be growing pains–there always are. That’s Democracy. That’s the reason for hope. It’s time we listen to the shoes of our children who are inexorably marching to a cadence of change. This poetry in motion strikes at the heart of us all as it fuels another generation to take action. See you soon.

Robert Houghtaling is the director of the East Greenwich Drug Program and a longtime contributor to these pages.


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