Find the Helpers author Fred Guttenberg has written an open letter to his daughter Jaime who lost her life in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School three years ago.
By David Matthews
Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of the 17 victims killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, wrote an open letter to his daughter which he posted on Twitter on the three-year anniversary of the murders.
Jaime, 14, was a freshman at the time of the shooting. Her brother, a fellow student, survived.
“Your brother Jesse survived…you did not, Guttenberg wrote. “You are on my mind every second of every minute of every day. I constantly relive your last seconds in my mind. Did you suffer? I will never know, but I fear that you did.”
“My voice was not fighting the evil of gun violence before it was my daughter and for that I am sorry,” he added. “Today you should be a senior in school. We should be celebrating love.”
“We should be looking at your senior pictures with you, watching you excitedly apply to colleges and helping you decide where to go. We should be excitedly looking forward to prom and I should be thinking about the advice I want to give you at graduation. While I am so happy to see all of your friends have these experiences, it breaks my soul to know that you are not part of that.”
Guttenberg goes on to describe how he is focused on ending gun violence now.
“I failed you by not speaking out before you were killed, I will never stop now. In your name and your memory, gun safety legislation will pass. Because of what happened to you, this country now understands that we need to do better.”
“In your name and your memory, gun safety legislation will pass. Because of what happened to you, this country now understands that we need to do better.”
“I LOVE YOU, I MISS YOU, AND I PROMISE TO ALWAYS FIGHT FOR MOM, JESSE, AND EVERYONE ELSE THAT YOU LOVED,” he concludes the letter. “WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS!!!”
Earlier Sunday, President Biden called on Congress to pass ”commonsense gun law reforms” in a statement about the anniversary of the shooting.
“Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” Biden said in a statement.
“This administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call,” the statement reads. “We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer.”
Other news sources reporting on Fred’s letter:
What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope
Life changed forever on Valentine’s Day 2018. What was to be a family day celebrating love turned into a nightmare. Thirty-four people were shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Jaime Guttenberg, a fourteen-year-old with a huge heart, was the second to last victim. That she and so many of her fellow students were struck down in cold blood galvanized many to action, including Jaime’s father Fred who has become an activist dedicated to passing common sense gun safety legislation.
Fred was already struggling with deep personal loss. Four months earlier his brother Michael died of 9/11 induced pancreatic cancer. He had been exposed to so much dust and chemicals at Ground Zero, the damage caught up with him. Michael battled heroically for nearly five years and then died at age fifty.