By Kevin Deutsch
Days after his daughter Jaime would have graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland activist Fred Guttenberg launched a new campaign asking America’s dads to take action against gun violence this Father’s Day weekend.
“Jaime should have proudly accepted her diploma last week as a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ Class of 2021,” Guttenberg wrote in his “Open Letter to Every Dad in America.” “Instead, I joined my wife and son to accept a ‘shadow box’ in Jaime’s honor.”
“I don’t want any other dad to endure this suffering,” Guttenberg wrote. “My vision is not radical. It is sensible and simple: an America without the threat of being shot and killed at school, at work, at church, at the mall, at home, and at every corner.”
As part of his efforts, Guttenberg is partnering with Brady, the gun control advocacy group, in calling for 1 million Americans to show their support by signing his letter.
A prominent conservative voice has already added his name to Guttenberg’s missive: Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Il.
“Two dads. One, a strong gun-rights activist. The other, a strong gun safety activist. Trying to find common ground on guns. And we did,” Walsh said on Twitter following an appearance opposite Guttenberg on MSNBC.
“He & I disagree on numerous gun control measures,” Tweeted Walsh. “But I agreed to sign his #DadsforGunSafety letter in a spirit of bipartisanship. To find common ground.”
In his letter, Guttenberg tells fellow fathers, “we can unite to resist the gun lobby’s dangerous lies — lies that tell us masculinity is tied to a toxic gun obsession, that perpetuate the myth of “good guys with guns,” that market assault weapons to us as toys instead of lethal weapons of war.
“We have a role here,” continues Guttenberg. “Men are more likely to be the perpetrators of gun violence. Men are more likely to be the ones to die by gun suicide. Men are more likely to be gun owners.”
Among the changes advocated by Guttenberg: Senate passage of a bill mandating universal background checks on gun sales, already passed by the U.S. House.
Jaime Guttenberg was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas during the deadliest school shooting in American history on Feb. 14, 2018. She would have been among those who walked across the stage last week to accept her diploma.
“But Jaime didn’t get to walk across that stage,” her father wrote. “Instead, I spent Jaime’s would-be graduation day visiting her grave.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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