November 14, 2019

As I write this, we’re waiting to hear further news reports about the active shooter situation at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. Two students have died and there are multiple other causalities.

America’s state of denial about the vulnerability of our children is beyond dysfunctional; it is malfunctional. Millions of children go to school every day fearing for their lives. And, so do their teachers. And, so do their parents. Nothing going on in our country today should be seen as a more critical issue.

This is not just a political problem; it is a moral problem. And the problem is in us, that we have not yet intervened with a political system so cravenly obedient to corporate profitsin this case, the profits of gun manufacturersover the health and safety of our children.

From the beginning of my campaign for the presidency, I have been doing everything I can to bring attention to the plight of America’s children. I have spoken over and over about the need for two things that address their vulnerabilities: a Department of Children and Youth, and a Department of Peace. When millions of our children live in chronic traumaand yes, having the thought that you might be shot at school today is a daily traumathen there should be nothing, no cost and no sacrifice, too great for us to bear.

The despair of our children has simply been normalized by our government. But not by me. I want trauma informed education, community wrap around services, anti-bullying, violence prevention, social and emotional learning, mental health counseling for children and parents, mindfulness in the schools, restorative justice, conflict resolution and more. I want to address the underlying causes of America’s violence.

I am running for president to break the chain, to interrupt the patterns of denial and distraction that allow these horrors to continue. America right now has the social workers, experts in early childhood, teachers and mental health counsellors who know how to deal with this horrible problem in our midst. Yet they are seen as peripheral to a political establishment too concerned with money and power to address the deeper, underlying pain of so many people in our midst.

Some seem to think that such a holistic response is ahead of its time. Yet I’m wondering how much time they think we have. The children shot at Saugus High School this morning had surely run out of time.

We need to reinstate the assault weapons ban. We need universal background checks. We need to outlaw bump stocks. We need to close the loopholes, both gun show and boyfriend. We need to license guns just as we license cars.

In short, we need to save our children.