Record editorial: When people most affected by gun violence speak, we have an obligation to listen |

Record editorial: When people most affected by gun violence speak, we have an obligation to listen

In a better world, neither Parkites — nor millions of other people around the country — would know the teenagers’ names.

But we do. We know the names David Hogg and Jaclyn Corin because on a February day in 2018 a gunman entered their high school in Parkland, Florida, and killed 17 people, including 14 of their peers. We know their names because, in the wake of that tragedy — the kind of experience that is difficult for most people to even fathom — they turned their grief into action and set about doing everything in their power to prevent others from having to endure what they did.

Their example — and that of many of their classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who have also raised their voices to change the discussion surrounding firearms in America — is inspiring. And their message is important. When Hogg and Corin speak at the Eccles Center on Saturday evening, Parkites should pay close attention.

The vitriol the gun debate engenders among some people can make it tempting to avert one’s eyes. So, too, can the anguish of watching mass shootings continue to occur month after month, year after year, without our leaders in Washington taking any meaningful steps to prevent them.

But we have an obligation not to look away. Importantly, that means listening to the people who have been most affected by gun violence.

For an example of what can happen when well-meaning people engage on the issue, Parkites need look no further than Hogg and Corin. After the Parkland shooting, the teens became outspoken gun control advocates, helped organize the nationwide March for Our Lives movement and pushed thousands of other young people into action, such as the Park City High School students who walked out of class last year to protest gun violence and later marched on Main Street for the same cause.

If teenagers whose lives were changed forever by a mass shooting have the courage to stand up and speak out about what they believe in, even as people on the other side of the issue vilify them, so too can everyone else who understands the importance of common-sense gun reform.

From that activism, perhaps there will be a day when parents can send their children to school without hesitation and when people can walk into a place of worship without fear. If that day comes, it will be the people who refused to stay silent, people like Hogg and Corin and those who have followed their lead, we’ll have to thank.

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