Open letter from families affected by 1996 shootings at Scottish primary school backs gun control campaign
A message from Dunblane to Florida school shooting survivors – video
Families whose children were killed in the Dunblane school shooting in Scotland have sent an open letter in support of survivors of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida in February, on the 22nd anniversary of the massacre.
The letter, signed by 78 survivors and relatives of the victims, offers support to the surviving Parkland students, who have been campaigning for gun control reform in the US.
The letter, first published by Buzzfeed, reads:
Dear Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas School,
On the most poignant day of the year for us we wanted to reach out and offer our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to you and your teachers and to all the families and friends of those who died at your school on 14th February. We have watched and listened with tremendous admiration as you have spoken out for what you believe should happen now, a significant change of attitude towards the availability of guns in your country.
Twenty-two years ago today our own lives were devastated when a gunman walked into Dunblane primary school in Scotland and shot dead sixteen 5- and 6-year-old children and their teacher and injured many more. The children who were killed or badly injured were our daughters and sons, our grandchildren, our sisters and brothers, our nieces and nephews, our cousins. The teacher was our wife, our sister, our mother. Five of us are survivors. The gunman owned his four handguns legally, and we knew it had been too easy for him to arm himself with lethal weapons. Like you, we vowed to do something about it. We persuaded British lawmakers not to be swayed by the vested interests of the gun lobby, we asked them to put public safety first and to heed what the majority of the British people wanted. Most politicians listened and acted. Laws were changed, handguns were banned and the level of gun violence in Britain is now one of the lowest in the world. There have been no more school shootings.
We want you to know that change can happen. It won’t be easy, but continue to remind everyone of exactly what happened at your school and of the devastation caused by just one person with one legally-owned gun. Never let anyone forget. There will be attempts to deflect you, to divide you and doubtless to intimidate you, but you’ve already shown great wisdom and strength. We wish you more of that wisdom and strength for this toughest of tasks, one that will be so important in order to spare more of your fellow Americans from having to suffer the way you have. Wherever you march, whenever you protest, however you campaign for a more sensible approach to gun ownership we will be there with you in spirit.
Tonight we will be lighting 17 candles for those who died in Dunblane and will be remembering the 17 who lost their lives in Parkland. Our thoughts will also be with every other victim of gun violence.
We offer you our total support for the March for Our Lives and sincerely hope you achieve success. It can be done. #NeverAgain.
The shooting in Dunblane took place on 13 March 1996. Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children aged five and six, and their 45-year-old teacher, Gwen Mayor. He then shot himself dead.
Survivors of school shootings in the US have organised the March For Our Lives, scheduled for 24 March, demonstrations planned in Washington DC and across the country to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools.
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