A woman who lived through a high school tragedy remembers when the government tried to prevent disasters

At least 17 people were killed and 14 others were hospitalized when a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yesterday.

When Heather Booth was in high school, seven of her classmates were killed and 24 injured in the Fox River Grove bus-train collision. Following the 1995 disaster, transportation regulators investigated what went wrong and made dozens of changes at 16 different local, state, and federal agencies.

After this week’s horrific shooting spree at a high school in Parkland, Florida—the latest in a slew of school massacres—Booth wrote an impassioned plea calling for action:

“What kind of lifelong scars do we inflict on youth when the adults who are there to protect them don’t force change in the wake of preventable tragedy?” she wrote. “Think about the worldview we create for youth when their awful experiences result in nothing but hand wringing and despair.”

Here is her Twitter thread in full:

Update: In an interview with Quartz, Booth added,

“I believe firmly that we need to listen to and support youth in their emotional and social development. That’s something completely apolitical that anyone can do, whether by direct action or by funding education and mental health initiatives.

I’d rather not comment on specific gun legislation because that seems to divide people when right now, what we need to do is acknowledge that as a society, we find it unacceptable to do nothing when children die. If we start with that basic foundation, we can build solutions.”

This post has been corrected. An earlier version of this post listed the date of the Fox River Grove crash as 1997; it took place in 1995.

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