“Governing bodies could do something, but don’t.
Governing bodies could do something, but won’t. 
They turn to deny, point to a lie.
Claim, out of respect for the families, now is not the time.
But it’s half mast … again.”

The above excerpt is from a poem, “Half Mast,” by Key West poet laureate Jack Hackett. He recited it at the March for Our Lives rally for common sense gun laws on June 11 at Bayview Park.

The event was held in solidarity with the March for Our Lives movement started by survivors of the February 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

Attendees in Key West held signs facing Truman Avenue calling for limits on AR-15s and assault rifles. Speakers also included Ann Labriola and Donna Windle, who detailed statistics on gun violence in America.

The national March for Our Lives movement is dedicated to seeking common ground on which all Americans can agree and compromise to reduce gun violence.  

Several people in Key West, including Democratic candidate for state representative Adam Gentle, join the nationwide March for Our Lives events with a rally on June 11 at Bayview Park in support of common sense gun laws. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

“We call for robust investment in the things communities around the country need to live in safety, including community-based violence reduction programs, suicide prevention programs, domestic violence prevention programs, and mental and behavioral health service programs,” the March for Our Lives website states.

 “We need leaders willing to take bold steps to address the national gun violence epidemic. President Biden and all our elected officials must act with a fierce urgency to call this crisis what it is: a national public health emergency. They must acknowledge that the level of gun violence in the United States is unprecedented for a developed nation. … And they must commit to holding an unpatriotic gun lobby and gun industry accountable, not just for weakening our nation’s gun laws, but for illegal behavior and self-dealing that offends and contradicts America’s vast majority of responsible gun owners.”

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.