The reaction to every school shooting differs. After the Parkland shooting in Florida, students spoke out. Now a police chief has. Following the deaths of 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, Houston police chief Art Acevedo pleaded for gun control on Facebook. Acevedo said he had reached "rock bottom" and called out elected officials for doing nothing to stop such violence.
Acevedo's post may remind you of other friends on social media who invite friends to un-friend them if their blatant political views offend them. He started, though, explaining why he'd had it. "To all my Facebook friends," Acevedo wrote, "Today I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve shed tears of sadness, pain and anger." Then he said just how serious he was:
I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue. Please do not post anything about guns aren’t the problem and there’s little we can do. My feelings won’t be hurt if you de-friend me and I hope yours won’t be if you decide to post about your views and I de-friend you.
The shooting at the high school was just a 45-minute drive from the center of Houston. Of the dead, eight were students and two were teachers. The school had armed officers, a plan for what to do, and had practiced it. They even planned to eventually arm teachers.
And still a student was able to open fire on his classmates and teachers using guns he likely got from his father. It's thought they were bought legally. Acevedo wrote that this is unacceptable, acknowledging how strongly some believe about gun rights:
I have never accepted the status-quo in anything I do and I’ve never accepted defeat. And I won’t do it now. I will continue to speak up and will stand up for what my heart and my God commands me to do, and I assure you he hasn’t instructed me to believe that gun-rights are bestowed by him.
He also explicitly called out the religious people who have prayed in the wake of school shootings instead of taking action. "The hatred being spewed in our country and the new norms we, so-called people of faith are accepting, is as much to blame for so much of the violence in our once pragmatic Nation," Acevedo wrote.
Then he explicitly called out the "thoughts and prayers" reaction given by so many elected officials, much as the Parkland students have. "This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and Inaction, it’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing)," Acevedo continued.
Despite his prediction that many would un-friend him as a result of the post, he has received some 30,000 likes and another 15,000 shares as of Sunday afternoon. More than 100 people have commented (only his friends are able to as it's his personal Facebook, not a Page).
For those who did decide to un-friend the police chief, he had kind words. "I wish those that move on from this page the best," Acevedo wrote. "May God Bless you and keep you."
Acevedo's combination of prayers and action on gun control may inspire others of faith to grow involved. Or his blunt reaction may encourage others to speak out. Either way, his Facebook post is not one many gun control advocates are likely to forget.