Religious Leaders Call for Prayer After Florida Shooting, but Victim's Aunt Wants Action, Not Prayer

The 19-year-old gunman shot and killed 17 people.

The Parkland, Fla located Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting killed a total of 17 people. The mortality count makes the event one of the most horrifying and deadliest school shootings which has occurred in modern U.S. history.

The shooter is presumed to be a 19-year-old and was reported to be an expelled student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Authorities are yet to figure out a motive. The situation was further complicated when a leader of a known white supremacist group claimed that the shooter was a member. The white supremacist also claimed that the shooter took part in the group's paramilitary drills. Local law enforcement, however, says that they have until now not discovered any connection between the group and suspect.

A number of religious leaders are still trying to search for words after the deadly event. A majority of them as expected asked the faithful to pray. A few asked that prayer to be followed by action. Abbie Youkilis is one of the many who wants action and not just prayers. Youkilis is personally involved in the tragedy as her niece Jaime Guttenberg is one of the 17 who were brutally slaughtered by the gunman during school hours.

Youkilis has written an open letter starting with “Dear America,” and the contents of the letter pleads to end gun violence. The letter, published on February 15, targets politicians who are not capable of restricting gun access and continues to say that they are complicit in the event as well. She also mentions National Rifle Association (NRA) as a virtual participant to the traumatic event. The letter stated that her family does not need any hope and any quantity of prayers. What they need, Youkilis said, is action. She urged politicians to fight the NRA and to try to save the lives of children.

According to Youkilis, advocates of gun rights have abnormally distorted Second Amendment rights which deal with the right to bear weaponry beyond any rational interpretation. She then asks how can a hobby be more important than a person's life? Mentioning her niece, she said there is no justification that Jaime would be the sacrificial lamb at the altar of other people's freedoms. Youkilis said that she intends to politicize the issue-claiming this is what her ninth grader niece would fully approve. However, it is doubtful that the GOP dominated Florida Legislature would do anything on this issue.