Dan Rather's gut-wrenching reaction to the Florida school shooting is a must-read.

From Watergrate to world wars, revered journalist Dan Rather has seen a lot of injustice in his day.

Still, certain senseless tragedies can strike a nerve. Wednesday saw one of those tragedies.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.


A 19-year-old gunned down students and adults at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018. Nikolas Cruz slaughtered at least 17 people in his killing spree, both inside and outside the building.

After the 18th school shooting this year alone, many baffled, heartbroken Americans are asking: How can this still be happening?

In a thoughtful yet gut-wrenching Facebook post, Rather reacted to the massacre in Florida both with emotion and with an appeal to reason.



"Sadness and despair — those were my first reactions," the 86-year-old journalist began. "But then, quickly, I am hopping mad."

"What happened in that Florida school today IS NOT OK," he continued. "THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Our children should be able to go to school and be SAFE."

Sadness and despair - those were my first reactions. But then, quickly, I am hopping mad. My urge is to use a much...

Posted by Dan Rather on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rather used an unlikely, eye-opening comparison to illustrate our inaction over gun violence: Ebola.

"Remember the national panic over Ebola? It ended up killing one person," Rather wrote:

"But there was a national consensus that we would do whatever it took to protect Americans. But when it comes to gun violence in schools, we just throw up our hands? Thoughts and prayers? Is that how we should have responded to threats like 9/11 as well?"

Students shed tears outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images.

Ebola, however, didn't have one of the most powerful lobbying groups enticing U.S. lawmakers to stay silent.

The National Rife Association (NRA) dumped roughly $50 million into the 2016 election campaigns of (mostly) Republican candidates who vowed to uphold — and even expand on — the U.S.'s lax gun control laws.

And the group's power is especially prevalent in Florida, where this shooting took place.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The Sunshine State has "become a laboratory for generating new forms of gun protections," according to NPR's Terry Gross, who pointed to prominent Florida gun lobbyist Marion Hammer as "one of the most powerful people in the NRA." Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was one of the biggest beneficiaries of gun lobby cash in 2016, as the NRA spent over $3.3 million targeting his opponents.

At the national level, the NRA spent over $11 million on ads supporting Donald Trump — and nearly $20 million on anti-Hillary attack ads, according to Business Insider.

"We like to call ourselves the best country on earth," Rather wrote. "We like to say how we have a can-do spirit to conquer challenges. But all that self-congratulatory rhetoric rings pretty damn hollow on days like today."

"Anyone who says now isn't the time to talk about gun violence, anyone who says there's nothing we can do, anyone who offers up only thoughts and prayers is saying that they can't be bothered with the hard work of trying to keep American children safe. Shame on them. And shame on our nation."

Text RESIST to 50409 or contact your representatives in Congress to demand they act on on gun legislation.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less