No one can argue that too many parents have lost too many children at senseless school shootings across the country. Everyone, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives grieve for these children and their parents. The issue is, that smart people disagree about the cause of these tragedies. One parent used 52 school buses to try to show what he thinks the cause is.
One parent of a child that was killed at the school shooting in Parkland in 2018 decided to turn his grief into a protest with art, reports PEOPLE. Artist Manuel Oliver’s son Joaquin was shot and killed, along with 16 others, by a madman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida four years ago.
Oliver designed a procession, called the NRA Museum, which consists of 52 buses carrying 4,368 empty seats, one for each of the child victims of gun violence over the past three to four years, along with some favorite items that belonged to those some of the kids that have been killed in school shootings.
The convoy was a mile long, as it headed through Texas to get to Senator Ted Cruz’s house. When they parked, they formed the shape of an assault rifle. “We are trying to make a difference in this fight against gun violence through non-traditional ways,” Oliver told PEOPLE. He says that “[t]he NRA is putting money in the pockets of our representatives,” and he wants anyone who sees the NRA Museum to wonder if the NRA has something to do with the school shootings that have taken place in the United States.
Oliver started a non-profit, called Charge the Ref, to honor their son who was killed and to try to effect change. They say they intend to visit all Senators, one at a time, with their museum, but they chose Cruz first because he has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NRA. He said “Ted Cruz alone has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NRA, and that is the reason why things don’t move forward. This has to stop. Our leaders have to start putting lives above profits.”
Buzzfeed reports that Ted Cruz has accepted $749,000 from pro-gun groups.
Manuel Oliver is not just angry with Republicans. On Monday, he interrupted Joe Biden during a Rose Garden speech while he was celebrating the new gun control legislation recently passed by Congress.
Cruz’s office responded to the exhibit, saying in part, “Senator Cruz is committed to enacting policies that would stop school shootings. To that end, he introduced legislation to double the number of school resource officers, hire 15,000 school-based mental health professionals…,” reported KHOU 11.
The 52 buses must have been quite a sight to see. It’s hard to fault these parents who want to effectuate change and honor the son they lost. Is there any way for people to meet in the middle around this issue?