When his 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was murdered at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, Fred Guttenberg’s life changed forever.
Jaime was one of 17 victims — mostly teenagers — who were shot and killed when a gunman open fired at the school.
And now, the 52-year-old Jewish dad has dedicated the rest of his life to gun safety. Today, which marks 6 months since the shooting, he wrote on Twitter, “This is not an anniversary for me, this is just another day to wake up and remember what we lost. I am again traveling dealing with what I believe to be the main issue, which is gun violence, this is most definitely not what I want to be doing.”
Guttenberg continued, “I want to be with my complete family. I am having a hard time finding my words today. For those who make jokes about this, as has happened with some politicians and the NRA lately, it is not funny and I will not stop. I will work to defeat you.”
Guttenberg rose to prominence when he confronted Florida Senator Marco Rubio at a town hall only a week after his daughter was killed. The grieving dad told Rubio, “Look at me and tell me that guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week. Look at me and tell me you accept it, and you will work with us to do something about guns.”
He also called Rubio’s comments “pathetically weak.”
Since then, he has taken to Twitter, attended rallies across the country, and testified in front of Congress. As a profile of Guttenberg explains, “In the wake of so many American mass killings, there have been a series of parents like him: the ones who come out swinging, the ones who seem impossibly strong in the early days of grief.”
To the NRA and gun manufactures who I blame for the fact that I have to look at my daughter as a memory, I plan to destroy what you stand for and what you have done to this country, my family, and the other victims of gun violence!!! pic.twitter.com/KyLcO67Ntv
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) August 6, 2018
Guttenberg told the Guardian, “The only time I don’t think about my daughter and just want to cry, to be honest, is when I’m busy doing this.”
He started a nonprofit, Orange Ribbons for Jaime, dedicated to pursuing common sense gun safety reforms. He wrote in Marie Claire, “Orange was Jaime’s favorite color. Orange is also the symbol of the gun safety movement. In Jaime’s name, I am dedicating the rest of my life to fighting to end gun violence.”
I have been accused by some of not saying enough and only caring about guns. That is not true. It is correct to say that I believe firmly that if the killer could not have legally purchased his weapon, my daughter and 16 others would be alive.
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) August 5, 2018
We applaud his activism, and our heart goes out to Guttenberg and his family.
Header Image via Fred Guttenberg on Twitter.