For children, the world can be so simple, even for a little girl who saw her friend gunned down in an elementary school playground. Leave it to a seven-year-old to cut through the political BS and obfuscations and get to the heart of the matter.
Mr. President, you say there is a problem and we must keep kids safe, little Ava Olsen essentially wrote to President Trump after receiving a hand-signed letter from the chief executive. So what are you going to do about it?
Here's what happened, according to The Washington Post.
About 17 months ago, when Ava walked outside her school in Townsville, SC for recess, a 14-year-old drove up to the playground in a pickup, jumped out and began shooting. After just 12 seconds, his pistol jammed, but by then, three people at Townville Elementary School had been shot.
One bullet struck Ava’s first-grade teacher in the shoulder, and another hit a classmate in the foot. But a third bullet struck 6-year-old Jacob Hall, who Ava had decided to marry when they grew up. Three days later, Jacob died.
Ava was so traumatized that she was diagnosed with PTSD and the doctor recommended that she be home-schooled. Still, Ava worried about her brother, Cameron, and other kids still in school. Would they be safe?
So, she wrote to President Trump. “Dear Mr. President,” Ava printed, explaining what happened at her school. “I heard and saw it all happen and I was very scared. My best friend, Jacob, was shot and died. That made me very sad. I loved him and was going to marry him one day. I hate guns. One ruined my life and took my best friend.”
Ava asked how the president would protect children from more school shootings. “Please,” she asked, “keep kids safe from guns.”
The day after Christmas, a letter came from the White House.
“Dear Ava,” it read. “Thank you for your letter. It is very brave of you to share your story with me. Mrs. Trump and I are so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Jacob.
“Schools are places where children learn and grow with their friends. Their halls should be free of fear,” the letter continued. “It is my goal as President to make sure that children in America grow up in safe environments, giving them the best opportunity to realize their full potential. I will continue to focus on protecting Americans and improving the safety of our Nation.
“Mrs. Trump and I hold you close in our hearts. We hope you always remember that no matter what may happen, there are so many people in your life who love you, support you, and want to see you fulfill all your dreams.”
According to The Post, Ava told her mom, “He didn’t say how he could keep kids safe.” So on Jan. 8, she wrote Trump another letter.
“I sometimes still think about that day in my head thinking it will happen again,” she wrote. “If you have the time, I have some ideas to help keep kids and schools safe. Sometimes people who live through a school shooting have better ideas.”
Ava suggested: Move schools to safer places, give children a place they can run to if something bad happens, build schools in circles and put the playgrounds in the middle.
Her mother mailed that letter and Ava hoped everything would get fixed before any more kids were hurt. But just two weeks later, in Kentucky, another teenager at another school fired another gun, killing two students and wounding a dozen others.
At the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump believed all Americans deserved to be safe in their schools and communities.