On February 16, 2018, Robert Schentrup lost his sister, Carmen, when she was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL -- shot four times by a gunman in her classroom who was armed with a weapon of war.
Today, Robert and his mom, April Schentrup, are working with the Brady Campaign in its effort to convince lawmakers across the country and in Washington, DC to support common-sense gun-safety legislation, including reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons.
They are urging Americans to sign the Brady Campaign petition calling on lawmakers to act, and urging those who want to see such carnage ended to contribute to that campaign. Since we at Not Fake News fully endorse this initiative, we are passing their message on to you.
Here's how Robert put it in the appeal email that I received the other day, talking about the shooting of his sister:
"It’s hard to put words to the wrenching heartbreak that followed. I remember feeling an overwhelming emptiness ... part of me had been ripped away that I’ll never get back. I could only break down and sob. Carmen is gone forever, and my family and I will never be the same – all because a weapon of war got into the hands of someone who should never have had one.
"No family in this country should ever have to endure the pain of losing a loved one in a horrific massacre like what happened in Parkland – and I’m working alongside Brady to make sure this never happens again.
"I’ll be blunt: This isn’t work I would necessarily have chosen. I was a college freshman when I lost Carmen. But all the work I do – traveling across the country to testify for lawmakers from Colorado to Pennsylvania to the U.S. Senate, working with Brady to launch their youth-led lobby collective in Florida, and writing op-eds to bring people together to take action – I’m doing it for Carmen. I’m doing it because I don’t know how I’d carry on without trying to keep these shootings from happening again. I’m doing it because, truthfully, it’s the only way I know how to cope.
"But in doing this work alongside Brady, something happened: I realized that we could take action into our own hands and fight for common-sense gun-safety legislation in Florida and across the country."
Those are the words of a young man who is grief stricken at the loss of his sister. Now, listen to his mother, Carmen's mom as narrated by Jackie Cristiano:
"Even though two years have passed, I still struggle to grasp it – like when people ask how many kids I have. I once tried “I have one in college, one here with me, and one in heaven” – but that didn't feel right, either. I’m still looking for a way to answer that question.
"Carmen was killed just a week before she turned 17. She dreamed of becoming a scientist and working to cure the neurodegenerative disease ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s excruciating to know that her murder could have been prevented – that I could still have Carmen here with me – if clear warning signs about the shooter hadn’t fallen “through the cracks” and extreme risk laws had been in place.
"But that’s not my reality. I have to fight every day to make sure I’m doing everything I can so no mother will ever go through what I’ve been through and lose their Carmen.
"Today, I’m asking you to stand with me to create that change by helping Brady. In honor of my daughter and lives taken from us two years ago, please, will you sign the petition to demand Congress prevent school shootings?
"Today, I’ll hug my family close. But tomorrow, I’ll be back out there fighting. "We need you in this fight."
Those were the words of Robert Schentrup and is mom, April. We hope you will listen to them. We hope you will care. Sign the Brady petition today.