Updated: Aug 18, 2019
Today, a 10-year-old boy took a microphone, looked the United States Senator and presidential candidate straight in the eye and asked what he would do to stop shootings in schools that have cost so many lives and caused so much terror.
The boy's name is Elijah Lawson, and the candidate he was addressing was Sen. Cory Booker, who had come to the Bucksport Senior Center near Conway, SC, to address residents of South Carolina.
His question came after adults had asked Booker about his plans to fight high drug prices, improve healthcare, protect Social Security and other issues that are of particular concern to them.
But Elijah was focused on where he is, and what he must face when he goes to school where he's supposed to be safe, be able to learn, and maybe someday be standing before a crowd of people as a senator and presidential candidate.
But he won't be able to do any of that if he's shot dead as he hides under his desk from a deranged shooter at school.
After complementing Elijah for having the courage to articulate his question in front of the crowd and the media, Booker said he would "take the fight to the NRA," and that dealing with gun violence would be a top priority if he is elected.
"We are going to end this nightmare in this country so no child in America has to ask this question again," he promised young Elijah.
Booker briefly outlined the steps he would take as president, saying he would implement a federal gun licensing program, universal background checks, and ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.
Booker’s plan also calls for closing loopholes that allow domestic abusers and people on terrorist watch lists to obtain guns, regulate gun manufacturers and remove legal obstacles that prevent victims of gun violence from seeking justice.
“Were you happy with the senator’s answer to your question,” I asked Elijah later.
“It was amazing,” he said. “Most presidential candidates wouldn’t even answer that question.”
Booker's appearance came just days after mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio by hate filled gunmen wielding assault-style weapons capable of wiping out a crowd of people in seconds.
It followed accusations by many in his party that President Trump must share some of the blame for such shootings because of his racist and divisive remarks and tweets that seem to never end.
"We've had a dark few days in America," said Booker. But love, not more hatred is what is needed to bring the nation together and help it heal, he said.
"You can't lead the people if you don't love the people," he stressed. "You can't beat hatred with hatred."