Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath Statement on Recent Gun Violence
Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), released the following statement responding to recent incidences of gun violence across the country:
"I couldn’t sleep last night. It has been an incredibly difficult week. First my mother called. Locked in the house recovering from COVID, she confessed she had been unable to stop watching the coverage of the shooting in Texas. “Michelle, what got me is that most of them were just 10 years old, the same age as your daughter.”
"Then I picked up my daughter and had to help her process her school’s explanation of the shooting to her and her classmates. And she asked one tragic and unanswerable question, “Why have so many of these shootings been in school, Mommy?” With that question, my heart fell right through my feet.
"So I looked to do what I could. I reached out to a friend whose son had been involved (but luckily escaped uninjured, at least physically) in the recent Burke School shooting in Northwest DC. And suddenly I remembered I had another friend and colleague whose two daughters had been involved in the 2018 Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It is remarkable to me that I now have two close friends who have experienced this sort of terror firsthand. I remember the friend saying to me, “You know my wife and I immigrated from Lebanon to escape violence, and yet…“
"…And yet. Here we are. We think of these events as rare, exceptional. And yet since Columbine in 1999, more than 311,000 American students have experienced gun violence at school. 311,000!! And yet in 2020, bullets replaced cars as the biggest cause of death for our children.
"And yet what can we say that has not been said a million times already? We are outraged, we are defeated, we have prayed for the families. But what have we done? What can we do?
"In my family we always used to spend Memorial Day visiting the graves of our family members, paying tribute to what they meant to us.
"This Memorial Day, we must remember, we must pay tribute, we must help all of our children. So do what you can. Face the pain, shed the tears, comfort yourself and those around you. Then let’s come together to chart a course of action that leads our Nation out of this tragic spiral."