The President's Touching Response to a Seven-Year-Old
A little girl traumatized by losing her best friend wrote to Trump asking for protection from guns.
No person with an ounce of humanity can fail to be touched by the letter sent to President Donald Trump by seven-year-old Ava Olsen of Townville, South Carolina. It was heartbreaking to read, first-hand, the emotional trauma this sweet little girl has endured over the last 16 months, haunted by nightmares of the day she lost her best friend.
Little Ava was on the schoolyard playground of Townville Elementary on the afternoon of Sept. 28, 2016, when 14-year-old Jesse Osborne pulled up in his father’s Dodge pick-up, pulled out a gun, and began firing. His shots struck three people before the pistol jammed — Ava’s first-grade teacher was hit in the shoulder, another classmate was hit in the foot, and her best friend, six-year-old Jacob Hall, was struck and killed.
Later accounts reveal Osborne, who had also attended Townsville Elementary, had been a “model” student, but was later the victim of bullying. He was kicked out of his middle school when other students noticed a hatchet in his backpack. The morning of the school shootings, Osborne took the pistol from his father’s nightstand, shot him in the back of the head, and then drove to the school, where he opened fire.
It’s a tragic story from every perspective. An innocent six-year-old died at the hands of a tormented 14-year-old who hit a breaking point and lashed out in a heartless, cruel and cowardly way. Jacob Hall is dead, Ava Olsen is emotionally traumatized, and a small town is left to pick up the pieces.
In her letter, Ava related her experience to President Trump, told him of her nightmares, expressed her hatred of guns, which she says “ruined [her] life,” and then issued a plea for him to “keep kids safe from guns.”
President Trump responded to her letter, telling Ava how brave she is and thanking her for sharing her story. He expressed his sorrow for her loss, and his desire to see American children grow up in safe environments. He promised to focus on protecting Americans and improving safety.
Not unexpectedly, considering the hyper-politicized world we now live in, Trump’s critics attacked him for his response. The Washington Post, which published the story, noted that Trump did not say how he would keep Americans safe before reciting school shooting statistics, as if this were an indictment of Trump himself, not to mention the supposedly lax gun laws we’re supposed to clamor for fixing. (The Post and other major Leftmedia outlets, by the way, are guilty of peddling phony statistics on the matter so as to push their agenda.)
The Post also reported on a second letter from Ava to the president, in which she offered some suggestions of her own as to how to keep schools safe, such as building circular schools with playgrounds in the middle so no one can drive up and start shooting, or moving schools to safer areas, and having people around to make sure no one hurts children. Her suggestions are touching in their innocent sincerity but, as would be expected of so young a child, she doesn’t yet understand certain realities.
She doesn’t understand that when people have freedom, they sometimes use that freedom to do stupid, destructive or hateful things; and the only way to prevent all bad things from happening is to completely control all people and force them to act a certain way, which is an even greater form of evil.
She doesn’t understand that guns are tools with no moral value of their own, and even though a gun was used in this instance in an evil way, guns are used far more often in self-defense, and in preventing or limiting such violence against the innocent. To disarm law-abiding citizens is to guarantee that there will be even more such shootings, with even more victims.
She doesn’t understand that we are a nation of laws, and that American citizens have a Second Amendment right to own firearms for their own protection, whether that be from common criminals or government tyranny. And just as we would never contemplate eliminating free speech protections because some cruel people use their free speech to bully others, neither should we eliminate the right to bear arms because some use them for ill.
She doesn’t understand that laws are the final recourse for bad or malevolent behavior, and that in a civil society such as America, we rely on a shared set of values in order to live peaceably together. Founding Father John Adams once wrote that our Constitution was “was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
In other words, our Constitution only works in a nation where the people are self-governing; where they live by the Judeo-Christian principles upon which this nation was established and our laws structured; where they treat one another with courtesy and respect, not because they fear retributive government force, but because they desire to live in harmony with their neighbors.
Such values were not long ago universally accepted in America. Now they are considered antiquated, judgmental and even harmful. Now people are judged not by the content of their character, but by their sex/race/identity group. By such standards, evil acts are often “justified” if the perpetrator is a member of the proper victimized identity group. As a result, our schools have become war zones, with armed guards and metal detectors, and some call this “progress.”
Such complexities are beyond the grasp of little Ava, not that she should have to grapple with such concepts at so tender an age.
But that is no excuse for the rest of us.