I call the students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School “patriots” because their forward thinking and conviction warrants it. They show loyalty to their fellow classmates, teachers, family, community and nation.

Their actions go far beyond any expectation: They’ve managed to hold a mirror to the faces of the failing legislators in Florida and in Washington, D.C. The blood on those hands, like the blood on Lady MacBeth’s, won’t be washed away -- their deed is done.

Brave young patriots, you are bringing your cause to the forefront. You are rightfully provoking the rule makers to face their shame and their failure to allow common sense to be part of the solution.

My hope is that all the students' efforts and actions culminate in making fair and safe gun laws part of everyday life. No more free and easy access to weapons. No more free and easy excuses for immoral behavior. No more free and easy espousing of clichés such as “thoughts and prayers” to assuage the public conscience and to placate the inherent guilt all Americans share in their collective shame.

God’s speed, patriots. I wish you well in making Marjorie Stoneman Douglas the place in our nation’s history that marks the end of innocent children being victims.

Pat Hauswald, Friendship