Report: 'We Americans have to do better,' Jacksonville federal judge says

U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan speaks out on Parkland shooting

By Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

Judge Corrigan (File photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville-based federal judge reportedly joined the chorus of influential voices Friday calling for action in the wake of a deadly mass shooting that unfolded at a Florida high school last week.

Those remarks came as U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan was set to hear arguments in the civil rights case of a transgender student fighting for the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity at Nease High School, the Florida Times-Union reported.

"A society cannot call itself civilized if it cannot protect its children. We Americans have to do better than this," Corrigan said before asking for a moment of silence for the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, according to the Times-Union.

Corrigan is no stranger to the spotlight, having presided over the corruption trial of disgraced former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and having been the subject of an assassination plot concocted by a man whose trial he oversaw. But his candor on the high-profile topic is noteworthy:

"Good morning, before we tend to the matter at hand today, I want to make a statement.

And it is not usually appropriate for a judge to speak from the bench about a matter of public interest unrelated to the case before the court. However, there are exceptions, and this is one of those times.

I think it particularly appropriate given that the case that is before the court involves a school district which is tasked with educating 40,000 students, young persons who are the future of our community and nation.

While words are inadequate, they are all that I have.

I join all Americans in feeling a profound sense of sadness and anger over the senseless deaths of 14 students and 3 heroic adults in Broward County.

 These young people cut down just as they were finding themselves and transitioning into becoming responsible adults our society so desperately needs have been robbed of their potential to live full and long lives.

I grieve for them and their families now deprived of a loved one who helped define their very existence.

As a soon-to-be first-time grandfather, I think how these young people will never have the opportunity to have children, and their parents will never get to know the grandchildren they would have had. As an American, I find this entirely unacceptable.

No parent should have to worry when they send their child to school that they child will be murdered in a random spasm of violence.

No student should have to worry about their safety while they are in school.

No teacher or administrator should ever have to explain to a parent how their child was lost to a hateful or evil act while under their care.

A society cannot call itself civilized if it cannot protect its children.

We Americans have to do better than this. We just have to.

God bless those who are lost and their families, those who are wounded that they may recover. And  God bless the United States of America.

I’ll ask you to observe a moment of silence, please.

Thank you." 

To read more about this, visit the Florida Times-Union's website.