Last night CNN held a town hall with the students, parents and teachers from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Jake Tapper served as moderator and was joined by Florida Senators Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson, Rep. Ted Deutch, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
It could have been an important and much needed conversation, with both sides offering suggestions and discussing practical solutions. Instead, it turned into an angry, emotionally charged attack on the GOP, NRA and the Second Amendment.
One student tried to back Marco Rubio into a corner by asking him to publicly declare that he would not accept any more money from the NRA.
When trying to talk with the father of a student who died in the attack, he was repeatedly booed by the crowd when discussing fixing laws we already have instead of full on banning semi-automatic weapons.
Dana Loesch, a spokesperson for the NRA and conservative talk show host, was met with even more distain from the crowd. When Emma Gonzalez asked her question, she precluded it with a statement saying ” Dana Loesch, I want you to know that we will support your two children in the way that we will not – – you will not.” She then went on to ask Loesch about making it harder to obtain semi-automatic weapons and modifications such as bump stocks.
Amid the booing, people in the crowd also started yelling “murderer” and “burn her” at Loesch while she was responding to questions.
Sheriff Israel even accused her of not standing up for the students because she wouldn’t say the NRA wanted less weapons but then later on said “America, there’s one person responsible for this act. That’s the detestable violent killer. He is responsible for this act. No other — nobody else but him.”
Muskets came up. A well regulated militia came up. The time era the Second Amendment was written in came up. Each time Loesch tried to present facts and talk to the crowd about the language and how it was written, she got booed. If they’d had rotten tomatoes, it’s probable people wouldn’t have been throwing them at her. And in an interview with a student following the town hall, they were still livid with the NRA, saying they offer no solutions to change.
This went on for two hours and while these students and parents have every right to be emotional and express that outrage, this was supposed to be a forum for discussion and instead it turned into a mob rule rally for a full repeal of the Second Amendment.
Major props to Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch for going into that lion’s den in the first place. It was hostile, emotional and downright infuriating that these two people, who are trying to work with the other side were treated so disrespectfully. And shame on CNN for exploiting the victims of this tragedy to push an obvious gun control agenda and score ratings, just one week after the school shooting.
For a full video and transcript of the town hall, click here.