Nets Mark Parkland Anniversary: Gun Control Push ‘Will Never Stop’

On Thursday, as the network morning shows marked the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead, reporters touted how student activists demanding gun control “will never stop” and were “keeping up the momentum” for new Second Amendment restrictions.

While reporting from outside the school in Parkland, Florida for NBC’s Today show, correspondent Kerry Sanders noted: “As for the student leaders who emerged on the national stage pushing for gun control and registering young voters they have chosen to spend the day out of the spotlight to honor and pay tribute to those who were lost that day...” Though his statement was interspersed with soundbites of anti-gun rallies organized by the students.

 

 

“They say their fight for limiting access to guns will never stop,” the reporter added. Followed by a clip of student David Hogg proclaiming: “People do not lose people from gun violence. People are stolen from us from gun violence.”

At the top of the 9:00 a.m. ET hour of the morning show, co-host Al Roker noted that the anniversary was “really sad,” but declared that “hopefully we put some more pressure on this and people start to make some changes.” Fellow co-host Sheinelle Jones agreed: “Positive change.”

Co-host Craig Melvin fondly recalled attending the protest march organized in Washington D.C. following the tragedy: “You know, I was at the March for our Lives rally last spring, in the wake of that shooting, and remember being moved not just by the speeches and the stories, but just by the presence of so many young people....Young people who traveled from all over the country....to try to affect some sort of change.”

Roker chimed in: “Young ones who couldn’t even vote yet.”

Such praise for young activism came from the same network that actively tried to smear teenagers from Covington Catholic High School who participated in January’s annual March for Life as racist.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Victor Oquendo highlighted: “Some of the more vocal students-turned-activists who have organized those March for Our Lives rallies, they’re going on a media blackout for the next three days....out of respect for the victims.”

Even so, co-host Robin Roberts wanted to focus on them: “Those activists that you referred to pushing for stricter gun laws. So where do we stand with that?” Oquendo gushed: “Robin, those kids have made it their mission, they have not stopped, and some 76 laws have been passed in the past year.” He also touted how congressional Democrats were pushing the agenda: “Just last night, the House Judiciary Committee voted on advanced legislation requiring background checks for all guns and transfers.”  

While portions of NBC and ABC’s coverage emphasized the gun control effort in the wake of Parkland, almost the entire report on CBS This Morning was devoted to the political angle. Correspondent Adriana Diaz began:

We spoke to students and victims’ parents who told us that they are finding strength through activism. They say the movement that emerged from this tragedy is keeping up momentum. In fact, just last week there was a group on Capitol Hill lobbying lawmakers.

The headline on screen announced: “Fighting for Change; Students & Parents Push New Laws One Year After Parkland Shooting.”

The reporter lamented: “In the year since the massacre, Congress passed modest legislation allowing states and federal agencies to better share mental health and criminal records, but no new federal gun control laws.” She asked shooting survivor Aalayah Eastmond: “Do you think there’s been enough change nationwide?”

Eastmond responded: “Absolutely not. Particularly for communities of color. I feel like the conversation of gun violence prevention has been surrounded by mass shootings or school shootings, which is only about two percent of gun violence as a whole.” Clips of the March for Our Lives rally followed.

However, This Morning was the only broadcast to mention the findings of a Florida commission report on the school shooting during its anniversary coverage. Diaz informed viewers:

As student apply pressure publicly a Florida commission investigating the shooting made dozens of recommendations last month, including metal detectors and so-called “hard corners” where students can hide. This one from inside Stoneman Douglas is equipped with red first-aid kits with tourniquets to stop bleeding. The report also called for more funding for the state’s controversial new Guardian program. We visited a training in June where everyday people learn to become armed school guards. Parkland’s district says it’s adopted more than half of the recommendations so far.

Not only did the report call for arming teachers, it detailed the numerous failures of local law enforcement in responding to the crisis. Gun control was not suggested as a way to prevent incidents in the future.

After Diaz wrapped up her report, co-host Norah O’Donnell fretted: “It’s hard to believe that was a year ago, and what little has changed.”

Immediately after the shooting in February of 2018, the media predictably went to work using the tragedy to crusade for gun control and foment political division. One year later, the liberal press are eager to use the anniversary as an occasion to jumpstart the effort.

Here are excerpts of the February 14 coverage on NBC’s Today:

7:10 AM ET

(...)

KERRY SANDERS: This is not a day that anybody here wants to remember. Rather the students and staff say they would much prefer to focus on the here and now and how what happened a year ago has exposed problems in our country that still remain unsolved.

(...)

SANDERS: As for the student leaders who emerged on the national stage...

CROWD [PARKLAND STUDENTS]: We call BS!

SANDERS: ...pushing for gun control and registering young voters...

UNIDENTIFIED BOY [PARKLAND STUDENT AT MARCH FOR OUR LIVES RALLY]: Register, educate, vote!

SANDERS: ...they have chosen to spend the day out of the spotlight to honor and pay tribute to those who were lost that day...

(...)

SANDERS: They say their fight for limiting access to guns will never stop.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: You have not seen the last of us.

SANDERS: This week, survivors and their families launching a new petition urging Florida lawmakers to ban assault weapons like the one used by the admitted Parkland shooter.  

DAVID HOGG [PARKLAND STUDENT]: People do not lose people from gun violence. People are stolen from us from gun violence.

SANDERS: Things look different now, not just in Parkland. Armed guards now standard at all Florida schools. President Trump speaking Wednesday about the anniversary.

DONALD TRUMP: Nothing is more important than protecting our children.     

(...)

9:01 AM ET

(...)

CRAIG MELVIN: Sadly, today marks one year since the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen lives lost. Survivors who became so vocal after the shooting, they’ve chosen to stay out of the spotlight for a few days to honor the victims. The school district designated this as a day of service and love. One of the survivors of that shooting told our Kate Snow a few days ago that Valentine’s Day will never be the same for them.

AL ROKER: Of course not. It’s really sad. But, you know, hopefully we put some more pressure on this and people start to make some changes.

SHEINELLE JONES: Positive change. I like the idea that they’re taking it and they’re being proactive with it and they’re doing a day of service, instead of doing interviews. The interview that Kate Snow did, she prerecorded it, so that today, it could be about service.

JENNA BUSH HAGER: And by the way, there’s a really beautiful new book out called Parkland that – and of course now I can’t think of the author. But look it up, it’s out right now. And it’s a really beautiful look at how they took their tragedy and did something with it. And they said it was really a coping mechanism. That they had to choose activism because what else were they gonna do?

MELVIN: You know, I was at the March for our Lives rally last spring, in the wake of that shooting, and remember being moved not just by the speeches and the stories, but just by the presence of so many young people.

JONES: Young people.

MELVIN: Young people who traveled from all over the country.

ROKER: Young ones who couldn’t even vote yet.

MELVIN: Yeah, to try to affect some sort of change.

JONES: And motivated for change.

(...)

Here is an excerpt of the coverage on ABC’s GMA:

7:13 AM ET

(...)

VICTOR OQUENDO: Some of the more vocal students-turned-activists who have organized those March for Our Lives rallies, they’re going on a media blackout for the next three days. And Robin, they say their doing this out of respect for the victims.
    
ROBIN ROBERTS: Yes they are. Those activists that you referred to pushing for stricter gun laws. So where do we stand with that?

OQUENDO: Robin, those kids have made it their mission, they have not stopped, and some 76 laws have been passed in the past year. Some banning those bump stocks and regulating ammunition size. Here in Florida, one law specifically raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 years old  and the waiting period to three days. And just last night, the House Judiciary Committee voted on advanced legislation requiring background checks for all guns and transfers.

(...)

Here are excerpts of the coverage on CBS This Morning:

8:04 AM ET

(...)

ADRIANA DIAZ: We spoke to students and victims’ parents who told us that they are finding strength through activism. They say the movement that emerged from this tragedy is keeping up momentum. In fact, just last week there was a group on Capitol Hill lobbying lawmakers. Now, students also tell us that it’s been tough for them to balance academics and activism.    

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Fighting for Change; Students & Parents Push New Laws One Year After Parkland Shooting]

(...)

DIAZ: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has beefed up security, adding more than a hundred new cameras and doubling its security staff to 18. But students, like senior Aalayah Eastmond, are demanding more.

AALAYAH EASTMOND: Our lives depend on you, our lives are in your hands. Thank you.  

DIAZ: She told her story on Capitol Hill last week.

EASTMOND: When the gunman shot into our classroom, Nicholas Dworet was in front of me. As Nicholas fell, I matched his every movement and hid underneath his lifeless body.

DIAZ: In the year since the massacre, Congress passed modest legislation allowing states and federal agencies to better share mental health and criminal records, but no new federal gun control laws. Though states, including Florida, passed 66 gun control bills. At least seven states expanded background checks and eight allowed law enforcement to confiscate weapons from at-risk individuals.

[TO EASTMOND]: Do you think there’s been enough change nationwide?

EASTMOND: Absolutely not. Particularly for communities of color. I feel like the conversation of gun violence prevention has been surrounded by mass shootings or school shootings, which is only about two percent of gun violence as a whole.

CROWD [MARCH FOR OUR LIVES RALLY]: Vote them out! Vote them out!  

DIAZ: As student apply pressure publicly...

UNIDENTIFIED BOY [PARKLAND STUDENT]: I’m amazed that I cannot see the end of this crowd here in D.C. today!

DIAZ: ...a Florida commission investigating the shooting made dozens of recommendations last month, including metal detectors and so-called “hard corners” where students can hide. This one from inside Stoneman Douglas is equipped with red first-aid kits with tourniquets to stop bleeding. The report also called for more funding for the state’s controversial new Guardian program. We visited a training in June where everyday people learn to become armed school guards. Parkland’s district says it’s adopted more than half of the recommendations so far.

(...)

DIAZ: The victims’ families are pushing for changes in school safety, mental health, and responsible firearm ownership. They also already have more trips to Washington planned.

(...)

NORAH O’DONNELL: It’s hard to believe that was a year ago, and what little has changed.

(...)

NB Daily Parkland School Shooting Guns March for Our Lives ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Kerry Sanders Robin Roberts Adriana Diaz

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