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The standout moments that made CNN's gun control town hall feel like a game-changer

Added: 24.02.2018 4:33 | 0 views | 0 comments


On Wednesday night, a raw, emotional town hall about gun control on CNN emerged as a pivotal moment in the debate over gun control.  As a crowd of several thousand cheered and jeered, the survivors and families of the victims of last week's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, pushed back on Senator Marco Rubio and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch more than any member of the media has.  SEE ALSO: Amy Poehler blasts NRA after they tweeted a 'Parks & Rec' GIF This movement is being led by a group of brave and mature-beyond-their-years teenagers who are unafraid to express their fury at an inactive government and the big money that enables them. And it finally feels like this time, finally, something is different.  That it was all broadcast on a national platform like CNN was even more crucial, and it provided a stark contrast to the usual empty talking points that are circulated by six-pundit panels on cable news. While such town halls are often devoid of substance, the students and their tenacity not only broke the cycle of these pointless made-for-TV debates, but also changed the conversation in the process. Students like Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky have given voice to the anger and grief we've collectively felt too many times. They've channeled their outrage and exasperation in a way that, though sometimes uncomfortable, refused to let apathy sink in, cracking the shiny facade of cable news and pushing the gun debate forward. Emma Gonzalez, Sheriff Israel refuse to let Dana Loesch off the hook Emma Gonzalez has already gained notice for her passionate speech in the wake of the shooting, and on Wednesday night she was one of many students bravely stood their ground against those in power — including NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.  Loesch has caused controversy in the past with her pro-gun statements for the NRA, but that didn't rattle Gonzalez, who not only didn't blink in the face of one of America's most (in)famous gun advocates, but wouldn't let Loesch get away with ducking the question, proving herself to be a tougher questioner than so many reporters have in the past.  And Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel followed up on Gonzalez's questioning, refusing to let Loesch off easy for her stance, telling her, "You're not standing up for [the students] until you say 'I want less weapons.'" The one-two combo of a student survivor and a respected law enforcement official — whose jurisdiction includes the school where the shooting occurred — was an undeniable show of unity against an organization that has sunk countless millions into making sure guns like the one used in this (and other) mass shootings remain obtainable.  Cameron Kasky and Fred Guttenberg corner Senator Marco Rubio When given the chance to directly confront an elected official that is supposed to represent the people, it's reasonable to think that the heat of your argument might dim a little because of the weight of the moment.  But not in the case of Cameron Kasky. Another student survivor of the shooting, Kasky called Rubio out on his acceptance of NRA campaign contributions and challenged him to start turning them down as cheers from attendees rained down.  The debate around the NRA's lobbying efforts is another milestone in the familiar cycle of mass shootings. Those lawmakers that accept the NRA's money are called out, time and again. Yet few of them have had to face down survivors of a mass shooting like Rubio did on Wednesday night in front of a national television audience.  SEE ALSO: Powerful New York Times ad calls out lawmakers funded by the NRA Kasky wasn't the only one who pressed Rubio hard. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the shooting, told Rubio point blank that statements made by him and by President Trump in the wake of the shooting were "pathetically weak."  Rubio was forced to look into the eyes of a parent who'd lost his child and address his views. The in-person audience hurled boos at Rubio while an anguished parent lambasted him in a way he's not used to. It was raw and riveting and beyond any television CNN or its competitors have produced in a long time. It was also probably the toughest questioning Rubio has ever faced — on CNN or any other news channel. And that it came from a high school student and a grieving parent shouldn't be lost on us. A new bar for holding politicians accountable has been set. Sheriff Israel takes the lead While the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been at the forefront of the renewed debate, they have a powerful ally in the aforementioned Sheriff Scott Israel. That a leading law enforcement member has so vocally backed the students only gives legitimacy to their point of view. To say that law enforcement has become a lightning rod in our current divisive political environment is a brutal understatement.  But Sheriff Israel has been an ardent supporter of the students' initiatives since the shooting. Doing so on a national stage, standing with the students in front of a national audience and leaving no wiggle room for those looking to twist his words, was a powerful show of unity to a nation that badly needs it.  The students refuse to go quietly Perhaps the most cathartic moment came at the conclusion of the town hall, when students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sang "Shine," an original song written by the students about love and defiance in the face of tragedy. While the song features moving lyrics, especially considering the context in which the students wrote it — "We're not gonna let you win / We're putting up a fight / You may have brought the dark / But together we will shine a light" — it was the spoken interludes from the students that delivered the biggest punch.  When one student emotionally delivered the line, "We refuse to be ignored by those who refuse to listen," it was easy to believe her. The fiery resolve was evident to anyone watching the town hall and listening to the song.  SEE ALSO: Parkland shooting survivors call for a march on Washington, D.C. So often these events are dominated by politicians who excel at spinning direct questions in banal talking points and by "commentators" who sometimes mean well but ultimately spout the same sound bites over and over, a circle of "analysis" that sounds all too familiar. But the students and their allies — law enforcement, teachers, the parents of their slain classmates — made the most of the platform they were given Wednesday night, transforming the typically made-for-TV event into something rawer, more emotional and, ultimately, more powerful than anyone could have possibly imagined. 

Florida shooting survivor says we should call AR-15s ‘Marco Rubio’ because 'they are so easy to buy'

Added: 24.02.2018 4:17 | 0 views | 0 comments


A Florida high school student who survived last week's mass shooting took to social media on Friday to slam Senator Marco Rubio for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

From: www.yahoo.com

Late pastor Billy Graham to lie in honor in US Capitol

Added: 24.02.2018 3:17 | 0 views | 0 comments


The body of Reverend Billy Graham, a spiritual advisor to several presidents, will lie in the US Capitol Rotunda next week so Americans can pay respect to the globally influential preacher, lawmakers said Thursday. The rare honor of placing an American's remains in the Capitol is usually reserved for US presidents, military officials and politicians. Graham, who died Wednesday at age 99, would be only the fourth private citizen so honored, and the first person since US senator Daniel Inouye in 2012.

From: www.yahoo.com

'Pathetically weak': what Florida survivors said to NRA and politicians

Added: 24.02.2018 2:02 | 0 views | 0 comments


Survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, and victim’s parents joined politicians, local sheriff Scott Israel, and Dana Loesch of the National Rifle Association in a town hall discussion hosted by CNN. To Senator Marco Rubio: “Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak ... Look at me and tell me that guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week.

From: www.yahoo.com

Florida shooting survivor says we should call AR-15s ‘Marco Rubio’ because 'they are so easy to buy'

Added: 23.02.2018 22:34 | 0 views | 0 comments


A Florida high school student who survived last week's mass shooting took to social media on Friday to slam Senator Marco Rubio for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

From: www.yahoo.com

The Latest: California senator quits before discipline vote

Added: 23.02.2018 22:34 | 0 views | 0 comments


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on sexual misconduct in the California Legislature (all times local):

From: www.yahoo.com

Late pastor Billy Graham to lie in honor in US Capitol

Added: 23.02.2018 22:02 | 0 views | 0 comments


The body of Reverend Billy Graham, a spiritual advisor to several presidents, will lie in the US Capitol Rotunda next week so Americans can pay respect to the globally influential preacher, lawmakers said Thursday. The rare honor of placing an American's remains in the Capitol is usually reserved for US presidents, military officials and politicians. Graham, who died Wednesday at age 99, would be only the fourth private citizen so honored, and the first person since US senator Daniel Inouye in 2012.

From: www.yahoo.com

Penguins pick up Brassard, trade Cole in 3-team deal

Added: 23.02.2018 21:34 | 0 views | 0 comments

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired center Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators on Friday night in a three-team deal that sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Vegas Golden Knights.

From: www.foxsports.com

'Pathetically weak': what Florida survivors said to NRA and politicians

Added: 23.02.2018 21:19 | 0 views | 0 comments


Survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, and victim’s parents joined politicians, local sheriff Scott Israel, and Dana Loesch of the National Rifle Association in a town hall discussion hosted by CNN. To Senator Marco Rubio: “Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak ... Look at me and tell me that guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week.

From: www.yahoo.com

Donald Trump defends NRA as ‘great American patriots’ as he doubles down on call to arm teachers

Added: 23.02.2018 20:03 | 0 views | 0 comments

I hope!" What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018 Mr LaPierre stepped into the debate with a full-throated defence of the Second Amendment, which enshrines the right to bear arms, at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington. He told a crowd of young conservatives: "We must immediately harden our schools. Every day, young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. "The elites don't care not one whit about America's school system and school children. Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms." He questioned why professional basketball games and parts of Hollywood were protected by armed guards but schools were not.  He said: "Do we really love our money and our celebrities more than we love our children?" Mr LaPierre also lashed out at the FBI for failing to act on a tip about the Florida school gunman. Will be meeting with Lawmakers today at 11:30 A.M. to discuss School Safety. Next week it will be with our Nation’s Governors. It’s been many years of all talk, no action. We’ll get it done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018 However, Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida and ardent NRA supporter, publicly criticised the widespread arming of teachers. He said: "I don't support that. The notion that my kids are going to school with teachers that are armed with a weapon is not something that, quite frankly, I'm comfortable with.” Alfonso Calderon, 16, a survivor of the Florida shooting, said: "As far as I'm aware teachers are meant to be educators. "They are not meant to know how to carry AR-15s. They are not meant to know how to put on Kevlar vests for the other students or themselves." Mr Trump initially floated the idea on Wednesday night during an emotionally charged White House "listening session" with survivors of mass shootings in Florida, Columbine and Sandy Hook. At the session Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter Meadow, 18, in the Florida shooting, told the president: "It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I'm p----d. We as a country failed our children. "I can't get on the plane with a bottle of water, but we leave some animal to walk into a classroom and shoot our children."

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