Students, teachers, and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School confronted politicians, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch Wednesday night at a CNN Town Hall, demanding that more be done to protect students and teachers from gun violence on campus. (Which is something we can all agree on.)
Throughout the event blame was continually [mis]placed on both guns and the NRA. Audience members didn’t even try to hide their contempt for the NRA and anyone affiliated with it, and when the spotlight turned to Loesch, their anger boiled over. Loesch was barely able to get an answer out as the high school students yelled insults at her, unimpeded by manners, teachers, or parents in attendance.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, a big fan of gun control, sensed an opportunity to pile on and deflect a little attention from his own agency’s failings. After survivor and student organizer Emma Gonzalez confronted Loesch with a nonsensical question about making it harder to obtain automatic weapons and Loesch shut it down, Israel stepped in:
“I understand you’re standing up for the NRA and I understand that’s what you’re supposed to do. But you just told this group of people that you’re standing up for them, you’re not standing up for them until you say I want less weapons.”
Not long after that exchange, a math teacher from the school kinda sorta questioned the Sheriff about the FBI and the Sheriff’s Department missing red flags in the case. Israel gave a hand-wringing reply, wishing that law enforcement just had more power and more tools.
“We received numerous tips on this killer. Some we answered by phone. Some were out of state. Some we went out there…If we made a mistake, I’ll act accordingly and deal with it.
“What I’m asking the lawmakers to give police all over this country is more power. In Florida we call it the Baker Act…. against their will, involuntarily, to go to a mental health facility, and be committed. What I’m saying is that if a police officer…feels that the totality of circumstances, the computer, the bedroom, the photographs, speaking to the friends, if we feel the totality of the circumstances rises to the level where we’re concerned this person might be mentally ill, we need the power to take every firearm they have away from them and bring them to a mental health facility.”
Loesch wasn’t going to let him wriggle away from taking responsibility, and absolutely destroyed him.
“39 visits did not meet that standard? 39 visits, assaulting students, assaulting parents, taking bullets and knives to school, did that not meet that standard?
“He’s sending messages threatening to kill people, that right there, under Florida State law….They were threatened with death. They were threatened that they were going to bleed. They were threatened that they were going to be killed. And he had already taken bullets and knives to school. He had already assaulted people. He assaulted his parent. He assaulted other students. Thirty-nine visits. This was known to the law enforcement community. This is what I’m talking about. We have to follow up on the red flags.”
Sheriff Israel got snotty with Loesch, with a “You’re not the boss of me!” type of answer.
“You’re absolutely not the litmus test as to how law enforcement should follow up. You’re wrong. There weren’t 39 visits. Some of them were GOA, some of them were from other states. To say there were 39 visits, I don’t know where you got those facts, but you’re completely wrong.”
Hmm, where did she get those facts?
Loesch replied, “From the media. Did they report it wrong?” Israel claimed they did, but outlets such as the New York Post got their information from CNN, who got their information from… records produced by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.