It’s only been a week at this point since an expelled student returned to their former high school — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — and opened fire, killing 17 people and wounding many more.
The aftermath of that shooting has left the nation as bitterly divided as ever, but with one new element. In the wake of the shooting, students have emerged as a prominent voice demanding action on gun control. Students have organized, among other expressions of this, a “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C. next month to push for gun control.
CNN is highlighting the perspective of these students via a nationally televised town hall that will take place Wednesday night at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. That town hall will include students affected by the shooting, both of Florida’s U.S. Senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio — and, according to CNN, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.
CNN revealed Wednesday morning that the organization had accepted its invitation to participate in the event and would be sending Loesch as a representative.
Loesch is not exactly a welcoming figure, known for peddling violent rhetoric on behalf of the organization for which she works.
In one video posted last August, she issued an angry ultimatum directed at The New York Times, saying, in part:
‘Consider this the shot across your proverbial bow. We’re going to fisk The New York Times and find out just what deep rich means to this old gray hag — this untrustworthy, dishonest rag that has subsisted on the welfare of mediocrity… in short, we’re coming for you.’
.@DLoesch has a message for the @nytimes: “We’re coming for you.” One
non-#fakenews story is not enough. #NRA #ClenchedFistofTruth pic.twitter.com/Hm1QkJi5Tp
— NRATV (@NRATV) August 3, 2017
In so doing, she patterned herself after the president himself, of course, who’s called the mainstream media the “enemy of the American people.”
The strangely belligerent video is just one of many instances featuring strange and violent rhetoric from the NRA spokeswoman.
In light of this, her participation in the town hall is likely to prove interesting, to say the least.
She will be joined, as mentioned, by both of Florida’s U.S. Senators, as well as Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and Florida’s U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, besides students Kevin Trejos, Ryan Deitsch, Alfonso Calderon, Chris Grady and Emma Gonzalez.
Gonzalez gained notoriety for her impassioned speech in support of gun control delivered at a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this past Saturday, in which she called out the president and other Republican politicians for taking money from the organization.
As she noted in her speech, Trump himself has benefited from millions from the NRA, which can’t exactly be perceived as unrelated to his relative inaction on gun control.
In the aftermath of the recent Parkland shooting, the president has chosen to move to ban bump stocks, which turn semi-automatic weapons into devices closer to automatic weapons, even though bump stocks weren’t used in the Parkland shooting.
Bump stocks did figure prominently in the tragedy of last year’s mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival, having been used by the attacker in that incident even if not in this one.
Trump himself, along with Florida Governor Rick Scott, were invited to the CNN town hall, but both men declined the invitation. Trump is set to hold a “listening session” with students on Wednesday.
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