In the wake of a Florida school shooting that left at least 17 dead, right-wing media figures immediately blamed “gun-free zones” and argued that future shootings would be prevented if there were armed guards at schools, ignoring that the school did have “an armed police officer” on campus “in addition to security.”
Shooting at a Florida high school leaves at least 17 dead
Gunman opened fire in at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A former high school student, armed with an AR-15-style assault weapon, opened fire on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The shooting left at least 17 dead and 14 others wounded. From a February 15 NBC News article:
The teen gunman accused of opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, officials said Thursday.
Authorities said the suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, concealed himself in the crowd fleeing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following the massacre on Wednesday afternoon. He was arrested in nearby Coral Springs.
Fourteen others were wounded, five with life-threatening injuries, hospital officials said.
The gunman was believed to have been armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and multiple magazines, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. It was unclear whether he had any other weapons, Israel said.
There was no indication that the gunman had an accomplice or accomplices, federal and local authorities said. [NBC News, 2/15/18]
Conservative media figures blame gun free zones, call for armed security in schools
NRATV’s Dan Bongino: The only way to stop school shootings is with “the appropriate security.” NRATV commentator and conservative radio host Dan Bongino said the “only thing that’s going to stop” mass shootings is “a good guy with … a firearm.” During the February 14 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show, Bongino said school shooters are “committed to body counts” and the only solution is “the appropriate training and the appropriate security”:
DAN BONGINO: Sadly, the only thing that’s going to stop these deranged people in an incident like this is a good guy with the appropriate training and a firearm to stop it. I mean, we even saw in the aftermath of Columbine [High School shooting], [inaudible], the information review about what happened, they found out that the actions of the two shooters were altered significantly when one of the local police officers showed up at the scene. There’s really no other way. I wish there were an easy answer to this, but really Columbine changed everything, Sean. These guys are committed to body counts, these deranged killers, and destruction. And the only way to stop it is with the appropriate training and the appropriate security. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 2/14/18]
Fox’s Sean Hannity: “What about retired military, retired police in every school?” During the February 14 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity asked Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi if it is time for “retired military, retired police in every school?”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Attorney General Bondi has been known for really tough law-and-order attorney general in the state of Florida. My question is, if we can't monitor evil that's in people's hearts, is it time -- what about retired military, retired police in every school? At least have some frontline of defense to give some capacity to, to stop carnage when it starts like this. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/14/18]
Fox’s Mark Fuhrman: “We can harden the target” to stop school shooting. Fox’s Mark Fuhrman told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that while “we’re not getting rid of the Second Amendment ... we can harden the target. We can lock down schools.” From the February 14 edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle:
LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Mark, let's start with you. You've been taking this all in today. What are your thoughts?
MARK FUHRMAN: Well, Laura, when you look at this since Columbine, it seems that public schools have grappled with security in a lot of ways. They've come up with a lot of scenarios for lockdown procedures and dealing with the police that are about to approach in an active shooter situation, but we have to look at the things that are coming up. And once again, gun control comes up. Once again, mental illness. We're not going to stop mental illness. We're not going to get rid of the Second Amendment. But we can harden the target. We can lock down schools. We can have some type of electronic admission. We can have metal detectors. We can make the kids safe so the shooter just can't walk into the school anytime he pleases. And that's what happens every single time in one of these shootings. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/14/18]
Fox’s Brian Kilmeade: It’s “ridiculous” not to have “armed guards” in schools. Fox’s Brian Kilmeade asked school therapist and author Tom Kersting if the school where he works has armed guards. When Kersting replied it doesn’t, Kilmeade sarcastically asked, “What are they going to do, wrestle?” Kilmeade also called the school’s practice of not having firearms on its property “ridiculous.” From the February 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): Do you have armed guards?
TOM KERSTING: No. We don't have armed guards. But we have a great security supervisor.
KILMEADE: What are they going to do, wrestle?
KERSTING: Yeah, I know, that’s the thing. It’s--
KILMEADE: That’s so -- it’s ridiculous. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/15/18]
Breitbart’s AWR Hawkins: Parkland school shooting “demonstrates anew the necessity of arming teachers.” Breitbart columnist AWR Hawkins wrote that the Parkland school shooting “demonstrates ... the necessity of arming teachers.” Hawkins went on to say that the “lessons” from Sandy Hook and Parkland massacres are “how many lives could two … armed teachers have saved” and that it’s “inhumane to demand that educators likewise be sitting ducks.” From a February 15 Breitbart column:
The heinous attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School demonstrates anew the necessity of arming teachers so they can defend students from determined criminals who come to campus to do harm.
School resource officers are appreciated and are part of security, but they are only a part.
What if just two teachers had been armed?
How many lives might they have saved, even if it took till the four minute mark to stop the attacker?
Even if they did not stop him until the six minute mark, how many lives might have been saved?
The lessons from Sandy Hook cross over to Marjory Stoneman Douglas as well. How many lives could two (or three) armed teachers have saved by greeting the attacker with armed resistance?
Shame, too, on every politician, bureaucrat, and administrator at the federal level who continues to fight to ensure that other principals and teachers will not be armed in the event that they come under attack.
It is inhumane to demand that educators likewise be sitting ducks. [Breitbart.com, 2/14/18]
Crime Prevention Research Center’s John Lott Jr. blamed “another gun-free zone.”
Another mass public shooting in Florida, another gun-free zone: Parkland, Florida school shooting https://t.co/mY83nqKDeF
— John R Lott Jr. (@JohnRLottJr) February 14, 2018
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera: Our “schools are too vulnerable.”
They caught the little shit in #FloridaShooting Schools are too vulnerable. A straight line can be drawn from 1999 #ColumbineMassacre to #SandyHook to #Broward mass shooting. This is our 21st Century reality-our kids are targets for misanthropic psycho punk losers with big guns.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) February 14, 2018
Fox Business’ Charles Payne: “Certainly some teachers could be trained … allow them to keep [children] safe.”
Certainly some teachers could be trained we trust them with our children already allow them to keep them safe as well. https://t.co/Bps7bOGND9
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) February 14, 2018
Conservative radio host Joe Walsh: “If we care about our children, no school should be a Gun-Free Zone.”
Phil Mudd breaks down on CNN, saying “we cannot accept this.” It's true, we shouldn't. We shouldn't accept sending our children into schools that set them to potentially become defenseless victims.
If we care about our children, no school should be a Gun-Free Zone. #Parkland
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 14, 2018
Conservative radio host Bill Mitchell: If teachers had been armed, the gunman wouldn’t "have gone there.”
If the shooter knew teachers were armed and trained, he wouldnt have gone there.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) February 15, 2018
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did have an armed guard
On Fox, county commissioner confirmed the school does have an armed police officer stationed on campus. Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine told Fox’s Bill Hemmer that the high school “does have an armed police officer” on campus “in addition to security on top of that.” From the February 15 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:
BILL HEMMER (HOST): Can you tell me about the security system at that school? What sort of barriers are in place to prevent somebody from entering there especially after the reports we're getting that this killer was banned from the school and banned from bringing any backpack on school property? What more do you know about that?
MICHAEL UDINE: So, the school does have an armed police officer that is stationed at the school. All of the schools in this town have a deputy that is assigned to the school in addition to security on top of that. Ingress and egress to the school is supposed to be monitored from one location. Although when you are talking about a school as big as this, I would imagine there are ways to get a person in and out. The security is going to have to be something and the ingress and egress of the school is I’m sure something we're going to be talking about in greater detail as we move forward. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 2/15/18]
NBC News: “The shooting on the sprawling campus happened despite the presence of police officers at the school.” [NBC News, 2/15/18]