Parkland Shooting Survivors Confront Marco Rubio & NRA Spokeswoman In Emotional Town Hall

One student survivor asked Rubio to no longer accept donations from the NRA. 

Emotions were high at Wednesday's (Feb. 21) town hall where survivors of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland addressed Florida lawmakers and the National Rifle Association about gun control.

Hosted by CNN's Jake Tapper, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and Rep. Ted Deutch were present to have what hoped to be a fluid conversation with students and residents of Broward County. The discussion turned in a debate several times as students poised straight-forward questions about gun reform and lawmakers' friendships with the NRA.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed by the hands of gunman Nikolas Cruz, addressed Rubio and his previous comments on protecting gun laws. "Sen. Rubio, I want to like you. Here's the problem. ... Your comments this week and those of our President have been pathetically weak," he said. "Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in the school this week."

Student survivor Cameron Kasky also asked Rubio to stop taking donations from the NRA to which Rubio replied, "The influence of these groups comes not from money." He added, "You can ask that question and I can say that people buy into my agenda." Loesch deflected several questions by students while placing the blame for the shooting solely on Cruz. "I don't believe this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm," Loesch said.

Rubio promised a number of things to students like strengthening background checks, banning bump stocks and limiting magazine stocks.

In the end, it seemed like many of the students didn't get the answers they hoped for. "It was more of a debate than a discussion," Avery Anger told reporters. The 14-year-old hid in a closet during the Feb. 14 shooting. "I don't feel like they answered the questions."

Those watching at home also felt the same.

One student absent from the town hall was Colton Haab. The teen told WPLG-TV he decided not to attend the town all after CNN reportedly gave him scripted questions for the discussion. "CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted," Haab said.

Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC, shielded fellow students from gunfire. He wanted to suggest veterans to work in schools but after his points were ignored, he decided not to attend. "I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions," said Haab."I don't think that it's going get anything accomplished," he concluded. "It's not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have."

CNN has denied the claims. "There is absolutely no truth to this," said Richard Hudock, CNN's senior manager of public relations in a statement to The Hill. "CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night's town hall, nor have we ever. After seeing an interview with Colton Haab, we invited him to participate in our town hall along with other students and administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected."

The outlet also released a statement on their social channels.

President Donald Trump met with high school shooting survivors separately with written cues on how to express empathy.

READ: Donald Trump’s Reported Notes Serve As Sympathetic Cues During Gun Violence Town Hall

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John Legend Reacts To Being Named People's ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

John Legend was unveiled as People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive” on Tuesday (Nov. 12) and he's admittedly surprised by the honor. Nonetheless, Legend thanked the outlet for recognizing his sex appeal, especially after Idris Elba snagged the title last year.

Legend tweeted a split photo of himself in 1995 next to a current image of Elba along with a caption revealing that his younger self would be “perplexed” by the “Sexiest Man Alive” title. “Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed,” he added. “But thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it.”

1995 John would be very perplexed to be following 2018 @IdrisElba as #SexiestManAlive. Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed but thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it 🤓 pic.twitter.com/Gw1la5Ebv4

— John Legend (@johnlegend) November 13, 2019

Chrissy Teigen also found the humor in her husband’s new title and changed her Twitter bio to “currently sleeping with people’s sexiest man alive.”

The 40-year-old singer EGOT winner (Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Oscar) was “excited but scared” to add his People’s Sexist Man Alive to his list of accolades. “It’s a lot of pressure,” Legend told the magazine. “Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m [also] following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”

On a more serious note, the father of two credited his parents with teaching him humility and kindness, and beamed about his family.

“I’m so proud that I have a wife and two kids I’m so in love with and so connected to. I’m also so proud of my career. I love writing songs and performing on stage. I get a lot of joy from it and give a lot of joy to other people. I’m pretty at ease with myself now!”

[email protected] is PEOPLE’s #SexiestManAlive 2019 https://t.co/lxXce6dulv pic.twitter.com/YooHLW3vSM

— People (@people) November 13, 2019

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Trailblazers Portrayed In 'Hidden Figures' To Receive Congressional Gold Medals

Engineers Mary Jackson and Christine Darden, mathematician Katherine Johnson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn are being honored with the highest U.S. civilian award.

The four trailblazers, three of whom were depicted in the film Hidden Figures, will receive Congressional Gold Medal, ABC News reports. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) helped introduce the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, a bipartisan bill signed by President Donald Trump last Friday (Nov. 8).

As the highest civilian award in the U.S., the Congressional Gold Medal recognizes those who have performed an achievement that has had a lasting impact on American history and culture.

Johnson, who celebrated her 101st birthday last summer, calculated trajectories for numerous NASA space missions beginning in the early 1950s. Vaughn, who died in 2008, led the West Area Computing unit for nine years, and was the first black supervisors at the national Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which later became NASA.

Jackson, who died in 2005, was NASA’s first black engineer. Darden became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Jackson and went on to “revolutionize aeronautic design.” She was also the first black person to be promoted to Senior Executive at NASA's Langley Research Center, and has also authored more than 50 articles on aeronautics design.

“Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Dr. Christine Darden made monumental contributions to science and our nation,” said Senator Harris. “The groundbreaking accomplishments of these four women, and all of the women who contributed to the success of NASA, helped us win the space race but remained in the dark far too long. I am proud our bill to honor these remarkable women has passed Congress. These pioneers remain a beacon for Black women across the country, both young and old.”

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Courtesy of Crawford Family, WVLT

Authorities Release Grisly Details Of Alexis Crawford’s Murder

Alexis Crawford was strangled to death before her body was thrown in a trash bin, the Fulton Country Superior Court revealed in court documents released on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

Crawford died on Oct. 31, reports the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Four days earlier, the 21-year-old Clark Atlanta University senior filed a police report against her roommate, Jordyn Jones's boyfriend, Barron Bentley, accusing him of sexual assault. Crawford had a rape kit performed on her at a local hospital. Crawford's decision to go to police caused tension between her and Jones, which erupted in a physical fight.

“As a result of the physical altercation, Barron Brantley choked the victim until she was deceased,” the Atlanta Police Department said.

After killing Crawford, Jones and Brantley, both age 21, stuffed her body into a “plastic bin” and transported it to Exchange Park in Decatur, Ga., where they left her remains.

Crawford and Jones knew each other for at least two years, and became close while studying at Clark Atlanta. The Michigan native even visited Crawford’s family’s home during the holidays.

Brantley confessed to Crawford's murder and led police to her body last Friday (Nov. 7). Jones was arrested the following day.

Brantley and Jones are both charged with felony murder and are being held without bond.

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