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

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Jordyn Woods Talks Being "Bullied By The World" After Tristan Thompson Drama

In her first interview since appearing on Red Table Talk, Jordyn Woods shed light into the bullying that she endured in the aftermath of the Tristan Thompson cheating scandal that may have ended her relationship with the Kardashian-Jenner crew.

As previously reported, Woods was busted kissing Thompson, Khloe Kardashian’s ex-boyfriend, during a party at his house. After her Red Table Talk interview, Khloe attempted to blame Woods for ruining her family, but after receiving backlash, the reality star changed her tune.

During an appearance at Nigeria’s Homecoming Festival last weekend, Woods spoke about how the public backlash gave her an understanding of what it feels like to be a black woman.

“My little sister was bullied in school and I wanted to show her that if I was bullied by the world you can [get through it],” she said in a video from a panel discussion that was published by the Daily Mail. “I understood for the first time what it’s like being a black woman in  society, and how we can be so disrespected and nobody can really understand to that extent until you have to live it.”

The appearance in Nigeria marked Woods’ first trip to the Motherland. Despite being bullied online, Woods has seemingly bounced back stronger than before the Kardashian drama. After her initial interview with Jada Pinkett-Smith, Woods was flooded with support and has reportedly been scoring various business opportunities in light of the incident.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Diddy Opens Up About Kim Porter In Emotional Interview

Diddy is opening up about the day his “life turned upside down.” In the May 2019 issue of Essence magazine, the 49-year-old mogul speaks about hopping into “mommy mode” after the shocking death of model/actress Kim Porter, who was his ex-girlfriend and the mother of four of his children.

“She was unforgettable,” Diddy told writer and producer Dream Hampton. “That day turned my world upside down. Three days before she passed, she wasn’t feeling well. She had the flu, and she sent the kids over to my house so they wouldn’t get sick. One night I was checking on her, and she was like, ‘Puffy, take care of my babies.’ She actually said that to me before she died.”

Diddy graces the magazine’s special 49th anniversary cover alongside his and Porter’s 12-year-old twin daughters, D’Lila and Jessie, as well their 21-year-old son, Christian, and 27-year-old Quincy Brown, Porter’s son with Al B. Sure. The Bad Boy Records founder's tween daughter Chance, who was born weeks before the twins, also appears on the cover along with Justin Combs, Diddy’s 25-year-old son with Misa Hylton.

In the six months since Porter's death, the “unconventional” blended family has been working through the massive loss of their beloved matriarch. Porter, 46, died last November following a bout with lobar pneumonia.

Although Diddy believes that Porter was his “soulmate” the pair endured ups and downs that they were eventually able to “heal” from, he explained.

“The betrayal really affected Kim,” Diddy said in reference to his infidelity, before admitting that he feared that he may lose his “best friend,” at one point in their relationship.

Building “trust” mended the emotional wounds. “There was total trust,” he said. “Whenever I was around her, I felt as though God had his hand in it. I always felt like God had sent her. Nobody could love me the way she loved me, especially as, you know, as crazy as I acted. I mean, she loved me through some real s**t.”

Continue Reading
Getty Images

DJ Paul Sues Travis Scott For Copyright Infringement

DJ Paul has filed a multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit against Travis Scott for allegedly stealing his music.

According to TMZ, the Three 6 Mafia member accuses Scott of snatching a portion of the hook from his 1997 track “Tear Da Club Up,” for “No Bystanders” off the 27-year-old rapper’s Astroworld album.

Paul claims that the hooks to both songs are “virtually identical and strikingly similar,” reports The Blast. The lawsuit also notes that the songs sound so much alike that Scott changed his lyrics from to “f**k da club up,” “tear the club up” during his Grammys performance in February, without Paul's permission.

The Memphis native is asking for at least $20 million in damages. However, TMZ reported that Scott reached out to Paul sometime Tuesday (April 23) to potentially work out the legal matter.

The “Sicko Mode” rapper has faced multiple lawsuits over the last two years, including being sued for canceling a music festival performance. Last week, Scott lost a nearly $400,000 lawsuit after being sued for pulling out of a party during Super Bowl weekend. In 2017, La Flame was hit with a lawsuit brought on by a fan who was paralyzed after sustaining injuries during one of his concerts.

 

Continue Reading

Top Stories