It can be difficult to talk about a silver lining after a tragedy like the one that just unfolded in Parkland, Florida. Try telling the grieving parents of the 14 students who perished that some good might still come from their child’s murder, for one thing.
But “difficult” doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for the remarkable students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anything that can deter the survivors of Wednesday’s massacre from speaking their mind in a desperate attempt to ensure that this time was the last time.
Whether live on the air in the hours after the shooting, or in front of a crowd at one of the many press conferences and memorials held over the following days, or on social media taking on those who wish to spin the tragedy to fit their own NRA funded ideology, the SDHS students are determined to take ownership of their experience and ensure that their fallen classmates didn’t die in vain.
In that spirit, students and school leaders are working with CNN to produce and televise a town hall meeting next week, called “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action.”
In addition to the students, teachers, parents, and first responders who are expected to participate, CNN has invited local and national political leaders, including Florida Governor Rick Scott, Florida’s two Senators, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and Florida Congressman Ted Deutch. Rep. Deutch and Sen. Nelson are both Democrats, while Gov. Scott and Sen Rubio are Republicans.
CNN has also extended an invitation to President Donald Trump, who has blamed everyone from the victims for predicting the shooting but not doing anything to stop it, to Democrats for not passing stricter gun laws when they controlled the House, the Senate and the White House from 2009 through 2010.
So far, only Rep. Deutch has confirmed his attendence.
The invitation places the president in a peculiar pickle. If he shows up, he exposes himself to uncomfortable questions and risks appearing callous or uninformed in a very politically sensitive situation. If he skips the event, he’ll be conspicuous in his absence in what is sure to be a widely watched event.
The old saying, that it’s “better for people to think you’re an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt,” would perhaps be the best course of action for this president if we were advising him.
The Town Hall will air live on CNN Wednesday, February 21, at 9pm eastern time, and will be moderated by Jake Tapper.