The aggrieved father of a student killed during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida took Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to task this week for focusing on the highly politicized and divisive issue of gun control in the wake of the massacre rather than spending airtime discussing school safety. In an appearance on the show, Andrew Pollack acknowledged that gun control is a major issue, but refuted the idea that the school shooting provided an occasion for another in a series of endless debates.
“The American people, we could get together on school safety,” said Pollack, who evinced a belief that concrete actions could be taken to help kids without change to gun laws.
Pollack was specifically expressing frustration with an interview Wallace conducted with Florida governor Rick Scott. “My daughter is dead, I want to know our kids are going to school in Kentucky on Monday, how are those kids safe?” Pollack asked. “How about bringing that up to the media? How about bringing that up to Governor Scott?” Pollack went on to point out that though the rhetoric surrounding the gun control debate is inherently divisive and thus good for boosting a show’s ratings, that focus has historically done little to actually make kids safer.
Though many would argue that access to an assault weapon allowed Nicholas Cruz to kill 17 students, Pollack has a point about politics. Americans have never been so divided on the issue of guns. A different Pew poll found that 76 percent of Republicans and right-wing independents favor protecting gun rights over limiting gun access. Though this is true, a separate study found that an overwhelming majority of the same demographic favor background checks for gun sales at gun shows, and 54 percent are in favor of an assault weapons ban.
School safety and gun control are connected issues, but they are not the same issue. Just two days before the shooting in Parkland, the Trump administration asked to cut $25 million from educational programs meant to reduce crime in schools. These programs reduce crime by creating more funding for school counselors as well as helping schools quickly recover from tragedies like the one that took place in Parkland.
“If you go into a courthouse, the judge is safe. The stenographer is not worried someone is coming in with a gun because they can’t get in with a gun,” said Pollack. “The American people, we just want our school safe. We don’t want to talk about guns right now.”