Parkland’s father rudely interrupts President Biden. Was he wrong?

Four years after his son Joaquin was shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Manuel Oliver’s pain is still raw.

Rightly or wrongly, he fought his personal battle on the White House lawn on Monday. On national television, Oliver rudely interrupted President Joe Biden at an event to celebrate what many see as a bipartisan but watered-down law to reduce gun violence.

“Today is a lot of things. It’s proof that despite the naysayers, we can make meaningful progress in the fight against gun violence. Because make no mistake —” Biden said when Oliver said. jumped out of his chair on the lawn. “We have to do more than that!” Oliver shouted from the audience, surprising the guests and the president.

Television footage shows Oliver standing and shouting at Biden, who briefly transformed into a “tough joe” and ordered Oliver to “Sit down, you’ll hear what I have to say. … Let me finish my comments.

Oliver, who became a well-known gun control activist in Florida, was approached by security and then escorted away. Was he disrespectful? Yes. But was his behavior totally understandable? Yes too.

Oliver’s outburst makes it clear that no amount of Minnie Mouse legislation will do until we get rid of assault weapons. We, and every legislator, need to remember this daily – and sometimes rudely.

Social media was mixed about whether Oliver should have yelled at the president. But most on social media don’t feel the pain that Oliver and his wife continue to feel over the violent loss of their 17-year-old to a troubled teenager who legally bought a gun and got away with it. is transformed into a vile school shooter on February 14. 2018.

The new law in question, passed after recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, progressively toughens requirements for young gun buyers, denies guns to more domestic abusers and helps local authorities to temporarily take up arms from people deemed dangerous. .

Oliver appeared to be offended by the White House event, which may have overstepped its bounds by billing the event as a celebration.

He later told a Miami Herald reporter, “There’s nothing to celebrate. It’s a big lie. We keep to ourselves thinking we have a solution to this when we don’t.

Oliver is right, but what the President was trying to convey is that in this uphill battle, small victories should be recognized. The law comes a week after a gunman in Highland Park, Illinois killed seven people during a July 4 parade.

Parkland‘s parents, Uvalde’s parents, Sandy Hook’s parents and dozens of other survivors have observed for years that nothing substantial has been passed by Congress or state governments to end or, at the very least, slow down the sale of assault weapons in the United States. .

Oliver isn’t the first parent from Parkland to stage the disruption of a national event. In 2020, Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was also killed in Parkland, was a guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when he interrupted the State of the Union address from the President Donald Trump.

Oliver’s heartbreaking outburst reminded us of the horror of Parkland. Yes, four years later, many of us have evolved. And for that we are guilty.

—Miami Herald

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