Fred Guttenberg — a father and statesman. A PBS interview, March 22, 2018. Parkland victim’s father: We will get gun reform in the U.S.
Listen to the video – it is inspiring. Below are transcript exerts:
As you know so well, Fred Guttenberg, what the gun lobby is saying, however, is that this is all about young people with an emotional or a mental — an emotional disturbance or a mental illness, and it’s about school safety, about making sure that schools are secure if someone shows up with a gun.
How do you answer that?
Well, I tell them, you know what? That’s all correct. Mental illness is part of it. Making sure schools are safe is part of it.
However, the common denominator in every tragedy is the gun. And, unfortunately, for the gun lobby, I think their influence has been, unfortunately, larger on our elected officials than it should have been over the years, and their influence is waning.
Their money is going away. OK? Public opinion has turned against them. I can speak to you and tell you, I have received — for every message I have gotten from someone in the gun lobby who maybe complains about what I’m doing, I have also gotten one or two messages from someone in the gun lobby who says, you know what? You’re right.
The issue isn’t the membership. It’s the leadership. And even the members of the NRA are saying, our leadership has failed us. They’re out of touch.
They’re sending me pictures of their cut-up NRA cards. OK?
So, when you ask me, do I think the gun lobby or whoever else says it’s about school safety, it’s about security and mental health, they’re right. I’m not going to tell them that’s not part of it, but guns are part of it, too.
You are a private citizen, Mr. Guttenberg, and yet I have seen you stand up and be forceful in talking to a United States senator, Marco Rubio from your state of Florida. I have seen you be forceful in the interviews, many interviews you have done.
Where is that courage coming from?
Well, my daughter.
My daughter was 14, but she was tough and, honestly, the toughest person who I knew. And, unfortunately, the way she died was running down a hallway with a gun at her back, and she was running for her life.
And I — every second, I think about the fear in her as she was doing it, and I also know how hard she was fighting to live. Honestly, because of what she went through, it’s perspective, but I don’t feel fear about anything anymore, because nothing could ever be like what she experienced.
And until I do something, so that no other parent will ever have to go through what my daughter went through and what my family is going through, I just have this need to fight like this.
This has gone on too many times. And ,in the past, whenever these tragedies have happened, I have found the conversation afterwards to always be way too polite, way too comfortable and way too temporary. I don’t feel like being polite. I don’t feel like making people comfortable. And I don’t feel like going away until something gets done.
And that comes from my daughter. She would expect me to do this.