Andrew Pollack, the father of an 18-year-old killed at last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, gave an impassioned speech at President Donald Trump’s “listening session” with shooting victims and families on Wednesday.
The grieving father called on the federal government to do more to protect students, saying the country “failed our children.” Pollack said he was speaking to Trump on behalf of his daughter Meadow, who couldn’t speak for herself because her life was cut short by gun violence.
“We go to the airport — I can’t get on a plane with a bottle of water, but we leave some animal to walk into a school and shoot our children,” Pollack said. “It is just not right.”
The White House listening session was set up to give families and survivors of school shootings the opportunity to address the president on the topic of gun violence.
“We need to come together as a country and work on what is important, and that’s protecting our children in the schools. That’s the only thing that matters right now,” Pollack said. “Everyone has to come together and not think about different laws. We need to come together as a country, not different parties, and figure out how we protect the schools.”
Pollack appeared with his two sons, one of whom spoke and raised the idea of arming teachers. “We need more security,” Hunter Pollack said. “We need more firearms on campus, we need better background checks, and we need to study more on mental health.” Trump himself seemed to back the idea as a possibility, proposing that some teachers could be authorized to carry concealed firearms.
“How many schools, how many children have to get shot?” the elder Pollack said during his testimony. “It stops here with this administration and me. I’m not going to sleep until it is fixed. And Mr. President, we’re going to fix it. Because I’m going to fix it. I’m not going to rest.”
“I’m pissed,” he said. “Because my daughter — I’m not going to see again. She’s not here. She’s not here. She’s in North Lauderdale, at whatever it is. King David Cemetery, that’s where I go to see my kid now.”
Meadow Pollack was one of 17 people killed when a gunman armed with an AR-15 assault rifle opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.
Survivors of the shooting have since risen to the fore as advocates for stricter gun control laws — including delivering impassioned speeches at the Florida state capitol on Wednesday — but Andrew Pollack said Wednesday that’s the wrong conversation to have.
“It is not about gun laws,” he said. “That is another fight, another battle. Let’s fix the schools and then you guys can battle it out whatever you want. But we need our children safe.”
“Never, ever will I see my kid again,” he continued. “I want that to sink in. It’s eternity. My beautiful daughter, I’m never going to see again. And it’s simple … We can fix it.”