Editorial: Maybe Biden should personally listen to Parkland’s father’s plea for more gun control | Editorial
As our attention drifted elsewhere in the four years since a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 17 people, Manuel Oliver picked it up again, starkly reminding us that the pain of losing a child does not diminish.
Oliver, whose son Joaquin was shot and murdered along with 16 other students and faculty on Valentine’s Day 2018, staged a dramatic protest on Monday, the tragedy’s fourth anniversary.
Frustrated with the lack of gun control laws passed since the tragedy, Oliver shed light on an administration he says has done little to rein in America’s guns.
Oliver climbed to the top of a construction crane near the White House where, battered by cold winds, spoke into his camera: “The whole world will listen to Joaquin today.”
He unfurled a banner with a photo of his son and the message: “45,000 people have died from gun violence on your watch.” He was talking to President Biden.
Oliver’s unusual protest made national headlines. Mission accomplished, at least for the day. Because his ultimate goal is gun control, the kind that would have prevented a young gunman from getting hold of a deadly weapon.
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Oliver said he requested a meeting with Biden a month ago. “I never understood that,” he said.
It’s too bad, because if there’s a president who knows what it’s like to lose a child, it’s Biden; he lost two. In 1972, his 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, died in a horrific car accident which also killed his first wife.
And in 2015, Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer at age 46.
The Stoneman Douglas tragedy turned some relatives of the victims into fierce gun control activists. A parent ran for the Broward County School Board and won.
And Oliver climbed a crane. He was arrested, along with two others. As of Monday night, the charges were unclear.
On Monday morning, Biden released a statement observing the Stoneman massacre. But that wasn’t enough for Oliver. In fact, that won’t be enough, period.
Oliver doesn’t want his son to have died in vain. Once down, he unfurled a banner with a photo of his son and the message: “45,000 people have died from gun violence on your watch”.
Maybe Biden should listen and give Oliver his meeting,
Or this: First lady Jill Biden can meet grieving father Oliver when she visits Miami this week.
That too would be the right thing to do.
Today in History: February 17