Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith used a segment on his show to read a list of deadly school shootings that have occurred since the Columbine massacre in 1999. The sobering and emotional moment is a departure for the conservative news network, which produces content that traditionally downplays the violence of active shooter situations in favor of pro-gun positioning.
Smith's comments were made in the wake of yet another fatal shooting situation, this time in Parkland, Florida. Yesterday, 17 were killed and 14 were wounded when suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire on students using an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.
“A horrific thing has taken place,” Smith said. “We have seen it again and again and I will never forget for as long as I live being outside of Columbine High School in the early evening as those two men had gone on the rampage there in the cafeteria. And over the week that followed, speaking to children and parents about all that they had just experienced and trying to deal with what was and is to this day — I am 100 percent confident — their new normal. Young people do not witness what they have witnessed today in Broward County Florida without being changed.”
Before reading the list, Smith continued, “Since Columbine in 1999, there have been 25 fatal, active school shooting incidents at elementary and high schools in America."
Smith has previously been vocal about gun violence. In 2015, the news anchor spoke out against the lack of action taken by Congress in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, according to The Daily Beast.
Although Columbine changed the way our nation views gun violence, the fatality rate at that incident was relatively low compared to shootings that have occurred since, with analysts noting that shootings have become more deadly since.
Over on CNN, counterterrorism expert Philip Mudd became visibly emotional during a segment on the killings.
"A child of God is dead. Can not we acknowledge in this country that we cannot accept this?" asked Mudd as he burst into tears.
President Donald Trump has also addressed the shooting in a series of controversial tweets:
"My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school," Trump wrote on social media.
"We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting," he added later.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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