Parkland Families, Survivors Protest at White House, Slam Biden

Father of one victim arrested after scaling crane
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2022 2:04 AM CST
Parkland Victim's Dad Arrested After Scaling Crane Near White House
A construction crane that was climbed by a father of a Parkland shooting victim at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest across the street from the White House, in Washington, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Four years after 17 students and others were gunned down at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., families and gun control advocates pressed President Biden on Monday to do more to address gun violence. Protesters demonstrated near the White House, and the father of one teenager killed at the school scaled a 150-foot crane across the street on the Valentine's Day anniversary of the shooting, the AP reports. “The whole world will listen to Joaquin today. He has a very important message,” the father, Manuel Oliver, said in a tweeted video, referring to his son. “I asked for a meeting with Joe Biden a month ago, never got that meeting.” Oliver unfurled a sign that showed a photo of his son and criticized Biden for gun deaths since he took office. The father and two other protesters were taken into custody, accused of breaking into a construction site and scaling the equipment.

His action was part of a series of efforts to draw attention to gun violence and to a new website chronicling 47,000 gun deaths, including suicides, since Biden was inaugurated. The tracker also lists the number of young people killed and injured as well as mass shootings and encourages users to call on Biden and other administration officials to act. Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, now a vocal gun control advocate, said they were protesting in front of the White House on Monday and were driving a truck around Washington with a sign that blares the number of gun deaths and injuries since Biden has been president. “We are demanding that he takes action to save lives before the next Parkland happens,” Hogg said.

“As a candidate, Joe Biden promised to prioritize gun violence prevention. As president, Joe Biden has not,” said Igor Volsky, founder and executive director of the group Guns Down America. Blocked by members of Congress, especially Republicans, Biden’s efforts to pass legislation to tighten gun laws haven’t left the drawing board. He also was forced to pull his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The group is calling on Biden to start a national office to address gun violence and to make a new nomination to head the ATF. “We can never bring back those we’ve lost," Biden said in a statement. "But we can come together to fulfill the first responsibility of our government and our democracy: to keep each other safe. For Parkland, for all those we’ve lost, and for all those left behind, it is time to uphold that solemn obligation.”

(More Parkland school shooting stories.)

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