Father of teen victim pleads for action to protect kids

Mr Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in last week's shooting, vented his anger and grief at the White House.
Mr Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in last week's shooting, vented his anger and grief at the White House.

WASHINGTON • The father of an 18-year-old girl killed last week in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, made an impassioned plea to United States President Donald Trump at the White House to act quickly to protect children in the country's schools.

"We are here because my daughter has no voice - she was murdered last week, shot nine times," said Mr Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here, with this administration and me."

Mr Pollack was an unannounced guest on Wednesday at a listening session in the White House, which called the session a discussion on school safety.

"We are going to do something about this horrible situation," Mr Trump said as he opened the session, adding that his administration would be "very strong on background checks" of those wishing to purchase guns, and put "a very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody".

But what began with a recitation of sombre statements and vows to act quickly became emotional when Mr Pollack took the microphone, venting raw anger and grief.

"It should have been one school shooting, and we should have fixed it, and I am pissed because my daughter, I am not going to see again," Mr Pollack said, raising his voice as he looked at Mr Trump.

The father said he did not favour adopting new gun restrictions, but pleaded for Democrats and Republicans to come together to create new school safety measures.

"It is not about gun laws right now - that is another fight, another battle," he said. "We need our children safe."

NY TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'Father of teen victim pleads for action to protect kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe