Student tears up talking about school shootings with Beto O'Rourke: 'I'm sorry'

Student tears up talking about school shootings with Beto O'Rourke: 'I'm sorry'
© Greg Nash

An Iowa middle school student became emotional discussing school shootings with former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) Monday.

“Ever since Columbine and Sandy Hook, school shootings have become a regular occurrence to see in the news,” the student, an eighth-grader at Berg Middle School in Newton, said to O’Rourke during a campaign stop. “Society is becoming numb to children being slaughtered. Victims and survivors aren’t just numbers. They are human beings.”

 

 

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At this point, the student paused to collect herself, apologizing, before decrying the “little to no effort by the government” to protect students in the wake of school shootings. “I’m afraid that one day, I’ll go to school and I’ll never come out,” she said, tearing up.

O’Rourke thanked her for discussing the issue in “the most personal, powerful terms possible,” saying that in U.S. history, “the big changes that needed to happen did not come from people who were already in positions of power or trust; it so often came from young people who forced the issue,” citing the pressure young civil rights activists applied to then-President Lyndon Johnson and other elected officials in the 1960s.

“[T]hese kids are asking about Marjory Stoneman Douglas and worried it can happen here,” said Geoff Burgan, O’Rourke’s Iowa communications director, in a tweet accompanying the footage. “This was never something we dealt with growing up. It’s heartbreaking.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., was the site of a shooting in 2018 that killed 17 students and staff. 

The exchange came the same day O’Rourke’s fellow presidential candidate, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerShooting in Jersey City leaves multiple people dead, including police officer Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first Yang qualifies for December Democratic debate MORE (D-N.J.), rolled out a comprehensive plan to address gun violence, including a proposed licensing program that would require prospective gun owners to meet “certain basic safety and training standards.”