The day after her 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was among 17 killed in a gun rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Lori Alhadeff, in the middle of a television interview with HLN, issued an emotional plea for leadership to President Donald Trump.
“How do we allow a gunman to come into our children’s school? How do they get through security? What security is there?” the grieving mother screamed into the camera. “The gunman — a crazy person — just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child’s door and starts shooting. Shooting her! And killing her!” Alhadeff continued, fighting back tears. On Thursday, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was formally charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Cruz’s lawyer, a public defender, described him as a “broken child.”
“President Trump, please do something! Do something. Action! We need it now! These kids need safety now!” a despondent Alhadeff pleaded directly into the news camera.
“President Trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands,” she said. “What can you do? You can do a lot! This is not fair to our families and our children [to] go to school and have to get killed!”
On Thursday, Trump addressed the nation about the tragedy. Trump described Cruz as being “mentally disturbed” and called on any teens in America who might be grappling with similar feelings or impulses to Cruz’s to seek help, not violence. “If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader,” the president implored. But not once during his entire address did Trump mention the word guns or discuss America’s gun culture or federal gun laws, an omission that signaled he won’t press for gun laws to be amended. Trump’s remarks drew criticism from some Democratic lawmakers, including U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, who said in a response to a tweet posted by Trump, “The onus is not on children to #EndGunViolence. When will you lead, Mr. President?”
“I just spent the last two hours putting [together] the burial arrangements for my daughter’s funeral, who’s 14!” Alhadeff’s added. “President Trump, please do something!”
Below, watch the video of Lori Alhadeff’s impassioned plea to the president.