Marco Rubio almost got away with his routine. Then he met Cameron Kasky | Richard Wolffe

The Florida senator is a talented politician, but he fulfilled his match in a 17 -year-old who called him out over NRA cash

Marco Rubio is a very talented politician. He walked into an arena full of 7, 000 Floridians who were determined to heckle him for siding with the National Rifle Association( NRA) for his entire career.

But within minutes of talking, he earned some respect. He didn’t stop the heckling, but he did his very best impression of a sincere man who frankly wanted to keep children safe, if merely there weren’t so many complications to this whole lawmaking thing.

There are apparently lots of firearms, and lots of loopholes. How on globe can a little law tackle such a great problem?

He offered up some token concessions that would do not very much at all to stop the murders: raising the age you could buy an assault weapon, but not banning them. Better background checks, but not universal ones. Stopping the sale of bump stocks, which played no part in the bloodshed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.

With ample charm and empathy, he nearly got away with it. Until he met a 17 -year-old student who was just as talented as him: Cameron Kasky, who survived the shooting by huddling with two brothers in a classroom.

Kasky strolled up to Rubio and shook his hand, along with the hands of the other politicians on stage: Florida senator Bill Nelson and his local congressman, Ted Deutch, both Democrats. He asked his friend to stand up and be acknowledged for signing up to serve in the military. And he asked the crowd not to boo Republican and cheer Democrats. Like Rubio, he believed the nation needed to come together.” Anyone who is willing to change is someone we need on our side ,” he declared.

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Florida shooting: students walk out of schools to call for gun control- video

Then the student closed in.” So, Senator Rubio ,” he said casually,” can you tell me you won’t be accepting a single penny from the NRA ?”

The crowd cheered like it was a slam dunkfest.

” People buy into my agenda ,” insisted Rubio, ignoring the public disgust with buying and selling politics.

” So you won’t take more NRA money ?” Kasky pressed on.

” That’s the wrong way to look at it ,” Rubio said.” People buy into my agenda .”

” In the name of the 17 people who died, you can’t ask the NRA to keep their fund ?” Kasky asked in disbelief.” I bet we can get people to give you precisely as much fund .”

Rubio told Kasky he was right: there was fund on both sides of politics. But that wasn’t the question, and his answer was as irrelevant as his favorite playlist.

It was a day for excessive sympathy and insufficient concessions. There were so many fine words of encouragement for all those feisty teenagers, and so many unhappiness for the grieving families. It was a long-winded way of sending thoughts and prayers; the modern-day version of paying for tears at a Victorian funeral.

You know the ground is changing when the NRA and its -Aplus-rated politicians feel the need to show up to a CNN town hall where they know they will be the targets of abuse for a grieving community.

But they also think they can ride this thing out with lots of talk about stopping insane people, rather than stopping the semi-automatics.

It’s just so darn hard to do what every other country has done to stop these mass shootings.

It took a sheriff in uniform to call out the NRA’s charade. When Dana Loesch, the NRA’s media-hating spokesperson had empathized her heart out, Broward County sheriff Scott Israel defined her straight.

” You just told this group of people you’re standing up for them ,” he said.” You are not standing up for them until you say you want less weapons .”

Dana
Dana Loesch and Sheriff Scott Israel during the CNN town hall meeting. Photo: Michael Laughlin/ Sun-Sentinel via Zuma Wire/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Unlike the NRA, Rubio could at least deem an alternative, as he adopted his familiar posture of Solomon-sized thoughtfulness. He said he would “reconsider” his position on high-capacity publications that carry enough bullets to kill a whole classroom in seconds.

If merely it were easier to take his seriousness seriously.

He was serious about immigration reform, before he wholly caved. He wrestled day and night with how to reconcile his nativist party with the civil rights of the undocumented. Naturally, he sided with the xenophobes.

He was serious about cautioning the country about the obvious threats of electing Donald Trump. He told us Trump was ” a first-rate con artist” and” clown act” who would bankrupt the nation.

But then he chose Trump was a true leader on Cuba, and all was forgiven.

At least the senator and the sheriff agreed that Trump’s latest idea for school security- arming the educators– was as dumb as it sounded.

They both slapped down the most recent fiction of gun-makers and gun-dealers, only a few hours after Trump spun a narrative about Aaron Feis, the heroic high school coach-and-four who was killed last week.

” If the coach had a handgun in his locker where reference is ran at this guy- that coach-and-four was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect ,” Trump jogged.” But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run, he would have shot him, and that would have been the end of it .”

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Trump says arming teachers with concealed weapons could prevent school carnages- video

As one of the high school teachers told Rubio , no one wants to be holding a firearm when the Swat squads enter a school.

This has been a tough week for the American people, and most of all for one of them who happens to be president.

It’s bad enough that Donald Trump has to look serious around the victims of local schools massacre, which he discovers impossible, for some incomprehensible reason. Nothing says you’re serious about saving the lives of children like grinning with a big thumbs up.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Our entire Nation, w/ one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims& their families in Parkland, FL. To teachers, law enforcement, first responders& medical professionals who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We THANK YOU for your gallantry! https :// t.co/ 3yJsrebZMG pic.twitter.com/ ti791dENTy

February 17, 2018

It’s doubly bad that Trump has to pretend that he’s going to do something to stop school shootings, when he is in fact super-duper proud of serving as the NRA’s stooge.” You came through for me, and I am going to come through for you ,” he promised the NRA convention last year. At least we’re clear whose side he’s on.

But, then to cap it all, some bright young staffer thought it was a great notion to stage a listening session with the victims of several shootings. You’d think, after a year of working together in what you might call a hostile workplace, those brilliant staffers would know the boss by now.

Trump would perform far better if these were presidential workouts in speaking, rather than listening. Perhaps that explains the grotesque require to write on Trump’s crib sheet:” I hear you .”

It might have been more meaningful if they had scripted the line: “I’m listening.” But that was Frasier Crane’s catchphrase, so it’s not that much better.

Sadly even a sitcom psychiatrist would do a better chore at grieving for America’s lost children.

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