Iowa Middle Schooler Breaks Down In Tears While Asking Beto O'Rourke How He'll Stop School Shootings In Powerful Video
An Iowa middle school student cried while asking Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke how he plans to address gun violence and stop school shootings.
Milan Underberg, a student at Berg Middle School in Newton, Iowa, mentioned to O'Rourke that Riley Howell, a student at UNC Charlotte in North Carolina, "died protecting his peers" in a school shooting last week.
She continued, touching upon such topics as PTSD, survivor's guilt, and the suicide of Sydney Aiello, who survived 2018's Parkland shooting:
"Unfortunately, the death of students and faculty aren't the only problems going on. Surviving a school shooting can give victims PTSD and survivor's guilt. These issues can lead to suicide. In one case, a Parkland survivor, Sydney Aiello, suffered from both of these conditions and committed suicide a year after the shooting."
"Shootings, in general, are bloodthirsty attacks perpetrated to instill fear and harm innocent people. Ever since Columbine and Sandy Hook, school shootings have become regular occurrences in the news. Society is becoming numb to children being slaughtered. Victims and survivors aren't just numbers. They are human beings."
Underberg cried as she noted that lawmakers in Washington have done little to curb such violence and have still not taken the appropriate steps for nationwide gun reform.
She asked O'Rourke what he plans to do:
"I'm afraid that one day I'll go to school and I'll never come out. What actions will you take to protect people like me and my classmates from this happening?"
O'Rourke thanked Underberg, then assured her that if elected he would expand background checks on gun buyers, ban "weapons of war"––a reference to automatic weaponry––and would support the passage of laws that would permit law enforcement to temporarily seize firearms from individuals who pose a threat to themselves and others.
He went on to say:
"You're forcing people in power to do the right thing right now. There's no reason ... that we lose more than 30,000 of our fellow Americans to gun violence every year."
"There is a way for us to change this. Those states that have adopted universal background checks without exceptions have seen a near 50% reduction in gun violence. As president, I want to make sure that we do this for every state, every single person, within America."
You can watch the exchange in the video below, which O'Rourke shared to his Twitter followers:
Milan asked what we are going to do to combat gun violence so no student has to fear a school shooting happening in… https://t.co/AFGWqGWEmI— Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke)1557157615.0
Many chimed in, expressing their support for Underberg, and pledged to see that the United States passes gun reform.
@BetoORourke I wish I could tell this girl how sorry I am for what we are doing to our kids. Please keep fighting a… https://t.co/OGL5FCn5gM— Kelly Belly (@Kelly Belly)1557158196.0
@BetoORourke Great response, Beto! As a retired middle school teacher and principal, I'm very happy to see you addr… https://t.co/C4gIuWL5iX— AKRoca (@AKRoca)1557170138.0
@BetoORourke Wonderful response on such an important issue. Nice to see you take time out of your busy schedule to talk to kids in school.— Anne Brooks (@Anne Brooks)1557170141.0
@BetoORourke We need to ensure that our classrooms and our children are safe from gun violence. No child should hav… https://t.co/3YkaURwwLL— New Jersey for Beto (@New Jersey for Beto)1557167982.0
Underberg herself responded soon afterward, thanking O'Rourke for giving her "the chance to voice my concerns."
@BetoORourke It was an honor to have this ginormous platform given to me. I’m glad that I got the chance to voice m… https://t.co/WJw7nTakNG— Milan Underberg (@Milan Underberg)1557172493.0
O'Rourke's stances have raised the ire of conservatives and made him a lightning rod for criticism on Fox News. In March, Fox News host Pete Hegseth urged viewers to purchase more AR-15s in response to O'Rourke's calls for comprehensive gun reform.
According to a study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) that analyzed around 200 active shooting incidents in America, active shooters who use semi-automatic rifles will double their chances of wounding and killing victims, in comparison to another type of gun.
It seems Pete Buttigieg has an unlikely ally in a Democratic competitor.
The openly gay South Bend Mayor knew he had an uphill battle when he announced his bid to run in the 2020 presidential election, but nothing could discourage the relatively unknown Democratic candidate from running.
He quickly proved to have a foothold in the race as his popularity spiked and ably demonstrated he could hold his own in shutting down anti-gay hecklers.
According to CNN reporter DJ Judd, Buttigieg was interrupted on at least four occasions while speaking at the Dallas County Democratic Party dinner on Friday.
"One yelled 'Marriage is between a man and a woman!' Another yelled 'Repent!"
Pete Buttigieg has been interrupted four times here in Dallas by protesters. One yelled “Marriage is between a man… https://t.co/4p9aHs7SUz— DJ Judd (@DJ Judd)1556930876.0
Buttigieg, who married his husband Chasten last June, held his own without escalating the tension and reminded the crowd of his time serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves for seven months in Afghanistan.
The 37-year-old mayor responded:
"...I packed my bags for Afghanistan, to defend that man's freedom of speech..."
Buttigieg is also a known Episcopalian and responded to one of the interruptions by quoting from a passage of scripture.
"I'm just thinking of that scripture that says bless and do not curse."
@HI4Pete @PeteButtigieg They’re giving him an opportunity to shine even brighter against their darkness.— Mayor Pete Fangirl (@Mayor Pete Fangirl)1556930966.0
Now, former Texas representative Beto O'Rourke came to Buttigieg's defense and told haters to back off with their hateful attacks.
"Texans don't stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon."
Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope t… https://t.co/0omSyALy7d— Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke)1556941962.0
During his campaign in Iowa, O'Rourke explained why he defended his political rival.
O'Rourke, who unsuccessfully ran for the Texas Senate against Republican senator Ted Cruz, told reporters on Saturday:
"I'm a proud American, I'm a proud Texan, and the hatred directed towards Pete Buttigieg last night was not reflective or representative of my state or of this country, so I wanted to call it out immediately, first and foremost."
@BetoORourke talks about defending @PeteButtigieg after anti-gay hecklers interrupted his Dallas rally. “The hatre… https://t.co/29ylXhdgFF— Briana K. Stewart (@Briana K. Stewart)1557016105.0
Despite being dual contenders for the Democratic nomination, O'Rourke was praised for his support of Buttigieg.
@cmclymer @BetoORourke This is how we have to play it, Dems. Robust debate, but ultimately stand together to defeat… https://t.co/D0rGcqi2Wg— Jeff McKown (@Jeff McKown)1556955951.0
@BetoORourke Thank you, Beto for having Mayor Pete’s back. Both of you are good guys!— Barbara Malmet (@Barbara Malmet)1556972613.0
It's going to be a tough call to make in the crowded field of running Democrats.
@architects4pete @TheBetoPlace @BetoORourke This makes me happy. I’m not sure who I’m gonna vote for yet. Pete and… https://t.co/n8mU9wCaYX— El Dei (@El Dei)1556953234.0
@BetoORourke @danpfeiffer This... Is exactly the kind of stuff I hoped we would see in the primary.— I stand with Ilhan Omar (@I stand with Ilhan Omar)1556965103.0
@BetoORourke @H_Combs Unfortunately all too familiar with most of Texas. Those of us with common decency and a soul… https://t.co/eBBIewSxnE— Angela Marshall (@Angela Marshall)1556950872.0
@BetoORourke I’m a huge supporter of you both. Thanks for the amazing words and attitude. Love it! ❤️❤️❤️ #SameTeam 🇺🇸— Kim (@Kim)1556942349.0
@BrianaKStewart @BetoORourke @PeteButtigieg I love all of these candidates...Pete is my guy but I am so energized b… https://t.co/CFCxJHeGej— Lori Davis (@Lori Davis)1557078834.0
The attending crowd at Friday's dinner chanted "Pete!" to drown out the protesters as they were escorted from the room. But the interruptions were not a first for Mayor Pete.
Last month at a campaign rally in Iowa, Buttigieg faced religious anti-gay protesters by members of a group led by Randall Terry, an anti-gay and anti-abortion advocate.
After they chanted "Sodom and Gomorrah," Buttigieg said, "The good news is, the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you."
On Saturday, O'Rourke continued speaking out against hatred.
"I think we have to set the example. We can't just call out intolerance and hatred, we have to show that we don't just tolerate one another, we embrace one another."
"We're stronger when we are together."
That's how we run a good, clean race! We hope these two continue to be allies as we try to pick the 2020 Democratic candidate.