The very public scene of hundreds of Colorado students and their parents walking out of a vigil that was turned into political theater by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was so embarrassing that the gun control group actually issued an apology.

Before leaving the Wednesday night event, students shouted, in front of journalists who the Brady Campaign invited: “this is not for us,” “political stunt” and “we are people, not a statement.”

The Brady Campaign had portrayed the event as a vigil in memory of Kendrick Castillo, a student hero who died from gunshot wounds after he and two other students charged one of the attackers Tuesday at the Highlands Ranch STEM School in Colorado.


Eight other students were injured in the shooting. Two students were arrested and accused of the attack.

Instead of putting together an event to bring people together to mourn, the gun control group brought in activists and Colorado politicians – Democratic presidential contender U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jason Crow – to push a one-sided political agenda.

The speakers said they weren’t there to just offer thoughts and prayers, but that they instead were there to push for more restrictions on the right to bear arms.

We saw this with events after the shooting at Parkland High School in Florida. T events, including a CNN town hall, weren’t open forums or vigils. They were orchestrated propaganda designed to push a political cause.

Law-abiding gun owners enjoy shooting competitions, hunting or simply want to defend themselves and their loved ones. They should not be blamed for the evil actions of criminals and those with serious mental health problems.

The CNN event even featured then-Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. He vociferously stuck to the gun control narrative. He should have known – and we would all soon find out – that a school resource officer stayed outside during the attack. President Trump later called the officer a “coward.”

Turning grieving students into props for an agenda has become what these gun control groups and the mainstream media do after shootings. This has become so choreographed that the Brady Campaign was caught flat-footed when hundreds of students and their parents wouldn’t be extras in the production.

This is an important moment because it signals that a less ideological time is coming.

Groups like the Brady Campaign and the politicians who agree with them have been treating legal gun ownership as a problem that needs to be solved. They are blaming law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals as a way to impose more controls on the citizenry.

This political treatment of an important issue has made it difficult to even have an intelligent discussion about the problem.

How can an open and honest dialogue be possible when the mainstream media and so many Democrats prefer to blame America’s 100-million-plus gun owners?

Law-abiding gun owners enjoy shooting competitions, hunting or simply want to defend themselves and their loved ones. They should not be blamed for the evil actions of criminals and those with serious mental health problems.

Guns have been commonly owned by Americans since before the beginning of our republic, but school shootings are a modern trend. Yet they are not new.

The most deadly attack on a school actually occurred in 1927 in Bath, Mich., when a trustee from a local school board detonated 600 pounds of dynamite he placed inside the Bath Consolidated School.

Andrew Kehoe killed 44 people, including 38 elementary school children and his wife. He then committed suicide by detonating a final explosion in his truck that also killed another three adults and a child.

There is a lot of evidence, however, that some things have changed.

There is certainly a mental health crisis growing in our youth in America. Suicide rates among the young, especially those between 15 and 24, have climbed rapidly in recent years. Levels of anxiety and depression among young people are also up.

The reasons for this growing epidemic are numerous and many researchers are studying the problem. But it is clear that if we honestly target the actual problem things can be done.

Often, after a murderer strikes a school or another so-called “gun-free zone,” we find that the person responsible was calling out for help. Parents try, but they too often can’t find enough resources.

The bureaucracy has also failed us again and again. Too often the killers weren’t stopped before they acted, even though many people reported them to the proper authorities.

Various federal, state and local agencies have also too often failed to give the names of people prohibited from owning firearms to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), so these people can at least be stopped from legally buying a gun.

Political differences aside, imagine if the media actually treated gun rights groups honestly. The National Rifle Association (full disclosure, I write a weekly gun rights column for the NRA) has the School Shield program that sends teams of experts to schools to help them create safer environments.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for firearms manufacturers, has lobbied for FixNICS and many other initiatives to keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited from owning them.


Instead of demonizing these groups, imagine if the mainstream media were willing to be more factual and nuanced in their reporting. Solutions would become much clearer in such a climate.

The students who boldly walked out en masse as they chanted “mental health, mental health” from what shouldn’t have been a political event did shock the mainstream media into actually reporting on the story. That’s a big step toward finding honest solutions to a horrifying problem.