A survivor of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who was previously interviewed by CNN and MSNBC following the mass shooting, told Fox News he believes certain media outlets are politicizing the tragedy to push gun control.
Brandon Minoff, an 18-year-old senior, said the media chose to target gun control advocates instead of focusing on the 17 lives lost in Wednesday's slaughter.
“I wholeheartedly believe that the media is politicizing this tragedy,” Minoff said. “It seems that gun control laws is the major topic of conversation rather than focusing on the bigger issue of 17 innocent lives being taken at the hands of another human.”
Minoff said students at the school are well-meaning and passionate on both sides of the contentious gun issue. At least 100 students from the school were expected to march in front of the State Capital in Tallahassee on Wednesday to demand stricter gun laws. Dozens of his classmates have willingly approached reporters and anchors to advocate for what they see as solutions to stop the school shooting epidemic. But Minoff said not all of the students at the school share the same stance -- yet most of the coverage has ignored those who favor gun rights.
“I know many people who are pro-gun and others who support gun control but it seems that the media is specifically targeting those in support of gun control to make it seem as if they are the majority, and the liberal news outlets are the ones that seem to make the bigger effort to speak to these people, and I'm talking from experience,” said Minoff, who was interviewed on cable news in primetime.
Minoff, who had a class with shooter Nikolas Cruz during his sophomore year, was outside when Cruz started firing. Minoff's brother, Aiden, was inside and heard the shots.
But Minoff said as soon as the gunfire stopped, the gun control push began.
“After getting home Wednesday night, three hours after the shooting took place, sitting on the couch and putting on the news, it pained me to hear conversations of gun control laws as I had just luckily escaped one of the deadliest school shootings in US history," Minoff said.
MSNBC’s Brian Williams asked Minoff what he would do as a lawmaker to stop school shootings. Minoff immediately replied that banning guns just creates a higher demand for them, and contended the real issue is mental health reform.
The next day, Minoff said he watched as CNN again focused on gun control even as the shooter's troubling mental health history -- and missed warning signs -- began to emerge.
“And all day Thursday, CNN was interviewing gun experts and specialists to brainwash the audience that gun control is a necessity,” he said. “They even have an army of my classmates trying to persuade other students that guns are unnecessary and should be illegal.”
Minoff said he supports the First Amendment rights of his classmates, but he believes many of them are uninformed about guns and are just going along with the perceived popular opinion.
He pointed out that on the “March For Our Lives” website the mission statement says “We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the life of students.” But, he noted, an assault rifle is an automatic weapon, and there wasn’t an assault rifle used in the Florida shooting -- rather Cruz was armed with an AR-15.
Like many of his classmates, Minoff wants to make changes so this doesn’t happen again, and he hopes to meet with President Trump to discuss solutions.
Minoff supports some regulations when it comes to purchasing firearms, such as age restrictions and more extensive background checks that include police reports -- especially given the police were called to the Cruz residence nearly 40 times before the shooting occurred.
“I would also talk about the importance of arming security guards and other trained individuals in schools," he said. "The only armed person in the school, the SRO, was reportedly nowhere to be found during the time of the attack and it shows in the fact that Cruz managed to vacate the school unscathed."
He added: "At the same time, [security guard and] Coach Aaron Feis had a face-to-face altercation with Cruz and was unable to do anything but use his body to shield others. The definition of security is ‘state of being free from danger or threat,’ but there is no freedom from danger or threat when security guards are unarmed.”