There were two listening sessions held Wednesday that purported to allow all sides in the contentious firearms debate an opportunity to talk about gun laws and school safety. CNN’s prime-time slot drew tremendous media attention, but now one student is claiming that his questions for the politicians on the panel were censored by the network.
Colton Haab, a student in the ROTC program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, claims that CNN’s town hall event wasn’t as spontaneous as advertised. The questions, Haab says, were scripted.
Haab had questions he wanted to ask, but was given questions instead. Haab is the student who protected his fellow students with Kevlar. After being given scripted questions, Haab refused to participate in the event.
“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab told WPLG-TV.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab said.
While Haab clearly had a vested interest in the conversation, he really wanted to discuss how to manage school safety. Haab, like others, wants a stronger protective force on every campus. His solution has been posed before: use armed U.S. veterans.
Yet that line of questioning, according to Haab, wasn’t in keeping with what he perceived as the town hall’s agenda. So he didn’t participate.
“I don’t think it’s going to get anything accomplished, it’s not going to ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have,” said Haab.
The issue of free speech did come up in the town hall. If Haab’s accusations are true, those statements would seem even more ironic.
Placing armed guards in the schools was also discussed. The Broward County Sheriff plans to increase the presence of his deputies in the schools, and those deputies will have AR-15s at their disposal.
It is worth noting that there was an armed school resource officer on the campus at the time of the shooting on February 14, but that officer wasn’t able to cover the distance on the campus in time to engage the shooter.