Guest editorial: White House owes apology to father of shooting victim

This editorial originally appeared in The Miami Herald and was distributed by the Associated Press.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s act of rebellion during President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night came from her sense of political savvy. Fred Guttenberg‘s act of rebellion came from the heart, a heart in pain, a heart irrevocably broken.

And it seemed particularly heartless for him to be removed from the balcony gallery by security after he shouted the name of his slain daughter when Trump failed to address any attempt on his part to confront gun violence in America.

Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime was killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida. Pelosi had invited him to attend the State of Union speech.

The pain of Jaime’s death has turned Guttenberg into a well-known gun control activist. He keeps his daughter’s name alive by reminding us how senselessly she died.

Who can blame him? He speaks for the millions of Americans who have been affected by gun violence.

Tuesday, as Trump finished saying, “So long as I am president, I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Republicans began to cheer. Guttenberg, sitting with the South Florida delegation, likely fumed at the president’s total dismissal of America’s gun-violence problem.

As the cheers quieted, Guttenberg could be briefly heard in the chamber saying: “victims of gun violence like my daughter ...”

Security came and took Guttenberg away as the shocked South Florida delegation sitting around him watched him be led off.

As the commotion to remove Guttenberg played out, Pelosi can be seen looking in his direction.

By the end of Trump’s address, Pelosi, who had apparently had enough, dramatically ripped up her copy of the speech, later telling reporters that it was “the courteous thing to do given the alternatives.”

Trump had refused to shake Pelosi’s hand earlier, she who, after all, initiated impeachment proceedings against him.

Obviously, tensions were raging all evening.

A contrite Guttenberg apologized on Twitter early Wednesday:

“I disrupted the State Of the Union and was detained because I let my emotions get the best of me. I simply want to be able to deal with the reality of gun violence and not have to listen to the lies about the 2A as happened tonight.

“I should not have yelled out. I am thankful for the overwhelming support that I am receiving. However, I do owe my family and friends an apology. I have tried to conduct myself with dignity throughout this process and I will do better as I pursue gun safety.”

Guttenberg was immediately comforted by followers who assured him:

“No apology needed.”

Except maybe one from the White House.

Funerals for Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Antill, Norman - 6 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Arbaugh, Jennings - Noon, Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Doss, Mark - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Gillispie, Glen - 11 a.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Hoover, Evelyn - 1. p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Linton, Anna - 1 p.m., Pennington Smith Funeral Home, Gauley Bridge.

Mace, T. Opal - 2 p.m., Starcher Cemetery, Arnoldsburg.

Nelson, Kenneth - Noon, Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.