It is the stuff of nightmares—being a parent and losing your child to a mass murderer. And for Andrew Pollack, whose teenage daughter, Meadow, attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it became a blistering reality dubbed the “Parkland Shooting” on Valentine’s Day, 2018. It could have all been avoided.
Through the lens of grief, Andrew is now using his raw experience to promote the importance of the Second Amendment, and ensure more parents don’t have to endure the heartache he grapples with at every waking moment.
“Some Parkland students became quite famous, giving speeches about why it was the gun’s fault, the NRA’s fault, the Second Amendment’s fault. They didn’t really care to pay attention to what went wrong and why, or to practical questions about how to keep kids safe in school,” said Pollack. “They just wanted to blame the gun, and anything else is a threat to that narrative.”
Last month, the 54-year-old father and author of the 2019 bestseller Why Meadow Died, founded the “School Safety Grant” in a bid to make schools safer for all Americans. To date, the concept has been embraced by other Parkland families who lost loved ones.
“The other families are very excited about it. They’ve been over what happened that day—second by second—and they know that this technology has the potential to save lives,” said Pollack. “I haven’t heard anything from the gun-control kids on it either way, but I’m not surprised by that, because they never paid that close attention to what actually happened.”
According to the School Safety Grant website, there is simply no cure to the lasting heartbreak and horror of a school shooting, but there are measures that can be put into place to increase the safety and security of everyone in our schools.
“We believe in finding and funding new, advanced and easily implemented security technologies for schools across the country, regardless of where we come from or how we vote,” reads the website’s mission statement.
That technology, which Pollack and his team consider to be “life-saving,” entails such devices as the SaferWatch, in which a camera can detect a weapon so that officers can be deployed to the most strategic entry points. It also includes vital imagery concerning the school’s design and occupancy.
For Andrew, it is all about getting to the root of the problem of mass murders, rather than echoing the blame game.
“Right now, the focus is really just on getting school districts to pay attention to school safety when everything is COVID all the time,” said Pollack.
Yet the distractions induced by COVID-19 aren’t the only obstacles to getting his message across. For more than two years, Pollack has had to fight the left-leaning media to get out a message that doesn’t align with the anti-gun worldview.
“The bigger problem wasn’t challenging media encounters, it was total lack of media curiosity for any facts that didn’t fit their agenda,” he said. “When I published my book, Why Meadow Died, which had the facts about what went wrong and why, the only people I could get to cover it was conservative media. The one exception to that, I guess, was CBS, which had me on its morning streaming program. But for the video they put online, they tried to get another Parkland dad to challenge my characterization that the gun-control kids got nothing done. He didn’t challenge it, because he knows it’s true, but the media tried to frame it like the story was some non-existent fight between the Parkland parents rather than what really went wrong and why.”
But Andrew Pollack is determined to unveil every detail about what went wrong and why, and he won’t stop until Americans ascertain a thorough understanding of what can really be done to tackle the issue without the persistent threats to strip law-abiding citizens of their constitutional rights.
“I was never really all that pro-Second Amendment, to be honest. I owned guns, but I didn’t think much about it. But now I think about my daughter, there all by herself on the third floor, knowing what was coming but utterly defenseless to do anything about it,” he said. “I don’t want anyone I love to ever be alone and defenseless like my daughter was, and that’s why I’ve become a warrior for the Second Amendment.”