Florida Students' Activism Inspires Father To Ask Amazon To Drop NRATV
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This morning, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are going back to class for the first time since the deadly mass shooting exactly two weeks ago. Michael Vega (ph) is a student there.
MICHAEL VEGA: Nobody's ready because, one, we never expected this to happen. And then, two, we never anticipated to having to deal with these emotions.
MARTIN: Totu Satiyava (ph) is another Stoneman Douglas student.
TOTU SATIYAVA: I'm obviously still scared. But I feel like if I'm safe anywhere now, I'm safe there with the people that went through this with me.
MARTIN: Sophomore Charles Reed is also returning to Stoneman Douglas today. Charles is a member of the school's wrestling team. The team's coach, Christopher Hixon, was killed in the shooting. Charles Reed's father, Daniel, joins us now.
Mr. Reed, thank you so much for taking time this morning.
DANIEL REED: You're welcome. Thank you.
MARTIN: How's your son feeling about today?
REED: You know, he's OK. It's been such a traumatic process for everyone in the Stoneman Douglas community. And he's the kind of kid who's very strong. But certainly a lot of emotions today as we start to go back to school.
REED: Rachel, there's no playbook for this, you know. So as a parent, you just have to do your best.
MARTIN: Right. Charles, as I mentioned, is on the wrestling team. And they lost their coach, Chris Hixon. How has the team been coping with that loss?
REED: Gosh, it's been so tough on the team. The shooting happened right around the time that they were starting to prepare for their district wrestling matches, which is such a big deal for these young kids. They work hard all year long to get to this point. And the team has really stuck together. It's amazing to see the fraternity that they have developed through this. You know, right after Coach Hixon's funeral, they had to wrestle in the district meet. And just to see the love from all the other schools that were involved around Broward County was just so amazing. And it really uplifted the kids. You know, they got second place...
REED: ...In the district tournament that day. So we were so proud of them.
MARTIN: I'm sure. I'm sure. You are taking action in the wake of the tragedy. You are promoting an Internet petition asking the CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, to cut the company's ties to the NRA, specifically to stop offering the online TV channel called NRATV. As of this morning, you've got 200,000 signatures - more than that. What made you focus on this particular part of the gun debate?
REED: Great question. First, I have to say, the kids at Stoneman Douglas have been so awesome. Like, to think that they went through a tragedy like this and have taken that tragedy and turned it into action and have turned it into awareness that we've never seen before from this millennial generation - it's so awesome. And I want to give them all the credit in the world for continuing on, you know, with this conversation and trying to have change happen. We're not talking about just guns. We're talking about safety. And for me, the National Rifle Association has really started to just stick their heels in every single opportunity that we mention any kind of reform or any kind of change.
My friend Brad Chase, who's been my longtime friend - he's like an uncle to Charlie. And he saw that, you know, I went through so many different emotions as we go through this. And he works in the media. And so - and he helped me to try to channel a lot of these emotions into action. You know, you go through the grieving process, right? Then you go through worry for your kid and then sadness, of course, for the parents that lost their loved ones. The fact is is that the spokeswoman for the NRA has done nothing but speak condescendingly to these people, to our whole community. For her to say that the media loves mass shootings while parents are still grieving for their loved ones, it's just awful. Does she represent all gun owners? I don't think so.
MARTIN: So this petition felt like a tangible thing that you could do. Let me ask you - this is also going to be a tough morning for you, for other parents who are going to send your kids off to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School again. How are you prepared to handle that moment when you say goodbye to your kid?
REED: A lot of anxiety. But I'll be honest, it's not about us. It's about these kids. And it's about making sure that they can go to a school - and not just at Douglas but all around the country. You know, are you sending your children to school this morning knowing that they're going to be safe? Are you sending them to school hoping - just hoping that they're going to be safe? I mean, that's the kind of country we live in. And the National Rifle Association continues to attack any sort of reform.
MARTIN: Daniel Reed, thank you so much for taking the time on what is, no doubt, a difficult morning. We appreciate it.
REED: Thank you so much. You have a great day.
MARTIN: Thank you.
Daniel Reed - he's a parent at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.