Andy Parker, father of slain journalist Alison Parker, on CNN’s State of the Union: “I’m telling you, they messed with the wrong family.”
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Andy Parker, father of slain journalist, Alison Parker, joined anchor, Jake Tapper.
For more information, see https://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.
MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”
Father of slain journalist vows to fight for gun control
Andy Parker, father of slain journalist Alison Parker, on the outpour of support & Senator Warner’s offer to facilitate conversations in D.C. on gun control: “I have been in contact with — as you can imagine, the outpouring, not just for Alison, but – the outrage that is — has just swept the — not just the nation, but the world — it’s overwhelming. And I have been in contact with Mark Kelly, who is Gabby Giffords’ husband, who was very gracious to reach out to me. And we’re going to get together in Washington. Senator Warner has also, you know, told me whatever we can do to help and facilitate that, let me know. Mayor Bloomberg’s people have reached out.”
Parker on his daughter’s murderer being “mentally disturbed”: “I’m not going to recount it. You know, this person to me is — you know, he doesn’t even register. What registers is the fact that he was mentally disturbed. He was allowed to — and he was allowed to pass a background check.”
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Investigators continuing to discover new details in that horrifying murder of a Virginia news crew, police now saying the gunman, a former colleague of the victims, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, expressed admiration for other horrific attacks, such as 9/11. Parker’s family has created a scholarship in her memory. But her father says her real memorial will be a living one. He’s vowing to fight to create new legislation in her name to curb gun violence. He joins me now from his home in Collinsville, Virginia.
Mr. Parker, first of all, my deepest condolences. I know I speak for everyone when we say we can’t even imagine what you’re going through. So many people across the nation have been moved by what happened to your daughter and Adam Ward. What would you like them to do in her name, in her memory?
ANDY PARKER, FATHER OF ALISON PARKER: Well, Jake, thanks for having me on. And I — before we get to that — to the answer to that question, I just want to tell you that everyone — I have done a lot of media interviews, as you probably know, and a lot with CNN. And with the exception of one news organization that you can probably figure out that won’t — will go unnamed, everyone has been so kind and considerate of our family and the line of questioning.
And I want to give a particular shout-out to Jennifer Henderson, who is one of your producers, who’s been like a member of the family to us. And we so appreciate that. What I would like for everyone to know and to keep in mind is, you know, this is — this — just don’t be desensitized to this issue. And don’t go, oh, gee, this is another horrific incident, what’s for dinner tonight, honey?
And I think that’s my — my fear is that, you know, this is going to be a big news story for a weekend, and then, you know, it’s on to the next one. It’s — but, you know, we cannot let this drop. And I think this is different. This time, this is different, and I — because Alison was one of you guys. I mean, she was part of the media. And it could have been — you know, it could have been anyone out there doing this. So I think that, you know, I just want people to know that I’m going to be working on this for a long time. I know that this is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.
But, you know, I’m going to effect a change. I think Chris Hurst, her boyfriend, and I are — because of our backgrounds, are uniquely qualified to galvanize all the different groups that are trying to put this thing together and make a difference and to speak as one voice, and hold the politicians’ feet to the fire. I was listening to Bernie Sanders, as we were, you know, in the lead-up to this, and I liked what he said. You know, I think he said, regarding another matter, you know, same old, same old isn’t going to work.
And it’s the — it applies to this issue. And I think the reason he’s doing so well and the reason that Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls is that there’s an anger in this country, you know, that same old, same old isn’t going to work.
PARKER: But the difference is, this time, you know, it’s got to apply to sensible gun control legislation, controlling the loopholes, controlling the loopholes in that — in gun shows…
PARKER: …and, you know, doing those kinds of things.
TAPPER: Well, Mr. Parker, let me ask you. I know it was only Wednesday morning when this horrific tragedy happened. Have you been able to go through what happened with this deranged killer, and figure out what law…
PARKER: Jake, no. Jake, I…
TAPPER: … or restriction might — might have helped prevent the tragedy?
PARKER: OK. I’m sorry. I — you know, I didn’t want to — you know, I have not seen — I have not turned the television on since Tuesday night.
PARKER: So, I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to watch it. I’m not going to recount it. You know, this person to me is — you know, he doesn’t even register. What registers is the fact that he was mentally disturbed. He was allowed to — and he was allowed to pass a background check. And I know that, you know, say what you want about California. You know, sometimes, people think that they’re over-regulated, but they passed a gun violence restraining order out there that probably would have prevented this from happening.
And here in Virginia, similar legislation was introduced, and nothing — nothing was happening. Our own senator here in this — that represented us, you know, voted with the NRA and voted against it.
TAPPER: What’s the next step for you?
PARKER: But I think that — I think that there’s — well, I think — and I’m sorry. I don’t mean to go — but there is, you know — and I hate to keep, you know, invoking the name of Donald Trump, but I think Trump was — you know, I have been asked by several media outlets, you know, well, Trump says there’s — you know, this is not a gun issue, it’s a mental health issue.
Well, he’s half-right. It is a mental health issue. But there’s a linkage there between gun — guns and mental health. And there’s got to be some kind of protocol established, so that we keep the hands — keep people from getting guns. And I think that that bill in California, you know, it wouldn’t have saved Alison. It’s just like, you know, you put a seat belt on and you drive, and there’s no guarantee that it’s going to save your life if you’re in a horrific accident. But it’s something. And that’s what we — that’s the next step. We’re going to — you know, that’s what I’m trying to accomplish. At least do something.
TAPPER: Are you going to be coming to Washington?
PARKER: Absolutely. I have been in contact with — as you can imagine, the outpouring, not just for Alison, but the rage, the outrage that is — is — has just swept the — not just the nation, but the world, you know, it’s overwhelming.
And I have been in contact with Mark Kelly, who is Gabby Giffords’ husband, who was very gracious to reach out to me. And we’re going to get together in Washington. Senator Warner has also, you know, told me whatever we can do to help and facilitate that, let me know. Mayor Bloomberg’s people have reached out.
You know, I want to be the — if I can, and if they will allow me, Chris and I, Chris Hurst and I, we want to take the point, we want to take the lead on this and get something done. And I think, this time — you always think there’s a tipping point. We always — we thought that, when Gabby was shot, something would happen, with Sandy Hook, something would happen, with Aurora, something would happen. And it never did.
But I think people recognizing, you know, who the victim was and what she represented and how kind and sweet and innocent she was, I think, this time, it’s going to be different. And, you know, I’m — you know, I have done as many interviews probably as I can this weekend. And I don’t want to be like Howard Beale from “Network,” and you know, in essence, say, we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. That’s what’s happened. But he got overexposed. I don’t want that to happen. I want to come back when we have real news to report, when we have updates to report. And I’m counting on you guys in the media to be there and support this and keep this on the front burner, because it has to be. It can’t go away. It can’t be, you know — next week, it can’t be forgotten. And I’m not going to let that happen.
TAPPER: Well, we’re certainly going to stay in touch with you and have you back when you have more to — more to tell us about. Andy Parker, again, our deepest condolences on the loss of what sounds like a — she sounds like a wonderful, wonderful girl. Thank you for joining us today. I know it must be difficult. And you can go…
PARKER: Thank you so much. And you just let…
TAPPER: Go ahead.
PARKER: No, I said, you know, I’m telling you, they messed with the wrong family.
TAPPER: OK. You can go to CNN.com/Impact for more information about the scholarship fund in the memory of Alison Parker.