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Slain Virginia reporter’s father vows to fight for gun control: “They messed with the wrong family”

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ROANOKE, Virginia — It’s been less than a week since murder set their lives onto a new course, into roles they never wanted to take on and into a battle they never planned to fight.

But only five days in, Andy and Barbara Parker — the parents of slain television journalist Alison Parker — speak about gun control with a passion as if they’d spent their lifetimes fighting for it.

“You can’t change the world in a day,” Barbara Parker told CNN. “But we cannot be intimidated, we cannot be pushed aside.”

Alison Parker, Adam Ward

Alison Parker, Adam Ward

On Wednesday, Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward — two journalists for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia — were killed on live television by a disgruntled former employee.

In the days since, Andy Parker has emerged as perhaps the world’s most visible advocate for gun control, making numerous appearances on numerous networks and even holding a news conference.

On Sunday, both of the Parkers spoke to CNN’s Poppy Harlow, telling her that ending gun violence has become each of their lives’ missions — and the grieving parents pledged to be as unrelenting and as feisty as their daughter in achieving it.

“Alison would be really mad at me if I didn’t take this on,” said Andy Parker. “And I promise you, these people are messing with the wrong family. We are going to effect a change.”

‘This time is different’

Earlier in the day, Andy Parker said on “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper that he’d been in touch with several influential gun control advocates — including Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — about pushing “sensible gun control legislation.”

Giffords, a former Arizona congresswoman, was shot in the head during a 2011 shooting rampage in which six people were killed.

To effectuate change, however, Parker said the nation cannot become “desensitized to this issue,” and let it fade from the public consciousness.

“Every time there has been one of these tragedies, we all say, ‘this is the tipping point. Something is gonna get done,’ he told Harlow.

“After Newtown, after Aurora, after Gabby Giffords was shot — you think, something is gonna get done. This time, the circumstances of this tragedy, they are different.”

Barbara Parker said she is not discouraged by the fact that those previous mass shootings failed to be the tipping point when it came to gun control, nor is she fazed by the often fervent — and well-financed — defenders of the Second Amendment.

“There are people out there whose minds we will never change,” she said. “If you are a parent, if you are a mother, if you have children — how can you look your child in the eye and say we are willing to allow you to be collateral damage in order to keep what some people perceive to be their constitutional rights? If we as a society are willing to accept that, what kind of society are we?”

Choking back tears, Andy Parker said it’s his daughter that will give him the strength to carry the mission on.

“I know somewhere she’d be looking down saying, ‘You go, dad.’ “

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  • no.

    Criminals dont obey laws. How is strengthening gun laws going to prohibit a criminal from illegally obtaining one? Tighter gun laws only make things harder for those that ALREADY obey laws. Instead of this father attacking guns, he should be focusing his attention on mental health issues & awareness, which was the primary cause of the murderous intent, as well as most mass shootings.

  • skeggjold gunnr

    “What registers is he was mentally disturbed and he was allowed to pass a background check.” – I am convinced that anyone who uses the term “gun violence” either failed to think about what agenda those words identify, or they are just as mentally disturbed, and they are fully well aware of it. Guns are not capable of being violent. Mentally disturbed people are. That quote does nail the correct problem on the head. All emotionally stable responsible gun owners of sound mind value all human life above all else – that’s mostly WHY they accepted the burden of becoming a gun owner. Irresponsible freaks needn’t be permitted access to a gun, those permitting them access to a gun should go down with them. I am saddened by this tragedy.

    • Opinion8d

      It become an awfully slippery slope when you try to determine ‘mental health’. It’s hard enough to deny a driving license to some elderly person…. the reason so many people don’t get the help they need is that the LEFT hates labels…..

  • wisill

    “THEY” who? If he’s referring to all legal gun owners then his thinking is just as flawed as everyone else who thinks Gun Control will solve anything. This person, by his own admission had an evil plan to kill people because HE FELT he’d been mistreated. The firearm he purchased was a tool, but if he had been denied he’d simply have used a car and ran them down, they’d be just as dead. Or he’d have used a knife, started a fire, 1,001 other ways to carry out his plan. It’s time to hold PEOPLE responsible for THEIR ACTIONS and not blame the tools they choose to use.

  • B

    The problem is not guns, the problem is idiots like this blaming guns and not the idiots who use them to break the law. If you take away guns, this guy would have found another way to take lives. I really am dumbfounded as to how this country has become so full of stupidity.

  • 2ECOND

    “Barbara Parker said she is not discouraged by the fact that those previous mass shootings failed to be the tipping point when it came to gun control, nor is she fazed by the often fervent — and well-financed — defenders of the Second Amendment” Sigh and an eye roll…here we go AGAIN. If the fight was so important to these people, where were they all along?

  • Fred

    I understand the family is upset – a loved one’s life was stolen by a mentally unstable person. But the usual call for tightened gun control laws will solve nothing. Are the anti gun advocates so blind? When a ‘thing’ is made illegal, or restrictions are put on ownership, an instant black market appears to make it much easier than ever before to obtain the thing. Cite prohibition to prove this point. The nineteenth amendment was supposed to cure our society of many sins….all it did was pave the way for organized crime to set up shop. There is no reason anyone should be able to drive drunk, buy pot, coke or heroin – we have laws forbidding such activity. Are tougher laws or additional legislation going to prevent this from happening??? Let me answer that – NO!!!!

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