Five years after the deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, parents of those 14 students have continued to express their pain at losing their children in a senseless act of violence and the government’s failure to pass sweeping gun legislation.
Today (March 23), Manuel Oliver and his wife, Patricia Oliver, attended a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee about the Second Amendment and how best to protect gun rights for Americans. Anti-gun advocacy groups like Moms Demand Action were visible in the audience. At one point, Manuel and Patricia called out lawmakers and were ejected from the hearing. The husband was subsequently arrested.
Maxwell Frost, Congress’ first Gen Z representative and a mass shooting survivor himself, posted a video of Manuel pinned to the floor getting arrested. “MANNY IS A HERO,” Frost wrote in the tweet, seen below. “He didn’t deserve this. The Republican Chair of this committee [Rep. Pat Fallon] just called him a narcissist. Disgraceful.”
“Patricia said one thing and the chair escalated the entire situation,” Frost went on to explain in another tweet below. The anguished mother reportedly yelled, “You took my son away from me!” leading Rep. Fallon to ask if there would be another “insurrection” and if they would be held to the same standards as those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Frost used his position to speak directly to Republicans and their misplaced concerns for children by pointing out that firearms are the leading killer of kids in the United States. “If Republicans cared so much about what’s happening in schools, what about the kids who are gunned down in their classroom?” he said in the compelling speech seen below. “The leading cause of death in this country being gun violence for young people?”
Manuel has been speaking truth to power since that fateful 2018 day when his son Joaquin was taken from him. In July 2022, he was present at an event celebrating the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and expressed his frustration with President Biden and Congress’ incremental steps toward change. “We have to do more than that,” he shouted at the president before being escorted away.