National and international media are up in arms today over the story of Neil Heslin, father of slain Sandy Hook student Jesse Lewis, being heckled yesterday during a Connecticut legislative meeting. During his testimony, in which he called for stricter gun control measures, Heslin was reportedly interrupted by shouts from Second Amendment activists:
“The Second Amendment!” was shouted a couple of times by as many as a dozen gun enthusiasts in the meeting room as Neil Heslin, holding a photo of his slain 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, asked why Bushmaster assault-style weapons are allowed to be sold in the state.
Prominent gun control advocates took to Twitter to draw attention to the incident:
Briefly set aside your stance on gun control. What horrible human being heckles a grieving parent in such a way? http://t.co/PaqRLthk
— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 29, 2013
Father who lost daughter in Newtown school shooting HECKLED by gun activists as he spoke today at hearing for stricter gun control #pathetic
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) January 29, 2013
Civility, decency must return. Per @KenDixonCT: "Father of Newtown shooting victim heckled by gun enthusiasts at legislative hearing."
— Jim Himes (@jahimes) January 29, 2013
Wow, father of Sandy Hook victim heckled at hearing. http://t.co/bmSmkFTK
— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) January 29, 2013
Wow. "Father of Newtown victim heckled at hearing." http://t.co/2fNficf9
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) January 29, 2013
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) January 29, 2013
For those who want the link about gunners heckling the father of a boy slaughtered at Sandy Hook. http://t.co/N71WIRBw
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) January 29, 2013
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) January 29, 2013
SICKENING: Sandy Hook father Neil Heslin heckled as he pleads for ban on assault weapon that killed his son Jesse: http://t.co/PmGwlpbU
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 29, 2013
And liberal social media outlets are just appalled:
Father of Newtown victim heckled by gun advocates at legislative hearing http://t.co/1Dwzyb3k
— Raw Story (@RawStory) January 29, 2013
Pro-gun activists heckled the father of a 6-year-old Newtown victim. http://t.co/SLIH618p
— Gawker (@Gawker) January 29, 2013
— Slate (@Slate) January 29, 2013
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 29, 2013
Father of 6-year-old killed in Newtown heckled by pro-gun activists http://t.co/2uXPzlhh
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) January 29, 2013
Would The Parents Of Newtown Shooting Victims Just Shut Up Already http://t.co/vu5KamVo
— Wonkette (@Wonkette) January 29, 2013
Pro-gun activists shout at father of Newtown school shooting victim – http://t.co/kECvjpEi
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) January 29, 2013
MSNBC in particular is beside itself with rage:
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 29, 2013
Except no. Not really. MSNBC is propping up its story with a blatantly edited video. In fact, Heslin was not heckled. Gun rights advocates in the audience indeed voiced their support for the Second Amendment — after he asked why anyone would need “assault-style weapons or high-capacity clips.” You’d never know based on the MSNBC version, which completely cut out the footage of Heslin’s question.
Fortunately, Twitchy has obtained the full, unedited video, which you can view for yourself below (relevant portion starts at the 15-minute mark):
“I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question … why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips. [Pause, waiting for response.] Not one person can answer that question.”
Audience members: “[Unintelligible] Second Amendment shall not be infringed”
Public official: “Please no comments while Mr. Heslin is speaking. Or we’ll clear the room. Mr. Heslin please continue.”
Heslin waited for a response. And when he got that response, it wasn’t Heslin who registered outrage — it was the media.
Let’s be clear: this wasn’t about having compassion for a man who tragically lost his son; this was strictly about pushing a political agenda. Out of more than 17 minutes of footage, the kneejerk media focused exclusively on the non-existent “heckling.” Not on Heslin’s plea for a change in gun control policy. Not on his sorrow over never being able to spend another moment with his beloved son and “best friend.” To the media, this was nothing more than a chance to exploit one man’s raw emotions in order to gin up outrage.
And it’s utterly despicable.