Several dominant ​narratives across the ideological spectrum have emerged in response to the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. The death of the 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have raised a fierce national debate centered around a core question:

How do we make sure what happened at Parkland never happens again?

Lots of people have opinions on the subject. We need tighter gun control laws. We need a less restrictive ​approach to involuntarily committing the mentally ill. 

It's particularly interesting to note how these proposed solutions tend to break along ideological lines.

How is the left generally responding to the tragedy at Parkland?


Generally, the left side of the spectrum has been vocal about the need for tighter gun control legislation in Congress. 

​​This is probably the most widely echoed narrative in response to Parkland.

Mainstream media outlets, politicians, pundits and even students at Stoneman Douglas High School have all urged the need for more restrictive gun control laws.


Another talking point coming from the left in the wake of Parkland? Renewed scrutiny on the National Rifle Association's role as an obstacle to gun control legislation.

American author and intellectual Sam Harris minces no words when it comes to the gun rights advocacy group. In a tweet, Harris calls the NRA "a dangerous cult."


​​Shannon Watts, an advisory member of Everytown for Gun Safety, has consistently criticized the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety is a nonprofit that advocates for stricter gun control legislation.

Let's take a look at the conversations taking place on the right.


Conservatives and Republicans have pushed back on the left's focus on gun control as the root cause of the Parkland shooting.

The right's counter-narrative to the left's attack on gun control has been to focus on a need for mental health reforms. One example comes from the President.

Author, Second Amendment advocate and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch advanced the same narrative, raising the issue of whether the mental health treatment received by the Parkland shooter was adequate.

Former Trump administration aide Sebastian Gorka was more direct in pushing back against cries from the left for stricter gun control laws. In response to reports that the Parkland shooter, a former mental health clinic patient, had been out of treatment for more than a year, Gorka said this was because "after 1970s, the Left made the institutionalization of the mentally ill almost impossible."


Another narrative that's emerged on the right? Blaming the FBI for not preventing the massacre by the Parkland shooter.

In an interview with NRATV, Dana Loesch said she hopes "that people are marching to the FBI offices." She said the Parkland shooter was "reported over 30 times." Loesch was apparently referring to a ​CNN story which cited law enforcement being called to the shooter's residence 39 times. 

Ann Coulter had a more strident take.

An admittedly small contingent of Republicans are raising a wholly different issue.


Have video games and rap culture might have desensitized our culture to the value of human life and thus contributed to an environment which made the Parkland shooting possible? 

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin addressed the Parkland shooting during an interview on the ​Leland Conway show

Bevin dismissed the notion that lax gun control was responsible for Parkland. "Guns are not the problem," Bevin said. "We have a cultural problem in America... You look at the ‘culture of death’ that is being celebrated. There are video games, that yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it and there’s nothing to prevent the child from playing them, that celebrate the slaughtering of people.”

Additionally, former Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina Andre Bauer, a Republican, blamed a cultural shift. In a recent appearance on CNN, Bauer lamented a cultural shift which looks much different than the heydays of Andy Griffith and Elvis:

“We have a culture thing here that we’re not discussing. I mean, when I grew up it was Andy Griffith and you never had school shootings and we still had prayer in school and we drove to school with guns in the car … Today, we are in a different time when the movie industry, the rap industry, radio in general talks about these things that are common now and we have almost desensitized it."

He continued: 

"Now we have to worry about kids eating Tide Pods instead of discipline. We go after parents who discipline their children. When I was in school, the principal had a paddle. It was called the Board of Education, and he used it on all the students. We have changed the mindset today and so it’s scary now that students would even contemplate this type of behavior. We have a cultural shift.”

While much of the national conversation on Parkland has been heated and polarized, there is some common ground. 


​One idea that's gained traction among both left and right: The argument that media publicizing mass shooter's names is harmful because it gives them the notoriety they desire and encourages future copycats.

On the right, Editor in chief Ben Shapiro announced the Daily Wire would no longer be publishing the name or photo of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Dilbert creator, and prominent Trump Supporter, Scott Adams agreed to follow his lead.

Former Hillary Clinton adviser Peter Daou was of a similar mindset.

There's obviously a lot more daylight than common ground between left and right on many issues. And the debate over how to prevent mass shootings is certainly one of them.