While the liberal mainstream media continue to sell the line that Saturday’s “March for Our Lives” was a student-led, student-organized rally for “common-sense gun control,” the reality is that it was led and organized by the “usual suspects” in the anti-gun crowd. The kids are just window dressing for the sake of an emotional appeal. A YouTube video of leaked audio reveals that the real organization leading the rally is the anti-gun Giffords Foundation.
The audio is of a March 20 pre-rally meeting and features Broward County school teacher Debbie Miller coaching students on every aspect of the march they are supposedly leading. She even reminds them to “have your talking points ready.” In the audio, Miller, who teaches at Beachside Montessori Village (part of the Broward County Public School system), brazenly introduces herself to students as a representative of the Giffords Foundation. She begins, “For those of you I did not meet in my reception line, I am Debbie Miller.” Then she welcomes the students, saying, “On behalf of Giffords, I could not be more excited to welcome you all to our We Are the Change trip.”
The meeting was held at the Coral Springs, Florida, Marriott Hotel, and Miller says the space was donated by the hotel. She also told the assembled students that Southwest Airlines “has decided to donate all of the seats” for the students traveling to D.C. for the rally.
Miller also explained that her “tech-support extraordinaire has set up a Facebook page and Instagram” under the name “WeAreTheChange_DC.”
Let’s just pause right there and unpack this a bit, before we get too deep in. First, why would the students who “organized” this whole thing need to be told all the details? Would they not know that the airfare was donated, as was the meeting space for the pre-rally meeting? Why didn’t they set up the social-media pages? After all, teens and social media are like two peas in a pod. Yet, they had to be told about this? For that matter, why was Miller “leading” that meeting? All of those questions are answered by her welcoming of the students “on behalf of Giffords,” which is the real organizer and leader of the rally.
The Giffords Foundation is an anti-gun organization founded by Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, who was the victim of an assassination attempt in Tucson in January 2011. Giffords, who served as a member of the House of Representatives for Arizona’s eighth congressional district, was shot in the head, but survived. Six others were killed, and another 13 were injured. After partially recovering from her injuries, Giffords resigned her seat and started the foundation that promotes what it calls “the courage to fight gun violence.”
While what happened to Giffords was tragic, her anti-gun crusade is misplaced. It would be more than a little like trying to take cars away from everyone because a drunk driver ran her over.
That the Giffords Foundation is behind the rally is clearly indicated on the organization’s website, which says, “March with us. On March 24th, student activists will take to the streets in Washington, DC and around the country to demand action to end America’s gun violence crisis. We support them every step of the way, and you can too.” The site includes a link to “Find a march near you.”
Lest this look like mere support, remember that Miller welcomed the students who are ostensibly “organizing” and “leading” the rally “on behalf of Giffords” and then proceeded to inform them of the agenda. Part of that agenda is to “familiarize yourself with the Giffords organization.” In fact, Miller mentions the Giffords Foundation by name at least nine times in the five minute and forty-six-second audio. That is a mention every 38 seconds, on average.
At one point, Miller makes it clear — even for those who may be a little slow on the uptake — that the Giffords Foundation is behind the rally, saying, “Giffords has not only arranged an unbelievable itinerary for us, but they’ve got medical support, there’s security, there’s counseling, there’s media relations, pretty much everything that they could think of, they have arranged for us.”
Given all of that, does anyone still really believe this was a “student-led” rally?
On multiple occasions, Miller — who apparently believed she was in a room occupied by only those friendly to her anti-gun agenda — makes “top secret” and “off-the-record” remarks, asking the assembled press to “pretend like you’re not hearing this.” The media were apparently happy to oblige, since the only reports of Miller’s conspiratorial planning have been because of the leaked audio.
In fact, the media “pretended” that the March for Our Lives/We Are the Change rally was being led and organized by students both during the days leading up to the event as well as afterward. Here is a sampling just days before the march:
The Washington Post: “Big crowds are expected in Washington on Saturday for the March for Our Lives, an anti-gun-violence rally organized by students, that could bring as many as 500,000 protesters to downtown Washington.”
USA Today: “They're [the students from Parkland] the leaders we've been waiting for.”
The Los Angeles Times: “The goal of the student-led march in Washington is simple: to demand that Congress pass a comprehensive bill to address gun violence.”
ABC News: “Thousands of demonstrators are expected to turn out Saturday for March for Our Lives events across the country in support of school safety, spearheaded by the survivors of last month’s Parkland, Florida, school shooting.”
The News & Observer: “She also wanted to be part of a student-led movement. Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and his classmates announced the march on Washington just days after a gunman killed 17 people on their campus in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.”
Every one of those quotes was datelined March 22 — a full two days after Miller’s meeting, which was attended by media. Well, she did ask them nicely to pretend they weren’t there. To be fair, this writer has no reason to believe that any of the “journalists” who regurgitated the “student-led” line in these articles were at Miller’s “Giffords” meeting, but since the audio is available on the web (after all, this writer found it), it is difficult to believe not one of them is aware of it.
Even after the march, the mainstream liberal media kept up the facade:
CNN: “How the Parkland students pulled off a massive national protest in only 5 weeks.”
ABC: “It also reveals that at least someone inside these new, youth-led organizations calling for gun safety reform has a keen sense of what they need and what they don't.”
New York Times: “Students Lead Huge Rallies for Gun Control Across the U.S.”
Bloomberg: “Young people haven't just taken the lead on this issue — they've created a playbook for other kids to follow.”
USA Today: “Whenever there are large public demonstrations, such as this weekend’s student-led March for Our Lives protests, we ask ourselves whether they represent the beginning of something big, or the end.”
But since it was the Giffords Foundation that “arranged ... media relations,” and Miller made it clear in her meeting that “all media requests” must be done “through Giffords,” the media are clearly aware of who is really planning, organizing, and leading this event. That they continue to pretend a bunch of high-school kids are behind it is evidence of media complicity — if not conspiracy — in a dishonest attempt to disarm Americans.
The adult-arranged “media relations” for the kids included “press-free” lounge. The arrangements also included being “met at the check-in counter at the Fort Lauderdale airport by a person from Giffords.” Furthermore, the kids were told: “When [they] get off the plane, the Giffords people will be there”; and “Giffords will be sending a person with you” to keep the press from the kids — or more likely, to keep the kids from the press. In fact, Miller said, “There’s no kids going to press events by themselves — and this is really important,” she told them, adding, “You need to have your talking points ready.”
Part of what Miller asked the media to ignore is that some big names in leftist politics are poised to make the most of this. “We will be introduced on Capitol Hill by Nancy Pelosi,” she said, adding, “and it’s quite, quite possible we’re going to have a private meeting with Joe Biden.”
Miller also said she “got to speak with Joe Biden on the phone through Giffords.” Apparently there is little the Giffords Foundation is not willing to do to get its anti-gun agenda all the play it can. Miller added that Biden “is really dedicating his life to your cause.”
Adding probable illegality to her glaring lack of ethics, Miller jokingly informed the assembled students, media, and others that she deliberately misappropriated school property for this event, saying, “If you don’t have an itinerary, it’s because when I got up to like, almost two hundred, my principle was like, ‘I’m assuming that is not for school’ and I was like, hmmm,” adding in a conspiratorial tone, “Sure it is.”
Toward the end of her meeting, Miller made a reference to an anti-Semitic joke, telling the kids it would not rain Saturday and adding, “I would say something about the politician who said that the Jews are in charge of the weather, so c’mon.” In apparent realization that her joke was in poor taste, she attempted to ameliorate the low-brow joke by adding, “But that’s not right.”
She ended by explaining to the students that — “and this is super off-the-record” — the event “was supposed to be a march, and then — shockingly — they wouldn’t give permits for the march.” So this entire event is actually illegal. The solution? “So the march became a rally” that will simply walk from the official site of the rally to the White House, “a twenty minute walk up the street.” As she explained, “It’s conceivable that we could leave at the end of the rally, and walk to the White House where we rally some more, and hold up our signs, and say our piece, and create a little hell.”
The adults responsible for the march certainly created “a little hell,” and they were — and are — not one bit above exploiting children to do it.
Photo of “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., March 25, 2018: AP Images
A version of this article was originally published on March 22 but was updated following Saturday’s “March for Our Lives.”