Andy Parker: Father of dead Virginia journalist says he will work to ensure 'some good comes from this evil'

Mr Parker says he will push for legislation to regulate access to firearms

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The Independent US

The father of a young journalist shot and killed with her cameraman during a live broadcast, has said he will devote his life to “seeing that some good comes from this evil”.

“Last Wednesday, my daughter Alison was brutally struck down in the prime of her life by a deranged gunman. Since then I have stated in numerous interviews with local, national and international media that I plan to make my life’s work trying to implement effective and reasonable safeguards against this happening again,” Mr Parker wrote in the Washington Post.

“In recent years we have witnessed similar tragedies unfold on TV: the shooting of a congresswoman in Arizona, the massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut and of churchgoers in South Carolina.”

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Reporter Alison Parker interviewing Vicki Gardner moments before the attack

He added: "We have to ask ourselves: What do we need to do to stop this insanity? In my case, the answer is: “Whatever it takes"."

Ms Parker, 24 and cameraman Adam Ward, 28, journalists with the WBDJ7 station in Roanoke, died last week after being shot by a disgruntled former colleague.

Vester Flanagan, who also used the television name Bryce Williams, shot himself several hours after he opened fire in southern Virginia. Mr Flanagan had accused the station of racial discrimination and rambling letters discovered since his death suggested he was struggling with mental health problems. It is unclear what treatment he may have received.

In the hours and days since last week’s shooting, Mr Parker has said he will fight to force politicians to enact regulations. He said while he does not want to ban guns, he believed there was a way to ensure people with mental health problems did have such easy access to such weapons.

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Journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were killed after a gunman opened fire during a live broadcast in Virginia

 

He cited the example of anti-crime activist and television personality John Walsh, whose campaign began after the death of his son, Adam in 1981. He claimed many politicians were cowards and accused them of being in the pocket of the National Rifle Association, a gun industry and users advoacy and lobbying group.

“I plan to devote all of my strength and resources to seeing that some good comes from this evil,” he wrote in the Washington Post.

“I am entering this arena with open eyes. I realise the magnitude of the force that opposes sensible and reasonable safeguards on the purchase of devices that have a single purpose: to kill.”

Mr Walker said he would be calling on politicians such as Rep. Bob Goodlatte,who represents Roanoke, and state senators Senators John Edwards and William Stanley Jr.

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Vester Lee Flanagan, known professionally as Bryce Williams, later killed himself

Mr Parker finished his article by recalling the week before his daughter was killed and a rafting trip she took to the Nantahala River in North Carolina with him, her mother, her boyfriend, Chris, and her close friend Katy.

“It was her favourite place on earth. She was a brilliant kayaker and it was a family tradition she relished,” he said.

“We told each other often the mantra all paddlers must keep in mind while fighting the force of the rapid water: Never stop paddling. You just have to paddle through the rapids. You just have to paddle through.”

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