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CNN's Philip Mudd breaks down on air while discussing Florida school shooting

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

Philip Mudd, a CNN counterterrorism analyst and former FBI deputy director, broke down in tears on the air on Wednesday while discussing Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Mudd, who spent close to three decades working in the CIA and FBI before retiring in 2010, was overcome by emotion when asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for his thoughts on the massacre in Parkland, Fla., where police say a former student, armed with an AR-15-style rifle, killed 17 people and injured at least a dozen more.

“I have 10 nieces and nephews and we’re talking about bump stocks? We’re talking about legislation? A child of God is dead,” Mudd said, his voice breaking. “Can we now acknowledge in this country that we cannot accept this?”

Mudd, appearing from a studio in Miami, then waved off the camera.

“I can’t do it, Wolf,” he said. “I’m sorry.”


Blitzer calmly pivoted to his next guest while acknowledging Mudd’s uncharacteristic breakdown.

“This is so emotional,” Blitzer said. “Unfortunately it happens all too often. And as a result, people say we’ve got to learn some lessons. Unfortunately lessons are never, never learned.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., echoed Blitzer’s critique in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor.

“As we speak, there is a horrific scene playing out at a high school in South Florida,” Murphy said. “If you turn on your television right now, you’re going to see scenes of children running for their lives.”

Murphy, who was one of the first officials to arrive at the scene of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., noted that Wednesday’s shooting was the 18th at a U.S. school this year.

“This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America,” he said. “This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting. It only happens here, not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible.”


A composed Mudd returned to the air to echo his earlier refrain — that “the country is not serious” about addressing gun violence.

“We know the answer, everybody knows the answer,” Mudd said. “In places like Japan and Western Europe, they do not have the violence against children that we have in this country.”

“We refuse to accept that we can learn from other countries,” he added. “It’s not that complicated.”

 

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