Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives formally voted to impeach President Donald Trump, making him the third president in the nation’s history to be impeached. The historic decision has stoked division throughout the country, as many on the right mimic the president’s claims that impeachment is a partisan “hoax.” The president’s rhetoric has riled some ugly sentiments amongst his base. But not even his staunchest supporters in Congress have stooped as low as former conservative radio host Chuck Bonniwell, who said he wished for “a nice school shooting” to distract from the historic impeachment proceedings.
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) December 18, 2019
Bonniwell, who co-hosted the Chuck and Julie Show on Colorado station 710 KNUS AM with wife Julie Hayden, made the reprehensible comments on Tuesday after a commercial break, the Colorado Times Recorder reports. “All right, Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden here a little after 1:30 talking about the never-ending impeachment of Donald Trump,” he said. “You wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt the monopoly.”
Hayden cut in, adding: “No, no. Don’t even — don’t even say that. Don’t call us. Chuck didn’t say that.”
Bonniwell then tried to walk back his heinous statement by adding that the shooting would be one in “which no one would be hurt.” His attempts to clean up the mess weren’t enough to convince an outraged public or the radio station, which promptly fired Bonniwell and Hayden and canceled the show.
Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the Chuck & Julie show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell. A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.
— 710 KNUS Denver (@710KNUS) December 19, 2019
“Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the Chuck & Julie show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell,” an official statement from KNUS read. “A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.”
The number of mass shootings in 2019 has officially surpassed the number of days in a calendar year, Mark Bryant, the director of the Gun Violence Archives, told NPR. And in May of this year, Colorado was home to a deadly school shooting in which one student was killed, and eight were injured.
John Castillo, whose son Kendrick died during the shooting, called Bonniwell’s statement “unbelievable” in a tweet.
Unbelievable that a raido host would suggest a school shooting to distract from the presidential inpement. The Chuck and Julie show on knus 710
— John Castillo (@69bronco) December 18, 2019
School shootings are becoming increasingly prominent throughout the country. According to CNN, there had been 45 school shootings as of November. To put that into context, there are only 52 weeks in a year, meaning children have had to endure gun violence at school nearly once a week — and that doesn’t even begin to account for all of the shootings in places of worship, supermarkets, malls, and other public spaces.
Gun violence has become one of the most prominent issues for Gen Z, who have endured countless active shooter drills and have seen their friends die. Unlike many Congressional leaders, these kids aren’t afraid to stand up to gun lobbyists and take action to reduce gun violence. In the aftermath of the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, youth activists launched March for Our Lives, a movement that organizes rallies, registers voters, and has drafted a comprehensive plan to reduce gun-related deaths over the next decade.
Additionally, kids have resurfaced a somber campaign called My Last Shot, that encourages people to put stickers on their phones that read, “In the event that I die from gun violence, please publicize the photo of my death.” The message today’s youth is sending is clear: they refuse to be yet another statistic, and they won’t stop fighting — or making older adults uncomfortable — until the nation’s most powerful enacts meaningful change.
Comments like Bonniwell’s highlight how desperately we need to change the country’s culture and views on gun violence. Shootings aren’t jokes; kids’ deaths and ever-increasing anxieties around gun violence aren’t funny. If there were ever a time for adults to skip making light of tragedy and instead, oh I don’t know, ruminate on Melania Trump’s Be Best campaign message, it’s now.