The usually upbeat and cheerful team of Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest started “Live with Kelly and Ryan” off on a somber note on Thursday in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
“The news coming out of Florida [is] devastating,” Ripa, a mother of three, said. ” … I don’t know how many times it has to happen, a school shooting, a mass shooting of this caliber, before somebody does something. Before people really get into it. ”
Ripa got even more passionate when she said that she knows some people won’t want to hear her opinion just because she’s a talk show host.
“And people are gonna say, ‘Oh, you’re just a talk show host. Shut up,'” she said, looking at the camera. “In this moment, I am a mom of three kids that go to school, and I had to talk my kids off a ledge this morning because they were afraid to go to school.”
“What did you say to your kids?” co-host Seacrest asked.
“I said, ‘Follow the instructions of the school. You have these drills in place.’ Unfortunately, my kids have grown up … where they don’t just have fire drills anymore. They have active shooter drills, which is so tragic to me. And the fact that our country has such unparalleled mass shooter violence is staggering to me.”
“So somebody needs to have a conversation that is larger than in this moment,” she said. ” … There needs to be a bigger, better dialogue, because we are failing in this area.”
The audience applauded in response to Ripa’s speech.
“Offering thoughts and prayers are not enough anymore, and I can’t imagine the horror of the parents at that school. Or any school where this happens. Or any place where this happens,” she said. “Because we are creatures of empathy, we put ourselves in each other’s shoes.”
Thinking about talking to her own children, Ripa took a moment to compose herself.
“You don’t want to mislead your kids and say, ‘This is never going to happen.’ You hope and pray that it doesn’t happen, but when they are inundated with these images every day, day after day, all the time, you start to feel like a liar. And I don’t like feeling that way.”
“And we are thinking about the people of Florida today and all of those parents and teachers,” she said adding that she gets emotional about tragedies like this. “We, here in the building and beyond, are with the all of the people of Florida today.”