Caitlin Flynn
Updated Feb 15, 2018 @ 10:36 am

A 19-year-old former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this morning. As of 3:31 p.m. PST, authorities have confirmed that 17 people have died and the shooter is in custody. The Florida high school shooting marks the 18th school shooting of 2018.

In a raw display of emotion that resonated with many viewers, CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd broke down in tears while discussing the tragic incident with Wolf Blitzer.

The segment was then cut short.

Some may be surprised to see a counterterrorism expert break down in tears on live TV, but that’s exactly why this moment was so important.

Analysts are hired for their expertise (after a break, Mudd returned to discuss the legal aspects of the Parkland shooting), but the best pundits also provide reasonable and powerful commentary in response to tragedies like this one. And that’s what Mudd did — he articulated the pain, anger, and frustration that so many Americans are experiencing right now.

Mudd’s emotional CNN appearance struck a chord with viewers, who took to Twitter to show support for the analyst and emphasize that he expressed what so many of us are feeling.

As Mudd said, the prevalence of school shootings in America cannot be accepted or normalized.

Any conversation about Parkland, Sandy Hook, Columbine, or the 17 other school shootings that have occurred this year is straight-up irresponsible and pointless if it doesn’t include a discussion of concrete actions we can take to prevent future tragedies like this one.