Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, said she’s been inundated with angry and hateful messages after she said “thoughts and prayers” were the best way to stop the evil behind mass shootings like the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
“The pushback has been incredible. As my daughter called it, it was the quote heard ‘round the world,” Stargel told The News Service of Florida.
Stargel said her son, who lives in Chile, told her it showed up in his news feeds.
The senator called the reaction “unfortunate.” Lawmakers have passed a $400 million “comprehensive piece of legislation” that addresses firearms, mental health, school resource officers and school hardening, she said.
“So we’re not just thinking and praying. But I think the pushback is indicative of the hate and anger that’s going on in our culture,” Stargel said.
Stargel remains unapologetic for her comments, delivered during debate on the school-safety measure this week.
“I don’t know when it became inappropriate to pray for our country, pray for people, have compassion, common decency, kindness,” she said.