Andy Parker’s daughter who was an Emmy-Award winning journalist was senselessly murdered on live TV as a result of somebody deciding to hire a known psycho. He shares the importance of hiring character over skill.
On today’s show, Andy Parker,
the father of an award-winning journalist who is senselessly murdered on live TV. As a result of somebody deciding to hire a known psycho, joins us to share the importance of hiring character overscale. Mr [inaudible]
Parker, welcome onto the show. How are you sir? I’m trying, clay. Thank you for having me. Hey, on. A lot of our listeners probably are somewhat familiar with your name. They’re going, I can’t place that name. Could you share with the listeners about what happened on August 26th and what your mission is now?
Well, clay on, uh, on August 26th, 2015, um, um, at that time my daughter was interviewing the local head of the Chamber of Commerce, uh, at Smith Mountain Lake. And, uh, while her camera man at a board film the, uh, the interview for live television, um, and, uh, mentally ill, former coworker walked up, shot all three at point blank and Adam and Alison died at the scene.
Oh. Um, when did you find out that your daughter had been killed? When did, when did you get the news?
Well, typically Barbara and I were, you know, we didn’t get, well, Alison was, would always do her morning report. Um, you know, the crack of dawn. And after watching her a few times, we just said scooter. And that was my nickname for her. I said, listen, we’re gonna, we’re gonna see your hits. Uh, later, you know, when they, when they’d come up on the web, we’re not going to get up at the crack of dawn. And so, you know, we, we weren’t up at the time. And Bob, Alison’s boyfriend, Chris called Barbara, my wife, about seven that morning to tell her that shots had been fired, but they didn’t know any more at the time and I was still asleep. And so Barbara immediately woke me up. Um, and I got a call from the news director of the station about an hour later that confirmed the worst. Uh, and it’s a chapter in my book called the day. And I chronicle the worst day in my life.
How I first heard about this story was I think the video of it, you know, cause it was live was being shared all over the Internet. And I just remember my initial reaction when I’m not watching that I can’t and I can’t, you know what I mean? Did that, did that, does that, is that video still flying around if you’d be able to stop that or what, what’s going?
No, I mean it’s, it’s, it really is, uh, you know, I mean, we could, we could devote a whole a segment on this, uh, it is still up on youtube. Um, Google just, they either, you know, they either they’re, they say, well we’re, we’re really trying to take this down and they really are not. I mean, I’ve been, I’ve been fighting them for two years to get it removed cause it shouldn’t be up there. I mean, executions on the Internet on video should not be there for people to see and they monetize it. So along with the NRA, I’ve been fighting Google for, you know, for, for two years. But, uh, no, I’ve never seen the video. I never want to see it. I know that it’s out there.
No, I, I’m, you know, I’m trying to be super respectful. I just, I want to really respect you and I just, um, your daughter was in an Emmy award winning journalist, reporter. You know, she was a very talented, but she was also a very, uh, kind person, loved by her peers. Can you, can you explain to me who you think was at fault or what happened or what the cause, what caused this situation for this disgruntled employee to come back and execute her?
Well, clay, you’re right. I mean, she was smart. She was competitive. She had the it factor. I mean, she was one of those people that, you know, when she walked into her room, her, you know, heads would turn her way because she was beautiful on the outside end in, and you know, she had a great gift for telling stories, important stories that she didn’t want to be known as just the morning, the pretty blonde reporter, uh, as she wanted to be known as a journalist. And that’s why, you know, she, she won two Edward r Murrow awards for her, uh, for her work for two documentaries that she did a as well as the, a, uh, an aiming for the outs for outstanding live, uh, reporter. But to your question about, you know, why did this guy do what he did? Um, he was trouble. I mean, this, this guy was, um, he had been fired from three other station television stations. Uh, he was escorted out by police, uh, it, and at least on at least two of them with on two occasions, uh, uh, he was escorted out by DBJ and then I think the previous station. So I mean, this guy had all kinds of issues and he was, uh, you know, if there was ever a case for a red flag law, which we’ve been fighting to get, uh, he was the prime example of it.
Didn’t he say he was inspired by God? Am I getting that wrong?
I think he was, he, he was inspired supposedly. And I listen, I don’t, I don’t dwell on, I never dwelled on the killers, you know, motives or his manifesto. I just heard that he was as inspired to take revenge after the Charleston church shootings. Um, you know, he, he never should have been hired in the first place. Yeah, I was, I was, uh, an executive recruiter before all this happened. And if on a rare occasion I came across a candidate who wasn’t actually current, employed or currently employed by somebody, I’d say that was the first question I’d ask. Why are you not working, um, human resources at many companies, including WWJ claim that they can’t ask those questions because of the, um, what they Gulf FERPA laws, you know, privacy laws. But I can I gotta tell you, any hiring manager worth a damn would find somebody who worked with this guy and say, ask him, would you hire him? Uh, you know, the, the other, the other sad thing is that this, this guy also had an agent who pitched him to the station and clearly, clearly that, sorry excuse for an agent, failed in his due diligence and his ethical responsibility by, um, by foisting off and promoting a ticking time bomb.
You know, and Andy Parker this is, uh, we, I own multiple businesses, my partner and I, and we’ve, you know, employ hundreds and hundreds of people. And, uh, one thing that I think is really, really real, it bothered me, not nearly at the level of this, but we have so many small business owners out there listening. I’ve seen people could, I have, I thought were my friends, Andy, that actually were allowed to be used as a reference to verify that an employee was a good fit. So like I’m calling references, right? I’m calling going, would you hire this person? And people who I thought were my friends said yes, I would. And then when they came to work for us, they were like a time bomb, you know, and I called the person back, you said that you, this person was great and you’d hire him again.
They said, well, I didn’t want to get in trouble with the law, so I didn’t tell you they were, cause I didn’t wanna get in trouble. That was the deal. That’s the justification. Um, can you talk, I want to get your stance on that. If I’m listening right now and I’m a business owner because you’ve looked into the laws and if I have somebody who I’ve hired in the past who is a psycho and somebody calls and asks for a reference about whether I would hire the psycho again, what’s your stance on that? How should we handle it?
Um, I think you should say, no, this guy’s a psycho. Don’t hire him. Right. Um, and, and you know, there was a law, there was a, a build that was a going to be floated around, um, by, uh, you know, a couple of Congress, my congressman who’s basically worthless. Uh, they said, well, we’re going to, we’re going to, it was called a safe harbor bill and they tried to get that law passed that would do exactly what you’re referring to, that, you know, employers have got to be able to talk to each other to prevent this kind of thing from happening because it’s not, you know, obviously it happened at Wdvj. It’s happened to you. I mean, nobody got killed, but, but this, this thing happens all the time and it’s got to stop. I mean, you know, at some point it’s like, you know, the arguing free speech on Google, you know, w with the, you know, my daughter’s execution on, on, uh, you know, it’s still up on, on Youtube. Somebody would, would argue, oh, well, you know, you can’t, you know, it’s free speech. Well, free speech has a limit and, and trying to, you know, to affect, you know, proper hiring and getting good, you know, best practices. If you can’t ask questions like this, um, you know, just, it’s, it’s trouble for everybody. Ultimately,
you mentioned the red flag law or the potential of a red flag law. I want to, I want the listeners out there who want to help you in this quest to help you gain some momentum to help prevent situations like what happened to your daughter from happening again. What is the red flag law you’re talking about or, or potentially, uh, tell us how the listeners can get involved. How can they, how can they support you?
Well, you know, the easiest thing that they can do is to, you know, and that’s one of the things that I talk about in the book. We have to elect guns since, you know, guns since, um, politicians, uh, and political leaders. And along with that, the corollary to that is that we have to elect people that are willing to back red flag laws. And what these are, you know, the, the, a red flag law is if someone demonstrates a danger to themselves or others, uh, is a, the judge can adjudicate and, you know, temporarily take their guns away or instruct law enforcement to take their guns away, remove their guns. Uh, you know, it’s, it’s particularly important in domestic abuse. Um, you know, right now in a lot of states, I mean, there are only a handful of states that thankfully they, they haven’t acted these laws, but in a half in most states, if you call and say, Hey, I’m worried about Uncle Bob, um, you know, he’s beating his wife and, and, you know, and he’s got guns. The law enforcement can’t do a thing. They can’t do a thing until, um, you know, until the worst happens. So in the wake of Parkland, even a Republican controlled legislature in, in Florida passed a red flag law here, uh, are there, um, as soon as the elections in November come about and no in, in November in Virginia, we’re going to be able to do the same thing. Uh, here I believe in and get rid of the Republican, um, majority because unfortunately that’s the, they’re the ones that are holding it up. Now
let’s say that I am a listening to the show and I’m just trying to make sure that because there’s, you know, obviously I’m the one interviewing you and there’s all of our listeners can’t interview you individually. I know they probably will want to. Um, let’s just say I’m listening to the show today and I’m a Republican because I like limited government or I’m a Democrat listening because, and I say, you know, I prefer for there to be a little bit more help for people in the country album in favor of anyway, the point is philosophically, let’s just say I’m listing I’m a democrat or a Republican, either way. Can you explain how for the proposed red flag law would take, um, the, the gun, I mean, can you explain to us like the justifications or the reasons where you would say under these laws, how could, um, how crazy do I have to be before someone can take my gun away or can even just claim that I’m crazy? How would that work? No, you know, it’s, it’s, again,
it goes before a judge, but I think in, in, you know, an Allison’s shooters case, when you’re escorted by police out the door, that’s a red flag. That’s a red flag that, that somebody needs to say to, to look at this guy and say, does he have guns? You know, is, is he a danger to others? And clearly the answer was, is yes, but again, that, that question, it’s, it’s not just, you know, you saying, hey, you know, or like a revenge porn kind of, you know, whatever it is. It’s like, Hey, I think this guy is a danger, so I’m going to call the cops and um, you know, and have them go take, take all his guns. It just, it doesn’t work that way. It’s got to go through the through and it can do be done expeditiously, but it’s gotta be getting done through the judicial system and they’re the ones that are the arbiters of it.
My final question I would have for you as it relates to this hiring of the wrong people, I think I’ve just, you’re such an expert in this. You’ve devoted your life to researching this and to helping prevent situations from like what happened to your daughter from happening again? Um, what if I’m listening today and I have someone who I want to hire them because they’re very talented. They’re one of the only coders in the world who can code like they can code. You know, the type here, Andy Parker, where they go, this is a real genius, but like a Hitler psycho genius. And I’m thinking about hiring the psycho because they’re the only one who can code like that. You know what I mean? There are very nefarious probably, but they’re really good. Can you talk to me about the dangers of the temptation of a hiring a skill over character?
that’s a tough one. But, uh, I would err always on the side of you hire on character and not necessarily skill because you know, if you’ve got, if you’ve got a problem there, if, if the characters, there’s character flaws, uh, it’s, it’s gonna come back to bite you in the ass.
If the listeners out there wanting to learn more about you to say whether they agree or disagree or they want to get involved or not get involved, where can they learn more? Where can listeners go from here to learn more about you and the cause that’s the causes that you’re fighting for?
Well, my website is Andy’s fite.com. That’s a n, d y, s F, I g h t.com. And it’s got a position statement on there, uh, for those that think I’m coming to take their guns away, no, I’m not coming to take their guns away unless they, unless they have a criminal background or can’t pass a background check at this point. Um, so they can learn about my positions, they can learn about, uh, what’s going on with Google and Mo. Most importantly, they can buy my book. Uh, it’s called for Alison, the murder of a young journalist and a father’s fight for gun safety. And you know, the book is, is really, it’s part memoir. It’s, it’s part called that it’s a part, a current affairs and it’s a part call to action. And I think that, uh, you know, just to sum it up, uh, I got a note and I’ve had several like this from, from readers and this, this woman said, reading your book, it took me a while to start as it looked like I was going to be watching Schindler’s list.
I must do as a human, but something I was not looking forward to doing. I want to say it is not like this at all. It is an insight to your thoughts on guns, the NRA, Trump, religion, all of which I can’t agree more, but it’s also a celebration of your beautiful and smart daughter. I cannot applaud you more for the guts it took you to write it. So she got the exact intent of what I was trying to do and what I still am trying to do to, to, uh, to encourage any and all, because you know, we can’t, this is a scourge on this country. And if you think it can’t happen to you or your family or your friends, well guess what? It can. And we can’t let the NRA and their politicians have us desensitized and just throw up our hands and go, oh, you know what? This is just a fact of life. No, it’s not. We shouldn’t be living in a country like this. You know, I don’t want to, I don’t think you want to. And I don’t think your listeners do either,
Andy Parker. I know it’s gotta be difficult to talk about this ever, let alone repeatedly and sharing what you’re, you know, putting yourself out there. But, but thank you for taking the time, uh, at your schedule for doing this and for, uh, uh, you know, fighting for your daughter and to help other people’s daughters and everybody out there be just a little bit safer. We appreciate you very much. Thank you so much clay. Alright, you take care. You too. And Andy, we’re off. I’m going to get this show all, uh, edited up there for you and this is one hair towards the end of June. And uh, I just appreciate your, your professionalism and your, uh, devotion to this cause.
Well, you know, listen, as I tell people, if I weren’t doing this, she would be pissed at me. So I do it. I do it for her and I, the book was as much her gift to me as it was mine to her. Well you take care of my friend. All right buddy. Thank you. Bye Bye.
To learn more, we encourage you to check out Andy’s fight.com. That’s Andy’s fight.com.