The March For Our Lives march/movement has gotten a very special response from pro-gun RW voices--personal attacks against the leaders of the movement, who also happen to be kids who have endured a traumatic event in the form of the school shooting, and are not just working through the grieving process of having lost people, but doing so with courage, thoughtfulness and purpose in a very public way.
Some of these wretched excuses for public comment, such as these comments put out by an NRA spokesperson:
"To all the kids from Parkland getting ready to use your First Amendment to attack everyone else's Second Amendment at your march on Saturday, I wish a hero like Blaine Gaskill had been at Marjory Douglas High School last month, because your classmates would still be alive and no one would know your names, because the media would have completely and utterly ignored your story, the way they ignored his," Noir said.treat these young people as if they are opportunists who were just looking for the right occasion--like the murder of their friends--to become "famous". (The individual, Blaine Gaskill, did not actually stop the shooter at Great Mills High School, it turns out--and the presence of resource officers don't always act as a deterrent to the murder-minded, because individuals who intend to kill people don't necessarily seek out "gun-free zones"--they seek out the people they mean to kill, and often have no expectation of their own survival.) It's fine to wish someone had stopped Nikolas Cruz before he murdered 17 people, but it's something else to suggest this tragic event simply gave these young activists a "story" or that the media gave them a platform that they have no right to. What happened was tragic, it was their experience, and it is their right to tell their own story, and not have it taken away from them because it doesn't agree with someone else's political views.
Others, like my former Senator, Rick Santorum, want to suggest that their time could be better spent doing something (or rather, doing something else, because they certainly are doing something, or you wouldn't hear such raging and gnashing of teeth). He suggested "taking CPR classes" because he is a fuckwit:
“How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that?” the former Republican senator suggested on State of the Union.
Notwithstanding that Santorum seems to have being a qualified pool lifeguard confused with anything like the life-saving interventions that might be required to save someone whose flesh, bones and organs might be pulverized by bullets, consider the stupidity of saying the high school kids are "looking to someone else to solve their problem". Well, yeah. They are high school kids. But how is school shootings just "their problem"? But also, appealing to elected officials to pass laws to remedy problems is something a former legislator should comprehend as being a part of democracy. He doesn't seem to get it, which really explains why he no longer holds an office.
But then, there are the just plain sick attacks, the smears and lies. There is really very little we can expect from Infowars, home of the Sandy Hook Truthers, and Brietbart is not much better. Likening activists who are just interested in promoting a debate about stopping school shootings to neo-Nazis (when actual neo-Nazi sympathizers like Anders Brievik and Dylann Roof have actually been mass shooters) is hyperbolic, confusing a raised fist for a Nazi salute is just plain moronic. And running a smear that pretended that David Hogg was not present at the school during the attack and then claiming that one was "confused" is kind of pathetic. The Photoshop of Emma Gonzalez that is making the rounds should make people feel ashamed, but the sort of people who would share that are not the sort of people who feel ashamed about such things.
And yet, for sheer inappropriate, personal, bigoted, and wrong, I present Rep. Steve King of Iowa (for now), who went after Gonzalez for wearing a patch that honors her Cuban heritage. I thought so much (or little) or his meme that I made one of my own (above).
These young people have shown they have real wit and humor, but this kind of attention, and these kinds of attacks, are intended to wear them down. Finding purpose in loss and tragedy is healthy, but I hope they give themselves the self-care of shutting out these negative voices, and I also hope people don't treat them like mascots or pour more on their shoulders than they've already got. They are human, and human beings are never perfect, and life is fragile. I wish them the best.