David Hogg, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., speaks during the “March for Our Lives” rally in support of gun control in Washington, Saturday, March 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
You see what it says in that caption above? “Survivor.” That’s what the Parkland student activists are. Survivors.
It occurred to me yesterday that there is both a triumph and tragedy in the fact that when a person says, “The Parkland Kids,” we all know who it means.
It is something triumphant that “the Parkland kids” or “the Parkland students” is not a collective reference to victims of a tragedy. It’s not a catch-all that identifies the students, both alive and dead, by the worst or last day of their lives. It is instead a term we all immediately associate with teenagers who are not only a living community with lost members, but one that is very much alive in the business of American affairs and culture.
That is, in one sense, an overcoming of something horrible.
However, that is not all that it is. Because when someone says “the Parkland kids” or “the Parkland students” it also carries the second connotation. Of a very small, non-inclusive, highly combative group of teenagers who are, in practice, radically left-wing.
Radically left-wing in their associations and in their rhetoric. A group that does not speak for all the students and families, but who are allowed and appointed by the media at large to represent them. They are indignant, yes, which is not always bad, but also ignorant. As in, lacking the full knowledge of the subject on which they are singularly engaged.
That subject, of course, is guns. What else would it or could it be, following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland?
Since, as I said, we’re all fairly up to speed on the subject of who we mean by “the Parkland kids” and what they are up to, I don’t need to go into too much background. The stories are familiar, and there have been a lot of them.
A lot. A lot here at RedState. But that’s over now. At least, for now.
Starting today, after this post, we’re putting a stop on all stories about David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, and the others. I’m halting them.
There are so many reasons why. The main reason is that this entire media scrum is entirely out of hand and I don’t want to be a part of it. It’s ugly. And I don’t just mean criticisms of the students, I mean those purporting to admire or praise them. And I mean the kids themselves. It’s all an ugly mess.
We have seen on Twitter survivors like Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, and Kyle Kashuv battling each other for public consumption. We saw Laura Ingraham mocking Hogg’s SAT scores, and the subsequent backlash and boycott, and then the apology and the refusal to accept that apology. We had a story retracted here at RedState accusing Hogg of not even being on campus, even though he was. We have seen Marco Rubio utterly dragged through the mud and lied about. We have heard Dana Loesch be accused basically of murder. People claiming the shooting never happened or that the kids are “crisis actors.” And all the while the cowed and complicit media asking none of the right questions and acting as mere tools of the activist left who have co-opted the families and children of Parkland who suffered in order to raise money for their organizations and work toward their gun confiscation agendas.
But what really got to me was a Tweet from Parkland student Patrick Petty, who lost his little sister that terrible day.
How sad and terrible is this tweet. How tragic and depressing.
The left, and especially the left in the form of CNN anchors and left-leaning publications, pay a great deal of lip service to the idea of “coming together” and to tragedy being the catalyst for “conversation” and “compromise.” In practice, however, we see the very opposite. And here in the form of two teenagers affected by the same nightmare, that contradiction is glaring.
The preaching of love, the practice of something very different.
I don’t fault anyone writing about the Parkland students as news. It’s compelling, there is a lot of material. There is also plenty to criticize. So critics have justifiably countered the claims and accusations the student activists have made.
But this is more than just that. The system at work on the left here is devious. The group of students led by David Hogg and Cameron Kasky is unleashed as a weapon by angry leftists. The teens are deployed to say every single thing that these adult “handlers” either can’t get away with saying, or can’t get any attention for saying. And because the kids are who they are, the consequences for disputing what they say are swift and severe.
If you’ve never been the subject of a Twitter mob, it may be hard to appreciate how crushing it can be. Thousands or hundreds of thousands of venomous and hateful tweets directed at you personally. An onslaught. I’ve seen this directed at the NRA’s Dana Loesch many times, and I always marvel at how well she handles it.
The impact of that should not be dismissed by the outdated notion that “it’s just Twitter.” It’s demoralizing and painful and scary. Many celebrities have spoken about this. And that kind of mob waits for anyone who crosses the Parkland activists and especially Hogg.
In this March 20, 2018, file photo, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky, center, reaches out to clasp hands with Jaclyn Corin, below left, while David Hogg, top left, and Alex Wind, right, applaud at the conclusion of a panel discussion about guns at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
That’s not the whole story here, though. This complaint about the way the left uses the status of the teens to their own end is not my only complaint. The mob justice for dissent is not the only mob justice.
Last week, I saw an article that never went to publication, which referred to the Parkland students as being “pimped.” If you search Twitter, you see a vast ocean of bile toward the students.
You know that onslaught? That Twitter mob? David Hogg endures the same thing. Dana is an adult, she has life experience. She’s been toughened up as all of us grown, adult people have. Hogg is a teenager, new to the spotlight, prone to error. Imagine how much worse it is for him. How much more painful to see his name in articles bashing him, in Tweets trashing him.
If the system at work from the left is devious, the backlash against it can be utterly despicable.
I cannot stress enough how much some people, some adults, are losing their perspective. These are kids. They really are. No matter how mad they make you, they are kids. Of course what they say is annoying and ill-informed and over-the-top. Yet some people, not all but some, are overflowing with bile and venom about it.
There are memes about them, especially Kasky and Hogg, featuring, I kid you not, Nazism. A lot of them. I’ve had people reply to me personally on Twitter referring to them not only as “crisis actors,” but literally calling them Hitlers.
Imagine being the subject of so much hate and so much adoration simultaneously at age 17.
I would have been a disaster. I was intemperate in my youth. In fact, that immoderate mouth lasted well into my thirties. My judgment needed refinement, I required experience. For my indiscreet ignorance, I took a virtual beating, though not at the level that the Twitter mobs unleash them these days.
When you or I were young, and we made mistakes, we paid for them in a very real way, too, though. You could be turned down for a job, or even a college, based on your behavior at 17. You could lose scholarships or be kicked out of school. You could be punished by the law, by the military, by your college, or by your employer.
You were not rewarded, lauded, and put on TV for it. And that is a big difference. It’s not healthy. It’s bad for David Hogg that his worst impulses are not only indulged and coddled, but praised and repeated and set down as edicts. This harms him as a person.
Moreover, it harms all of the Parkland activists. It’s bad for teenagers everywhere to see and hear this. It’s a wrong lesson that a person should lash out and never be challenged for it.
And all the while, as all of that harm is being done by the left, the hate grows too. Seventeen, and the lesson is that saying terrible things results in success and power. It is a point of view reinforced by all the spite and hate directed at him. This is normal, you see. That’s the lesson.
We as a society are teaching children right now that hating and being hated is normal and acceptable. The way of things. Is that really what we want?
Wasn’t it hate that pulled the trigger?
A student mourns the loss of her friend during a community vigil at Pine Trails Park, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Parkland, Fla., for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Well, I am tired of it. I’m exhausted by it. And I’m tired of being a part of it. So we’re not going to be.
Starting now, we’re done writing about the group referred to as “The Parkland Kids.” That means the front page, and we’ll be heavy with moderating the comments and diaries too. There will be no name-calling of the activists or posting of ridiculous videos about them being Nazis. Again, yes, that is a real thing that is happening online (thankfully not here at RedState).
This is not a perfect editorial stance. RedState’s front page is comprised of independent writers, not employees. For the most part, they are not constrained by editorial strictures with regard to their point of view or story selection. And some stories have unavoidably involved Parkland students. It would have been irresponsible, for example, not to cover the March for Our Lives. There may be bumps in this road.
And I know, as a realistic person, that this cannot be a permanent content ban. Eventually, the people who make news on gun control must be the subject of news articles at a conservative blog. It’s only a temporary ban.
But I think an important one. I want to take this step, even with the uncertainties. I think someone has to finally say “enough.”
Enough of this mess. Enough of this ugly and increasingly hostile situation. Neither the left supporting the Parkland activists nor the right criticizing them, are helping these kids. And none of this is about the shooting anymore or making things better for the kids and families in Parkland, Fla., who have suffered something terrible.
I’m going to end this with a blockquote. I won’t set it up, other than to say it’s something everyone should think about.
The constant media focus on the prominent activists and the school, the teacher said, has made the healing process all the harder. “Every single day since we’ve come back to school, I have kids out in the hall crying because of the emotional toll that it’s taken, and we haven’t started to heal yet, because we’re in the news every single day, and every single day there are helicopters circling overhead,” the faculty member said.
From The Daily Wire.
That is a plea, and it’s from people who are hurting, who have been inhumanly injured. I hope someone will listen.