The Hartford Courant published an article titles A fake photo of Emma González went viral on the far right, where Parkland teens are villains.
Well, yes, they are.
There has been a certain quality to having teenagers act as figureheads for a movement that has not gone unnoticed in the wake of the March for Our Lives rally on Saturday.
Judge too harshly and you are attacking a kid who has balanced trauma with homework. And amplifying students such as Emma González has injected optimism among liberal activists in the grinding debate about the role of guns in society.
See, they are human shields. They can dish out outlandish shit but can’t take it because they are over worked kids.
González, 18, has been at the flash point of this dynamic, appearing in newspapers, on magazine covers and in a prominent spot at the anchor rally in Washington, D.C., where she went silent for the six long minutes it took a gunman at her high school in Parkland, Florida, to kill 17 people on Valentine’s Day.
Gun-control advocates have held up González as a figurehead of the movement, splashing her trademark shaved head on T-shirts and viral images.
Yes, she has been. Now tell me why it’s wrong to criticize her. She’s 18 now. She’s an adult. She can vote. She can join the military and go over seas. She can buy an AR-15 if she wants it. She’s not a kid anymore.
Then, there is another viewpoint of her activism.
A doctored animation of González tearing the U.S. Constitution in half circulated on social media during the rally, after it was lifted from a Teen Vogue story about teenage activists. In the real image, González is ripping apart a gun-range target.
Justy a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre (real picture on the right). pic.twitter.com/czX7IHD8ur
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) March 25, 2018
Well, when you say you don’t support the Second Amendment, don’t want groups like the NRA to donate money (protected speech), and want NRA TV blocked, it seems like you are pretty much anti everything that the Bill of Rights stands for.
The doctored image mushrooming across social media appeared to confirm the belief among Second Amendment absolutists that calls for stricter gun-control measures are sacrosanct, destroying the very foundation of the United States. The animation bounced around conservative Twitter before it received a signal boost Saturday from actor Adam Baldwin.
He tweeted to a quarter of a million followers with a hashtag reading “#Vorwärts!,” the German word for “forward” and an apparent reference to the Hitler Youth, whose march song included the word.
Her and Josef Goebbels Jr., it’s pretty fucking accurate. Demonizing people who didn’t do anything, saying they have blood on their hands (the blood libel) for deaths they did not cause, and wanting to take away their civil rights sounds pretty Nazi to us.
Gab, the Twitter-like social network that is a popular refuge for the alt-right, tweeted the animation on Saturday to more than 100,000 followers, then hours later asserted it was “satire.” It racked up more than 1,200 retweets. The still images, looking more sophisticated than the glitchy animation, went further, appearing to be taken as legitimate by some conservative-minded Twitter users.
The pushback seems to have gained more traction than the original images, although with that comes more eyeballs on those. Donald Moynihan, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, debunked the altered image, saying in a tweet: “Just a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre (real picture on the right),” referencing a user named “Linda NRA Supporter” who posted the photo and whose account has since been suspended. It garnered more than 65,000 retweets.
She was in another building far away from the shooting. She has used that to get on every stage and platform she can to call NRA members child killers. We’re not going to just roll over and play dead to that.
Generally, one form of criticism of González and fellow students such as David Hogg, 17, has been their ages. They are too naive and young to grasp the extent of how money, politics and policy intersect, the argument goes. It was cemented in the right’s criticism of Hogg’s insistence that clear backpacks would infringe on civil rights.
He’s an angry, ignorant teenager. I was one once too. The difference is I wasn’t on every media talking head show in the country with my bullshit.
Other elements of González have been used in an attempt to discredit her, online and off.
For instance, some in conservative circles have circulated images calling attention a Cuban flag sewn to her jacket.
“Emma Gonzales, wearing the flag of an authoritarian communist nation. Makes sense, they both hate an armed citizenry,” one meme shared on Reddit’s conservative page r/TheDonald. It was shared on social media through variations of the theme, including one by conservative commentator Andrew Wilkow. González’s father migrated from Cuba to the United States.
Pretty accurate. The people I know who hate Communism the most are the old Cubans who fled it. One of the greatest things I ever saw in my life was an old Cuban man in his guayabera and old man slacks, get up, hobble his way with a cane up to some punk in a Che shirt, and punch that snot nose kid in his stupid fucking face while yelling in Spanish.
Don’t wear a Che shirt around a man whose family was shot by Che’s goons. He’s not so old he won’t kick your ass.
The right also has buttressed a self-identified conservative Parkland student who it thinks identifies with its politics – a de facto foil to his classmates. Kyle Kashuv, 16, visited President Donald Trump and five Republican U.S. senators just three weeks after the killings to offer alternatives in the debate.
“The initial movement, in its purest form, was amazing. It got corrupted because now it’s represented as anti-gun and anti-NRA. ‘Boycott this, boycott that.’ It’s detracting from the actual discussions,” Kashuv told The Washington Post about the work of his classmates.
Since then, Kashuv has been an occasional guest on Fox News Channel, sometimes calling for middle ground with fellow classmates and among those who disagree in the debate. Kashuv has echoed critics on the right that a focus on law-enforcement failures, not gun laws, is the way forward.
Maybe actually working with politicians rather than bragging about hanging up on the White House and calling Senators child murderers is the right way to approach school safety.
Hogg’s comments at the rally were “egregious and inflammatory,” Kashuv said on Fox News on Saturday, and he has criticized Hogg numerous times on Twitter. On Sunday, Kashuv challenged classmate Cameron Kasky to a debate. His argument has been bolstered by the NRA, which has published videos decrying Hogg’s use of explicit language and suggesting his activist classmates would be unknown if they were still alive, and saved by a gun-carrying officer.
Hogg is “egregious and inflammatory” and maybe someone should ask the kids at Great Mills if they like their SRO or if they’d rather have had the Coward County Sheriff.
Conservatives, who have often asserted high school students have limited understanding and legitimacy in the gun debate, have taken a shining to the Parkland student.
“You will include Kyle Kashuv in your story, yes?” Baldwin asked The Post in a direct message on Twitter.
Maybe there is a level of maturity difference that makes conservatives like Kashuv?
The Currant went all pissy over the fact that the Parkland kids they like aren’t being acquiesced to by conservatives.
I watched that March For Our Lives and a lot of the other crap that Emma Gonzales has done.
Hogg has said he won’t return to school until new gun legislation is passed. Emma supposedly has gone back but is seen everywhere but school.
This is what they remind me of.
They are a bunch of kids who refuse to go back to school until they successfully strip civil rights away from people they do not like.
I, and the rest of right of center and liberty loving America, have every right to criticize that.
We’re not going to let you bash us over the head with crying children while telling us that we can’t defend ourselves from attack because they are children.