The far right doesn’t want you to “politicize” recurring national tragedies like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. They just prefer that you make up a bunch of wild-ass garbage about those tragedies.
Survivors of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., one of the deadliest in modern American history, have said that they are fed up with no longer feeling safe in school and have loudly called on President Donald Trump and lawmakers to get serious about gun control. While mourning their dead classmates, Stoneman Douglas students have rallied and raised money, and are currently in the state’s capital, Tallahassee, Fla., to push for gun reform.
Their activism has inspired the dregs of the right to cook up the most half-baked, unseasoned conspiracy theories they could muster to explain why students who survived a school shooting could possibly want something as batshit crazy as gun control.
The only logical answer, according to these professional paste eaters, is that these students are really professional actors.
That’s what one message from an aide to Florida state Rep. Shawn Harrison alleged, according to the Miami Herald. The paper reports that the Republican’s aide “used state email to send a photo of two students with this message to a reporter: ‘Both kids in the picture are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.’”
That was untrue, and Harrison blamed the aide for the “insensitive and inappropriate allegation.” That aide is now on leave.
That was far from the worst of it. More from the Herald:
A blogger at Gateway Pundit, a far-right, pro-Trump website, wrote a piece calling one of the leading student voices “a plant.” It included a picture of student David Hogg with a circle around his head and this statement: “Son of FBI agent.” Hogg was among the first Stoneman Douglas students to appear on networks and cable news demanding tougher laws from state and federal lawmakers.
Former U.S. Congressman Allen West, a Republican who served a single term in South Florida as a Tea Party star, also joined in. In one Twitter post, he lumped shooter Nikolas Cruz with five Americans of Middle Eastern descent who claimed connections to terrorist groups. There is no indication that 19-year-old Cruz, who state records show has lived much of his life in Broward County, was a follower of any Muslim terror group.
The allegations around student David Hogg are especially wild, with Twitter users alternately claiming that he had graduated years ago, that he is a filmmaker and reporter, and that an earpiece he used during a live television interview (when, um, earpieces are necessary to hear the in-studio reporter) was actually being used so he could be fed answers.
Busy guy, that Hogg.
As the Herald reports, there were also those conspiracy theorists (like the ones who claim the Holocaust and the mass school shooting at Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook Elementary never happened) who denied the Parkland shooting ever happened.
Not surprisingly, some of these theories appear to have been pushed by pro-Russian bots on social media.
Perhaps no one captured the deplorable spirit of the whole affair better than convicted felon and global brand ambassador of the sunken place, Dinesh D’Souza, who spent much of Tuesday mocking the Parkland students via his Twitter account.
“Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs,” D’Souza wrote Tuesday, commenting on a photo of the students appearing shocked and dismayed as Florida lawmakers voted down a bill to ban assault weapons.
One of the survivors, a 16-year-old girl from Parkland, responded to the grown-ass man bullying her and her classmates on Twitter:
“Actually for me the worst news I got was that 17 people died in my school,” Sarah Chadwick wrote, adding that one of her best friends was shot twice and many more students were injured. “But sure, keep making us look like we don’t know anything when in reality what we’re doing is much much much bigger than you can imagine.”
In the far right’s desire to write off and disqualify the students who have taken it upon themselves to keep gun control at the forefront of the country’s political conversation, this much is clear: Ultraconservative gun lovers are shook. And they have reason to be: Trump recently said he’d be open to some gun control measures, such as bumping up the age limit for owning certain firearms to 21, as well as banning “bump stocks” (a modification that simulates automatic fire—that wasn’t used in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting).
Trump is supposed to meet Wednesday with survivors of the Parkland shooting, as well as survivors of the school shootings in Newtown and Columbine, Colo., as he attempts to shift focus to school safety and away from the burning shitstorm of scandals that have engulfed the White House recently.