Across social media, the faces of children are plastered in the forms of pictures and videos. These children are the survivors of a horrifying shooting in Parkland, Flordia, and many of them have made it their mission to push for gun control in the wake of the attack that killed their friends.
The response from the Right has been… less than stellar. Many have taken to verbally attacking these students, calling them ignorant, uninformed, or just straight up mocking their youth.
Dinesh D’Souza is the worst offender by far, but he is not the only offender.
There is a certain level of irony in many of the folks who try to score points on these kids. Becket Adams of the Washington Examiner probably put it best last night on Twitter.
also, if you've ever participated in the right's weird child pundit fetish (see: jonathan krohn, cj pearson, tomi lahren) i'm not sure you have much room to dismiss anti-gun teens. just throwing that out there.
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) February 20, 2018
We tend to treat child activists/pundits as a cute novelty item to have on our side, and we go out of our way to tear down the ones we disagree with. However, it is important to note the difference between the Tomi Lahrens of the world and the Parkland students.
Tomi Lahren never faced the horror the Parkland students have just experienced.
The newfound activism in each of these students comes as no surprise. Students do like to get involved in things a lot more often than you’d think. And, unlike many of the pundits who would tear them down for DARING to have different opinions, they have experienced the horrors of a shooting firsthand.
This is where dialogue should start, with the understanding that kids have witnessed this and sincerely want to see change. It has happened in their backyard. It’s no longer an abstract thought. It is nearly impossible for most of us to understand what they went through and, in many cases, are still going through.
We have to try and meet them on their level, rather than simply try to tear them down because they’re young. They have a perspective to bring to the table. Listen to it. Then debate it properly.
We on the Right have many long-held understandings of our own when it comes to guns and gun control. There is no guarantee that taking away guns off the store shelves will lead to a decrease in gun violence. There is no clear definition of what an “assault weapon” or a “military-style weapon” actually is. There is no law that has been proposed that could actually stop these shootings from happening.
These statements do not preclude the Parkland students from engaging in the debate. If anything, this is where the debate should begin. Like in many other aspects of politics, we have lost the ability to properly discuss anything and instead we jump straight to a useless mix of platitudes and insults.
There are gun policies we can discuss to try and help minimize the occurrences of gun violence in America. But you don’t help anyone when you’re tearing down kids – survivors at that – solely to try and dunk on their arguments.
You just look like an ass.