On My Soap Box: Have Some Respect For The Parkland Kids

I’m back on my soapbox, and I’m angry. And I’m sorry (not sorry), but the focus of my anger has barely shifted from the gun violence I ranted about last time.

Over the weekend, we saw the young people of America – indeed, the world – come together in a spectacular way to protest gun violence in schools. Several kids gave speeches asking for sensible gun laws so that their schools can be safe.

Some of the things I have seen in social media and on the news in the days since then have, quite frankly, sickened me.

Right-wing conservatives have been flinging around a Photoshopped image of Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez ripping up the constitution. In reality, she was ripping up a target poster, but the image was doctored to fit the narrative of the gun lobby.

Twitter users have been posting an image of a young woman – who they claim to be Emma Gonzalez – vandalizing a truck belonging to a Second Amendment supporter. It takes less than half a minute on Google to learn that this image is actually a decade-old picture of Britney Spears on a rampage. And yet the President of the United States himself has shared this lie on Twitter.

David Hogg, another survivor of the Parkland shooting, has been the target of countless hoaxes and fake stories. Depending on which lie you read, he is a crisis actor (he isn’t), he was not at school at the time of the shooting (he was), and he doesn’t even attend that particular school (he does).

And here’s my personal favourite: former GOP senator Rick Santorum stated that kids should not be calling for changes to the gun laws. They should be learning CPR “instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem.”

Listen. These are kids who have survived a terrifying ordeal in which their friends died. Children, folks. They are children. To put the solution of such a horrendous problem on their shoulders is despicable. They should be looking to someone else – the grownups of the world – to solve the problem. Why? BECAUSE IT’S OUR JOB TO PROTECT THE KIDS IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

What these young people are asking for isn’t even unreasonable. It’s not like they’re asking for a trip to moon. Here’s the sum total of what they want, in just one sentence: they want to be able to go to school without having their brains blown out.

The protection of their lives is such a basic request, and yet people are responding by mocking them, spreading lies about them, implying that they are to blame, and even threatening violence against them.

And. That. Is. Sick.

It is sick.

And if you are okay with that, then I really do not want to know you. And I say that without any apology whatsoever.

By Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit: CoraDove. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

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Copyright Kirsten Doyle