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Parkland Students Face Criticism, Clap Back at Critics

Student+Activists+Jaclyn+Corin%2C+Alex+Wind%2C+Emma+Gonzalez%2C+Cameron+Kasky+and+David+Hogg+are+featured+on+TIME%E2%80%99s+front+cover+of+the+April+issue.
Student Activists Jaclyn Corin, Alex Wind, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and David Hogg are featured on TIME’s front cover of the April issue.

Student Activists Jaclyn Corin, Alex Wind, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and David Hogg are featured on TIME’s front cover of the April issue.

Photo Credit: TIME

Photo Credit: TIME

Student Activists Jaclyn Corin, Alex Wind, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and David Hogg are featured on TIME’s front cover of the April issue.

Sofi Serio, Managing Editor

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By now, the names Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, and David Hogg have grown to be household names. Familiar sounding and unforgettable, these are the faces behind the latest movement for gun violence reform.

Using the power of social media as well as the tools taught to them by exceptional Government, Speech and History teachers, these teens organized a March for Our Lives that drew more than 800,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial.

They’ve called out the NRA and politicians on Twitter and in a televised town hall meeting in Florida. They’ve called out companies like United, Walmart and Best Western for offering discounts to NRA members. Those companies, as well as more than 15 others, have since severed ties with the NRA.

It is clear, then, that these Parkland students are almost unstoppable. Almost, because although they are only children, they are still subjugated to the same scrutiny and criticism politicians, celebrities and public figures face on a daily basis.

The attacks on student activists began just hours after the shooting at their high school took 17 lives on February 14th. One of the students seen most frequently on the news in the hours after the shooting was David Hogg, and almost immediately, it was concluded that he must be a crisis actor. His calm, put-together persona and eloquently-worded answers clearly meant that he had been trained for this moment. It was disregarded that Hogg was a member of the debate team and a teen reporter for the Sun Sentinel, a daily newspaper for Broward County residents.

In addition to David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, one of the most outspoken survivors of the shooting and a member of the NeverAgain Movement (which Hogg is also a part of), was also the subject of public inquiry as an image surfaced showing her tearing up the constitution. This photo was, in fact, photoshopped, and the real photo is of her ripping up a target. Because of Emma’s unique personality, shaved head and Puerto Rican roots, people also couldn’t resist commenting on how she wasn’t a citizen of the US.

Both Hogg and Gonzalez also received criticism from Leslie Gibson, a Republican candidate running for a state seat in Maine.

Gibson referred to Emma Gonzalez as a “skinhead lesbian” and David Hogg a “moron” and “bad-faced liar.”

The derogatory comments didn’t stop there.

A police officer from Miami, Florida, made a controversial post on social media and followed it with provocative comments regarding the Stoneman Douglas High students featured on the cover of Time’s April issue.

His post read, “ALL PAID ACTORS/ACTRESSES #2NDAMENDMENT #SHALLNOTBEINFRINGED #ARMOURTEACHERS.”

Although the post itself can be seen as questionable, he continued his thoughts into the comments below his post.

What proof do you have? What evidence do you have, that anyone was killed other than #MSM accounts, alleged witnesses and a couple of funeral processions?”

Taking an actual concrete event that happened, with lives that were mercilessly taken away from that event, and turning it into a conspiracy theory is not how we should treat mass shootings, or any act of violence in this country.

When a hurricane hits, or a plane crashes, we don’t question it. So why is it so difficult for people to take school shootings seriously?

When people are scared or fearful of what might happen if a discussion is brought up that challenges their way of thinking, they seek to shut that discussion down by using whatever means necessary to quiet people.

The fact of the matter is that people are afraid of gun control. They see the words “gun control” and immediately think of an FBI agent knocking on their door, coming to take their guns away. That is simply not what the reality of gun control is. Gun control is creating longer background checks that better identify people with mental health issues or criminal offenses. Gun control is banning bump stocks, accessories that make semi-automatic guns automatic. Gun control is raising the minimum age of buying a gun from 18 to 21.

It is harder in this country to buy multiple bottles of cold medicine than it is to buy multiple guns. Think about that.

We’re not asking for everyday citizens to give up their guns. We’re just asking for a world where going to school, the movies, church and any other public place doesn’t make us easy targets for the next mass shooting.

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Parkland Students Face Criticism, Clap Back at Critics