Why Does the GOP Hate Kids?
One of the many horrifying elements of the spree shootings that are a distressingly commonplace part of American life is the inevitable response from Conservatives and gun nuts, which is as predictable as it is infuriating. There is, of course, the odious and hypocritical litany of “thoughts and prayers” from Republican Senators bought and paid for by the NRA and gun lobby in lieu of substantive action to prevent massacres
Then there’s the odious insistence that advocating for measures that would prevent future massacres in the future in the aftermath of a school shooting crassly “politicizes” these tragedies when the gun nuts feel very strongly that the best way to honor the dead is to wait until people have forgotten about these mass killings, and then do nothing.
Then there’s the charming insistence that the proper response to horrific gun violence is not less guns, but more guns. In the case of the Parkland shooting, Trump has called for us to arm teachers so that when a dead-eyed, machine-gun toting killer shows up at school, your overworked, underpaid Biology teacher will instantly turn into Rambo and prevent a slaughter by pulling out a shotgun and pumping a few bullets in the school shooter’s cerebellum.
Never mind that when Nikolas Cruz embarked on a spree that resulted in 17 deaths there was an armed office on hand who stood outside the building and did nothing. Why? Because in times of extreme danger and peril, people freak the fuck out. They panic. They lose their cool. They literally shit themselves in terror. Some behave heroically and rise to the occasion but as the case of the terrified officer illustrates, even people who have trained extensively to handle situations like this sometimes panic and let fear keep them from doing their jobs.
The Parkland shooting, however, has introduced something new and horrifying to the Conservative response to gun massacres. When the survivors of the Parkland massacre united to stand strong and not just ask for, but demand the kind of gun control measures that should have been put in place ages ago, a horrifyingly sizable contingent of the right-wing press has decided that the appropriate way to cope with this tragedy has been to personally attack the character, motivations, maturity and intelligence of kids, fucking kids, who’ve survived something no one should ever have to experience.
Take human garbage monster and ex-con Dinesh D’Souza, who thought it was funny, insightful and appropriate to respond to a picture of overwhelmed, distraught survivors of the massacre heartbroken to see the Florida legislators vote down a ban on assault weapons with “Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs.”
Kids, amirite? They never take out the trash, they’re always on their iPhones and when they see their friends get shot in the face with and die in front of their eyes they’re silly and immature enough to want to do something to stop future massacres. How silly and immature can they possibly be?
Then there’s Armond White, film critic and professional troll, whose whole shtick seems to be a performative anti-wokeness, who tweeted, “Sick of the Parkland Puppets yet? Why their ubiquitous presence on TV news shows? Who's their publicist? Obviously not just being picked up off the street, no 16-year-old has quick access to network news producers. Clearly, some PR exec is handling these Alt-Left kids.”
Human decency would seem to dictate that no matter your political beliefs, when people have experienced the kind of unimaginable trauma that these Parkland students turned activists experienced then they should be treated with at least a modicum of respect and dignity. Even if you disagree with them politically, at least treat them with some semblance of sensitivity.
That does not seem to be the case anymore. Decency and civility are increasingly anachronistic qualities. I suspect that a lot of that has to do with Donald Trump, who responded to the Pulse shootings by Tweeting, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”
A key element, perhaps the key element of Trumpism is to attack. He doesn’t insist on attacking when the time is right. He doesn’t insist on attacking when the situation calls for it. No, in Trump’s paranoid, rage-filled worldview, you attack and attack and attack and never stop attacking, even if the people you’re attacking are 15 year old kids whose friends and colleagues have just been brutally murdered.
The awful Conservative response to the Parkland Shooting illustrates the right’s weird contempt for kids and teenagers. On one hand, Alt-Right types seem to see Black Lives Matter activists and Antifa members as maniacal, blood-crazed communists who will stop at nothing in their crazed hatred of Christians, Caucasian and other God-fearing Americans. On the other, they seem to think that the only reason people would protest Trump or agitate for gun control laws is because they’re being paid handsomely by George Soros (how much fucking money do they think the man has?) and/or coached by professional left-wing agitators (no doubt also employed by Soros).
These are people whose lives have been changed irrevocably by horrific violence. Yet gun nuts are seemingly incapable of even considering the notion that their passion might be legitimate and the product of profound personal trauma, not the product of some puppet-master behind the scenes brainwashing them into thinking that there might be a connection between the widespread availability of fiendishly effective murder weapons and murder.
If anything, these kids should be respected as experts. For them, gun control and gun violence isn’t some abstract issue; they’ve shaped their lives and worldview in profound and immediate ways. Yet when they speak up in the name of their slaughtered compatriots they’re laughed at by the Armond Whites and Dinesh D’Souzas of the world.
They're just kids who’ve been profoundly affected by gun violence. What could they possibly know? They obviously don’t understand the complexities of the issue with the same nuance, experience and sophistication of NRA members who daydream about playing Dirty Harry should the occasion ever arise.
Yes, Alt-Right types have no problem dismissing the outrage of Parkland survivors as the naive foolishness of children while worshipping a President who is easily the most child-like and immature President ever, and that includes Ronald Reagan, who made a movie with a chimpanzee who very well could have been more mature and sophisticated than his human co-star.
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