Attacks On High Schools Students Continue As Gun Debate Heats Up

Ken AshfordGun ControlLeave a Comment

The right seems to be out of talking points, so they attack the messenger. This time the “messenger” are the high school students of Parkland Florida, who have watched friends die in a horrific mass shooting.

Some of the attacks on social media are simply insane, but you have to take them seriously because they go viral instantly. The Miami Herald sets some out:

Conservative pundits, outlets and social media posters on Tuesday hit airwaves and social media hard. Some raised absurd conspiracy theories that kids who just endured a horrifying assault are actually “crisis actors” trained to stage “false flag” events. Others questioned the motivations and political backing of students who have been praised by mainstream media, Democratic politicians, gun control groups and television stars like HBO’s John Oliver.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that an aide to Florida Rep. Shawn Harrison, a Republican from Hillsborough County, 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’s false.

Harrison immediately distanced himself. “I was just made aware that my aide made an insensitive and inappropriate allegation about Parkland students today,’’ he tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “I have spoken to him and placed him on leave until we determine an appropriate course of action. I do not share his opinion and he did so without my knowledge.”

By early evening, Harrison’s aide Benjamin Kelly tweeted that he’d been fired.


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.

Jack Kingston, a former U.S. Representative from Georgia who is now a CNN contributor, doubted the students’ intentions, questioning their motivation on his Twitter account and opining that they’re being led by “left wing gun control activists.” On CNN’s New Day Tuesday morning, Kingston said the students’ “sorrow can very easily be hijacked by left-wing groups who have an agenda.”

Here’s a sample, mostly from the POS Dinesh D’Souza:

On and on it goes. Here, however, is Jack Kingston getting spanked by Van Jones for his comments:

And, undeterred, rallies are continuing.

Tonight, CNN is having a town hall. The NRA accepted CNN’s invitation to participate in the town hall and national spokeswoman Dana Loesch will represent the organization. Ugh.

But the rallies continue. As I write this, thousands of students in Broward County are staging a walkout:

But one Texas school district is telling its students in no uncertain terms that gun protests will not be tolerated. The Needville, Texas, schools superintendent is threatening students with suspension if they walk out or otherwise disrupt the school day in their efforts to prevent future school days from being disrupted by a mass shooting:

“Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative. We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved,” Rhodes wrote. “All will be suspended for 3 days and parent notes will not alleviate the discipline.” […]

“A school is a place to learn and grow educationally, emotionally and morally,” Rhodes wrote.

“A disruption of the school will not be tolerated.”

Texas. Go figure.

People are getting innovative about getting at the NRA:

There is an interesting side note to this… the annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). Once a mainstay for people like Ronald Reagan (the first president to speak there), it has been weakened by the schism between Trump supporters and Never-Trumpers. Last year, Steve Bannon spoke there, while wild-eyed nutbar Milo Yiannopoulos was dropped (for his Nazi affiliations). The gun issue appears to be breaking up the CPAC group again this year as The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft (“The Dumbest Man on the Internet”) is being DIS-invited to take part in a panel because of his attacks on the Stoneman Douglas high school students.


How groundless information about Parkland survivors spread to hundreds of thousands of people.

Feb. 14 (Unknown time) Alex Jones: The controversial conspiracy theorist and Infowars host says on his radio show that the “Democrats have been caught in false flags before,” referring to staged operations.
“I’m not saying this is a false flag, but they’ve been talking about massacres and things if people don’t leave them alone,” Jones added, according to a transcript published by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters.
Feb. 18 (9:36 pm) Jack Kingston: The former Republican congressman from Georgia tweets about the planned student walk-outs.
He tweets: “O really? ‘Students’ are planning a nationwide rally? Not left wing gun control activists using 17yr kids in the wake of a horrible tragedy? #Soros #Resistance #Antifa #DNC”
Feb. 19 (Unknown time) Gateway Pundit: The pro-Trump blog uploads a YouTube video titled “David Hogg Can’t Remember His Lines When Interviewed for Florida school shooting.”
In the since-deleted video, David Hogg appears to stumble over his words during an interview with a television news reporter. It was not clear if the footage was edited or altered.
Feb. 19 (Unknown time) Gateway Pundit: The site publishes an article headlined “School Shooting Survivor Turned Activist David Hogg’s Father in FBI, Appears To Have Been Coached On Anti-Trump Lines.”
The article is bylined Lucian Wintrich, the Washington correspondent for Gateway Pundit who has White House press credentials.
Feb. 19 (Unknown time) Gateway Pundit: The site publishes an article headlined “Student School Massacre Survivors and CBS Reporter Party Like Rock Stars.”
The article includes what the website claims is a screenshot of a photo, tweeted by a CBS News reporter, in which Parkland survivors smile for a camera.
Feb. 19 (Unknown time) True Pundit: A website that appears to traffic in conspiracy theories publishes an article about Hogg headlined “Outspoken Trump-Hating School Shooting Survivor is Son of FBI Agent; MSMS Helps Prop Up Incompetent Bureau.”
Feb. 19 (4:04 am) Laura Loomer: The conservative activist and former Project Veritas “operative” tweets about a planned gun control march.

Notice how media is only talking to the same group of students. They aren’t talking to the pro gun ROTC students who actually saved lives, unlike these students… 

Feb. 19 (8:17 pm) @Thomas1774Paine: The Twitter user shares the True Pundit article with his 163,000 followers.
Donald Trump., Jr. “likes” the tweet sometime thereafter.
Feb. 19 (8:42 pm) Bradley Blakeman: A former member of President George W. Bush’s senior staff responds to the Gateway Pundit article about Hogg.
He tweets: “This kid is a shill. He bragged about the number of interviews he is doing and is playing to the camera like he…”
Feb. 19 (8:47 pm) One America News: The pro-Trump cable network retweets one of its primetime anchors responding to the Gateway Pundit article about Hogg.
“Could it be that this student is running cover for his dad who Works as an FBI agent at the Miami field office Which botched tracking down the Man behind the Valentine day massacre? Just wondering. Just connecting some dots…” Donald Trump., Jr. “likes” the tweet sometime thereafter. It has since been deleted.
Feb. 20 (Unknown time) The conspiracy theory site publishes an article claiming that David Hogg was featured in a CBS Los Angeles report in August 2017 about a confrontation between a lifeguard and a surfer in Redondo Beach, California.
Hogg, who has said he was visiting Los Angeles at the time, apparently filmed the confrontation. “Interestingly,” writes, “Hogg has reconnected with CBS for an appearance on CBS This Morning as the mainstream media unabashedly features high school students as figureheads for a new anti-gun push.”
Feb. 20 (7:24 am) Jack Kingston: The former congressman appears on CNN and elaborates on his tweet.
He says: “[The survivors’] sorrow can very easily be hijacked by left-wing groups who have an agenda … Let’s ask ourselves: Do we really think – and I say this sincerely – do we really think 17-year-olds on their own are gonna plan a nationwide rally … I would say to you very plainly that organized groups that are out there, like George Soros, are always ready to take the charge and it’s kind of like instant rally, instant protest[.]”
Feb. 20 (10:12 am) Reddit users: A channel devoted to President Trump, r/The_Donald, lights up with attacks on Hogg and his classmates.
At least one user posts text from a June 2011 article about a stowaway who slipped onto a cross-country flight. The article attributes some information to an FBI agent named Kevin Hogg. It was not clear if Kevin Hogg is related to David Hogg. But the Reddit user in question says: “Kevin Hogg FBI agent involved in an epic failure, outlined in this story out of LAX.”
Note: Time are Eastern Standard Time

UPDATE:  A written statement from Mary deBree, Facebook’s head of content policy said the company will take down the hoax content. However, some of the content promoting the conspiracy theories about Hogg and his fellow students were still in the trending section as of Wednesday afternoon. Hogg’s name disappeared from the Trending section on Facebook late in the afternoon.

“Images that attack the victims of last week’s tragedy in Florida are abhorrent. We are removing this content from Facebook,” deBree said in a statement.

Youtube is doing something similar.