Parkland victims unjustly face ridicule, blatant disrespect from public figures

Students chalked (pictured above) and organized a vigil at Tam High School in Mill Valley for the victims of the Parkland shooting in February. While students have been supportive of victims, adults and prominent figures in society have  not shown proper sympathy. (creative commons/Fabrice Florin)

The Parkland students have endured a horrific school shooting. These devastated students are now receiving cruel backlash from cynical right-wing commentators in the wake of this tragedy.

Eighteen-year-old David Hogg and 19-year-old Emma Gonzalez are at the forefront of this mockery. It is disturbing to see how big-name politicians use their voices to spread hatred about these innocent students who have already been through the worst.

For merely stating that he believes the United States should have stronger gun control laws, akin to every other developed country in the world, Hogg has been attacked by right-wing media.

Hogg has “been the subject of obscene conspiracy theories,” according to CNN. Among them include that he was not actually at the shooting and instead a paid “crisis actor,” as reported by CNN. This belief is incredibly insulting to a student who survived a serious trauma.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham did not hold back from bashing Hogg either. The television and radio host tweeted demeaning comments about Hogg’s college admissions, as reported by Fortune. One would assume a politician 20 years older would act professionally, but Ingraham had the audacity to do just the opposite.

“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA … totally predictable given acceptance rates.),” Ingraham wrote in a tweet, to which she attached an article mocking Hogg’s rejection to colleges.

Fortunately, the outcry in response to this tweet was significant. Companies have withdrawn their advertisements from Ingraham’s show after she immaturely tweeted about Hogg’s college rejections. It is reassuring that these advertisers have hearts and chose to pull out of Ingraham’s show.

Not coincidentally, after Ingraham lost these companies, she has since apologized. On Twitter, Ingraham wrote, “Any student should be proud of a 4.1 GPA—incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland.”

Hogg, however, was not satisfied with Ingraham’s apology. In an interview on CNN, he said that her apology was merely a response to losing advertisers and not a genuine admittance to something she did wrong.

“I think my biggest takeaway from this is no matter who somebody is, no matter how big or powerful they may seem, a bully is a bully and it’s important that you stand up to them,” Hogg stated, according to a video by CNN.

Hogg’s classmate, Gonzalez, has also been unjustly insulted as well. A video of her tearing apart a gun range paper target has been edited to portray her tearing up the Constitution. This edit has gone viral. She has also been ridiculed for wearing a jacket with a Cuban flag patch at the March for Our Lives rally, never mind the fact that she was proudly acknowledging her Cuban heritage. 

Furthermore, U.S. Congressman, Iowa Republican Steve King, taunted Gonzalez for not speaking Spanish, even though he has tried to make English the official language of the U.S., according to CNN. 

Clearly, right-wing commentators are immature enough to find anything to mock their opponents, no matter the trauma they experienced or their age. The fact that leaders and the media are making fun of high school students is deplorable. 

Our country will not be able to advance in the direction of peace, respect and unity if politicians and the media are abusing their power. Perhaps they can learn professionalism from the very teenagers they are ridiculing.