In a scathing tweet, conservative actor Adam Baldwin — a member of the famous Baldwin family — excoriated Bill Murray for comparing students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida to protesters who ended the Vietnam War.
In an editorial for NBC News, titled “The Parkland kids remind me of the students who helped end the Vietnam War,” the veteran actor argued that “Vietnam is one of the most wonderful places to go in the world” mostly because “(i)f you can just stop shooting at them, they really do pretty well.”
“We are living in interesting times, and people are becoming politically activated who weren’t previously,” Murray began his op-ed.
“I was thinking, looking at the kids in Parkland, Florida who have started these anti-gun protests, that it really was the students that began the end of the Vietnam War. It was the students who made all the news, and that noise started, and then the movement wouldn’t stop. I think, maybe, this noise that those students in Florida are making — here, today — will do something of the same nature.
“You’ve got to surround a deeply political issue like gun control or a war, to come at it from every single direction. You can’t just focus on one thing, or aim for just the one goal,” he continued.
“Ending the Vietnam war (sic) was not a simple thing, either: You had to make sure that all our people were safe; we had to make sure that they were as safe as you could be. And, you might remember, people thought it was going to be the end of the world if we lost Vietnam. But that war had to stop.”
Bill Murray’s history of the Vietnam War may be a little shaky, however — as Adam Baldwin pointed out.
However we feel about the Vietnam War, let’s not kid ourselves — how leftist protesters treated our veterans left lasting scars on both them and the American military psyche. There was a stigma attached to those who fought and risked life and limb for their country, often returning with lifelong scars that were both physical and emotional.
Look, I’m a huge Bill Murray fan. I can count on one hand the number of Murray movies I truly dislike, and one of them involved an elephant as his co-star.
I also think he’s an interesting man with interesting opinions. He has a right to air them. Every American does.
That said, I do not believe he is an expert on gun policy. I don’t think he’s an expert on the Vietnam War. I don’t think he’s an expert on its effects on those who fought it. I don’t think he’s an expert on the leftist student movements of the 1960s and 1970s that he claims “ended” the Vietnam War. I don’t think that, at any point, he draws a coherent parallel between the two, other than that the media has covered both incessantly.
Likewise, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have suffered a grisly and abhorrent event no one ought to have to experience. I have the greatest sympathy for them. I do not think, again, this makes them experts in gun policy. I don’t think it makes them experts in school security policy. I don’t think they should be cynically trotted out as gun control experts by a media that is equally confounded by anything that involves a firearm.
Baldwin’s tweet emphasizes how Murray’s piece is a synecdoche for how we selectively edit the past and the present to fit a narrative. To Murray, there were never any protesters spitting on returning vets, there were never any Weather Underground bombings or Bernadine Dohrns and Bill Ayers.
Meanwhile, the peaceful people of Vietnam did swimmingly after Ho Chi Minh’s peeps took over the entire country. Or not: until a series of market-oriented reforms referred to as Doi Moi instituted by the communist government in 1986, the country was pretty much a starving, oppressed mess, where those who supported the South Vietnamese government received a brutal fate. Apparently, when we stopped shooting at them, it didn’t go so well — at least until they more or less embraced capitalism.
It took some time for the revisionist view of the Vietnam War protesters as unmitigated ameliorators to take effect. Things happen quicker now; the hagiographical nature of the anti-gun Parkland survivors has taken no less than a month. How quickly, I fear, we will forget that we had a Second Amendment, that whatever gun control legislation is introduced to ban “assault weapons” will have no impact on school shootings, that these teenagers were used so opportunistically by a media that only had their narrative in mind, that nothing these kids have done will make us safer.
Yet, I guarantee they will be mythologized sometime in the future, probably in a haphazard and ridiculous of a manner as Bill Murray did. Behold, our media future. God help us all.
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