Talk about backfiring.
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Douglas County, Colorado, which left one student dead and eight injured, gun control activists tried their now-familiar trick of using tragedy for political gain.
But this time the students themselves were going to teach the adults a lesson.
Complaining that a Wednesday night vigil for the heroic Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old who died in the shooting, had been turned into political theater, students marched out en masse to protest the message of gun control that was coming from the speakers, according to KUSA.
“This was not a vigil. This was purely a political stunt. This is not what we wanted for Kendrick,” one student told the crowd, according to KUSA.
Another explicitly flipped the script on the gun control crowd.
“What has happened at STEM is awful, but it’s not a statistic,” the student said. “We can’t be used [as] a reason for gun control, we are people, not a statement.”
Check out the KUSA report here.
To be fair, according to KUSA, the event was originally organized by a group called Team ENOUGH, a youth wing of the anti-gun Brady Campaign.
That and the fact that speakers included Democratic politicians like Rep. Jason Crow and Sen. Michael Bennett — both ardent supporters of gun control — should also have been a hint that there was a political agenda.
And the presence of the annoyingly named anti-gun group Moms Demand Action was a guarantee that this “vigil” was going to have a political slant.
But for the students who turned out to share their experience, politics — especially preachy, liberal anti-gun politics — was the last thing they wanted to hear.
It’s a refreshing change from the way students from previous school shootings were turned into props by liberal Democrats and the equally liberal media — which had no qualms about using the personal experience and traumas of minors to push a blatantly political agenda.
Of course, some of those students allowed themselves to be used. And in more egregious cases, some — the name David Hogg leaps to mind — actually courted the cameras.
But there’s a reason minors aren’t generally held legally responsible for their actions in the same way adults are.
In the case of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting last year, the media and Democratic politicians fell all over themselves to turn the stories of the student survivors into political gain.
But when they tried the same thing in Colorado this week, the students weren’t falling for it at all.
Besides storming out of the official vigil, then returning when they could be heard, the students held their own event.
STEM students leave vigil, hold their own outside Highlands Ranch HS. pic.twitter.com/aJUkXcttk2
— Michael de Yoanna (@mdy1) May 9, 2019
And social media users applauded:
I am 68 years old but even I get it that young people want THEIR voices heard. THEIR grief articulated in THEIR voices not the voices and thoughts of adults and especially not the politicians who are using their tragedy for their next career moment.
— Teotakuu (@teotakuu) May 9, 2019
I was there. It was a TOTAL ANTI-GUN political rally run by adults. And a free political speech for Jason Crow and Michael Bennett. STEM students walked out in protest & then they came back in and took the microphone from the activists. They were righteous and they were awesome!
— Habakkuk Girl (@UprightReformer) May 9, 2019
As a Columbine survivor, I know how they feel.These kids are not political footballs but are being treated that way. It happens too often. Some problems don’t have a political answer. this is one of them. God bless them. Time will heal their wounds as a community. Not politicians
— Ben Oakley (@btoakley11) May 9, 2019
Good for them!
— linda jauregui (@lindaj7) May 9, 2019
And this one speaks volumes:
America might not be doomed after all.
— The Decline and the Fall (@Atlas_1957_01) May 9, 2019
Wednesday’s walkout was an almost perfect response after last year’s national wallowing in fear that was engendered by the Parkland shooting – where a liberal media complex took over a story and used some photogenic, articulate teenagers to sell its agenda.
But it obviously wasn’t just adults who were watching. Teenagers and young people all over the country saw it too and – as the young do – learned a lesson maybe the adults weren’t trying to teach.
The Colorado kids, anyway, learned that the media and Democrats would jump at the chance to use a tragedy for political purposes, and they weren’t putting up with it for a second.
The unexpected twist apparently brought a moment of shame to a gun-control movement not generally known for even being able to feel it.
The Brady Campaign actually released a statement Wednesday night apologizing for the political turn the evening took.
“We are deeply sorry any part of this vigil did not provide the support, caring and sense of community we sought to foster and facilitate and which we know is so crucial to communities who suffer the trauma of gun violence,” the statement said.
There’s no way of knowing whether the group is truly sorry for the intrusive politics, or just sorry that its standard trick didn’t work out so well on an audience that has maybe seen it play out one too many times.
But one thing is for sure: One of the anti-gun left’s time-tested tactics just backfired — and backfired badly.
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