Florida shooting survivors slam conspiracy theorists who think they are actors
After surviving the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have as emerged passionate advocates for gun control. In powerful speeches, they've described their harrowing experience, criticized politicians for being puppets of NRA lobbyists, and condemned Congress for failing to take action after so many mass shootings. They're even organizing a demonstration, the March For Our Lives, to demand a "comprehensive and effective bill" to address the gun violence epidemic.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of conspiracy theorists who believe U.S. mass shootings are "staged," and now they've aimed their toxic, fact-free vitriol at the Parkland students. Some believe the survivors are "paid crisis actors" who never experienced the massacre in which 17 students and teachers died. Others believe the kids are pawns, being told what to say by "the left" and the mainstream media, as part of a diabolical plot to snatch everyone's guns away.
And the smears aren't just coming from random kooks. Donald J. Trump, Jr. "liked" a tweet peddling the conspiracy theory. Conservative author Dinesh D’Souza mocked the teenagers on Twitter, calling them "phony," "deranged," and full of "media-manufactured theatrics." Republican congressman Jack Kingston told CNN the kids were "hijacked" by activist groups. An aide to a Florida legislator called the kids "crisis actors," and was fired from his job.
Luckily, the teenagers can stand up for themselves, and have been owning their critics on social media. When Bill O'Reilly asked if the media should be promoting "emotional" teenagers' opinions, Cameron Kasky responded, "Yeah probably. Thank u 4 asking tho dood u rok LOL I luv bein a kid we kidz r kool."
And in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Cameron said you'd never ask him if he was an actor, if you had seen his performance in Fiddler On The Roof. (Ha!)
Adam Alhanti joked, "Okay, you caught me. I’m a Crisis Actor brainwashed by the left. They chose me because I played Iago, Mr. Potato Head, and King Triton in camp musicals as a kid."
Sam Fuentes dared the conspiracy theorists to "look at her in the face," which was severely wounded in the attack.
Senior Diego Pfeiffer said, "I want to go to school for musical theater—I would love to be an actor—no joke. But honestly, the people here, and the people that we left behind, the people that are no longer with us, they are not acting. They are dead...and to have other people tell me that my grief is not real, that I'm just acting it out, I would love to be that good of an actor."
Senior David Hogg told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, "I am not a crisis actor. I’m somebody that had to witness this and live through this and I continue to have to do that. The fact that some of the students at Stoneman Douglas high school… are showing more maturity and political action than many of our elected officials is a testament to how disgusting and broken our political system is right now in America. But we’re trying to fix that."
Sarah Chadwick confirms that David "can't act to save his life."
Olivia Feller said, "They're making excuses because they can't believe that students can be so eloquent and educated on these issues." (Good point. If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger.)
Thankfully, Emma Gonzalez revealed that the students were having a good laugh over the right-wing conspiracy theories, rather than letting the vicious (and totally false) attacks get to them. Good for them!
So, there's no need to worry about these kids getting hurt by conspiracy theorists and trolls. They've survived worse.
In related news, Russian bots are filling Facebook with pro-gun posts after the Parkland shooting...