I have a column over at The Week about the one year anniversary of the Parkland school massacre. I reflect on the shabby treatment that has been afforded the survivors. Wherever you find survivors of mass gun violence, it seems, you’ll also find gun rights defenders making the survivors’ lives more miserable.
Some people might argue that by plunging into the gun debate, Hogg and other survivors asked for the treatment they’re getting — our politics are loud and ugly, and if you’re going to take a stance, you’re not going to be treated with kid gloves. Hogg, in particular, seems to give as much as he takes, which might be why he seems to be singled out for extra abuse. That kind of argument, though, suggests that name-calling and conspiracy theorizing should be a normal part of politics. Maybe it’s time to challenge that idea.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that gun advocates have to accept the Parkland survivors’ policy prescriptions. And it doesn’t meant that gun-control advocates don’t have to listen to their opponents — Kasky, for example, has embarked on a project to listen to gun rights advocates. But the Parkland students should have been treated as people worthy of respect, as survivors of a horrific crime. Because that’s what they are.