A significant element of the right-wing fringe spent most of Wednesday pitching a hissy fit. One of their heroes, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, got ixnayed from a free speech breakout session at the Conservative Political Action Conference for claiming survivors of a grisly shooting at a Florida high school weren’t real survivors at all. Hoft and a significant element of the wingnut blogosphere have recycled an old canard they trotted out after Sandy Hook–claiming the survivors were actually shills for pro-gun control interests.
When fellow wingnut Pamela Geller was told to boot Hoft, she canceled the session rather than do so–and whined about how Hoft’s right to free speech was being snuffed out. Oh, how she and other wingnuts howled.
Terry Schilling (@pizzapolitico) of @approject told @PamelaGeller to not let Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) speak at a @CPAC free speech event. Pamela being the principled woman told Terry to go pound sand. @CPAC needs to address this. Bad form! https://t.co/IC6zxc6r1D #MAGA #CPAC2018
— Kerry Smyth (@SmythRadio) February 21, 2018
wait, someone with less than 2K Twitter followers told someone with 175K followers not to let a person with 91K followers speak @CPAC ?🤔
— AlaBayouBama (@AlaBayouBama) February 21, 2018
So these so-called patriots are okay with libeling teenagers, then opening the door for them to be harassed and trolled? And they wonder why we call them “deplorables”?
Incredibly, Geller and friends claim that Hoft’s right to free speech was being trampled. What they don’t know is that less than an hour after Geller whined about this on “Breitbart News Daily,” her argument was completely torn apart. One of the survivors of last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was forced to leave Facebook–at least for now–in the face of a torrent of death threats from right-wing trolls.
Cameron Kasky, a junior at Douglas High, emerged early on–literally–as one of the loudest voices among the army of Douglas students working to break the NRA-imposed inertia on gun control. Within hours of getting home after watching 13 of his classmates get gunned down, he launched a Facebook page called “#NeverAgain,” which calls for tightening the background checks required in order to buy a gun. He’s been tirelessly active since then, helping raise over a million dollars to fund a planned nationwide walkout at schools across the nation scheduled for March 24 and making the rounds on TV.
Unfortunately, a significant element of the right-wing fringe isn’t too keen on a 17-year-old fighting to make our schools safe for his classmates and future students. In the last week, Kasky has been bombarded with death threats on Facebook and on Twitter. Finally, on Tuesday morning, Kasky announced he had to do something to rein in the trolls–limit how much they could type.
Temporarily got off Facebook because there’s no character count so the death threats from the @NRA cultists are a bit more graphic than those on twitter. Will be back when I have the time for it. Busy getting my feelings hurt by fellow teenagers at Br**tb*rt
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) February 21, 2018
No doubt a good number of those threats have come from people who accuse Kasky and his classmates of being “crisis actors”–people who are supposedly paid to pretend to be victims in order to gin up support for gun control. They’re following the lead of bottom-feeders like Hoft and Alex Jones.
By all rights, Hoft, Jones, and others accusing Kasky and these other brave kids of faking their pain and sorrow ought to be hauled into court and sued for libel. On paper, the survivors and the families of the victims could really draw blood. There’s no way you could spin it as anything other than kids standing up for themselves, and parents protecting their children.
The only way that a lawsuit wouldn’t happen is if the parents and survivors didn’t think it would be worth the emotional trauma. It’s the most likely reason the Sandy Hook survivors didn’t haul these trolls into court. Even though a lawsuit would have been a slam dunk, the parents probably thought that it wouldn’t be worth making five-year-olds and six-year-olds targets for the gutter tactics that Hoft and Jones’ lawyers would have almost certainly employed.
Traumatized so much that it may not even be worth the risk of taking these bottom-feeding bastards to court, even in a case that the survivors should win easily? The mere thought this could happen is so damn obscene that there are almost no words to describe it.
There’s another reason the smearing of these kids should outrage any fair-minded American, regardless of persuasion. For all intents and purposes, these right-wing cowards are effectively telling Kasky and these brave kids to sit down and shut up. That’s about the only thing you can conclude when bottom-feeders like Hoft and Jones say that these kids can’t possibly come up with articulate and reasoned arguments on their own.
Can you imagine liberal trolls saying the same thing about prominent conservative kids like CJ Pearson, Millie March, or the kids from “Jesus Camp”? It would be no less outrageous, and no less wrong.
Even though Kasky is stepping away from Facebook, he isn’t backing down one inch. On Wednesday, for instance, he painted Marco Rubio into a corner at a CNN town hall at BB&T Center in nearby Sunrise. Watch here.
Kasky asked Rubio if he would turn down future donations from the NRA–and kept pressing when Rubio tried to hedge by saying that “people buy into my agenda.”
It soon became apparent to Kasky and the others gathered at the town hall that Rubio didn’t have the political will to tell Wayne LaPierre and the faceless men who write the NRA’s checks to pound sand. Kasky let him have it.
“In the name of the 17 people who died, you can’t ask the NRA to keep their money?”
But Kasky wasn’t done. On Thursday morning, when he saw the NRA revert to its usual post-shooting schtick, Kasky proved a picture says a thousand words.
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) February 22, 2018
Bravo, Cameron. You’re an inspiration to us all.
(featured image courtesy Kasky’s Twitter)