The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Stop Using Grieving Kids to Do Your Anti-Gun Dirty Work

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez reacts during her speech at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez reacts during her speech at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 17, 2018.
RHONA WISE/Getty Images

Today in Conservative Media is a daily roundup of the biggest stories in the right-wing press.

A week after the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting took 17 lives and unexpectedly thrust young students into the national debate on America’s gun laws, some on the right are starting to get a whiff of political opportunism on the left. The shell-shocked students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School haven’t just grieved publicly since the Valentine’s Day mass shooting; they’ve seethed publicly. The student activism that has sprung from this, America’s latest deadly school shooting, has publications on the right grumbling that enough is enough.

Now that the students are using their experience to push for stricter gun control, Ben Shapiro wonders for National Review, despite the left’s rapt attention, “[w]hat, pray tell, did these students do to earn their claim to expertise?” “[High-school students from Parkland have] now been trotted out by advocates of gun control as newfound authorities on the evils of the Second Amendment,” Shapiro writes. “Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development?”

[T]he same people on the left who declare that children are fully capable decision-makers suddenly balk when it comes to gun ownership. Now, leftist lawmakers state that the legal age for gun purchases should be raised to 21. They proclaim that “children” are disadvantaged if they are removed from their parents’ health-insurance plans before turning 26. They suggest that the criminal-justice system should treat young adults with greater leeway than it treats more mature adults, because brain development doesn’t truly complete until 25.

“The answer seems to be relatively simple: Children and teenagers are not fully rational actors,” Shapiro concludes. “They’re not capable of exercising supreme responsibilities. And we shouldn’t be treating innocence as a political asset used to push the agenda of more sophisticated players.”

At the very least, David Marcus at the Federalist argues, we should “Stop Putting Traumatized Teenagers on Television.” “[W]hat if putting traumatized teenagers, mere days removed from a shocking and life-changing event, in front of cameras and crowds is not healthy?” Marcus asks. “When horrible events like school shootings take place, adults, particularly parents and educators, have a responsibility to help and protect children. This time, that has been turned on its head. This time it is the kids who have a responsibility to save us. Like abusive parents, we are asking them to be the adults, to be the force of stability … It is not something any responsible adult should be asking of our children.”

In other news

With President Trump’s announcement Tuesday that his administration would move to ban “bump stocks” that make guns, Breitbart announced: “It Begins: Trump Announces Gun Crackdown.” Elsewhere, Breitbart characterized the move this way: “Trump Directs DOJ to Ban Bump Stocks in Response to Gun Control Outcry.” Awr Hawkins writes:

Bump stocks were not used in the February 14 attack in Florida. Nor were they used in the Texas church attack (November 5, 2017), the Alexandria attack (June 14, 2017), the Orlando attack (June 12, 2016), the San Bernardino attack (December 2, 2015), the Umpqua Community College attack (October 1, 2015), the Lafayette movie theater attack (July 23, 2015), the Chattanooga attack (July 16, 2015), the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal attack (Jun 17, 2015), the Santa Barbara attack (May 23, 2014), the Fort Hood attack (April 2, 2014), the D.C. Navy Yard attack (September 16, 2013), the Aurora movie theater attack (July 20, 2012), the Gabby Giffords (January 8, 2011) attack, or the Virginia Tech attack (April 16, 2007), among others.”

The Daily Caller’s Scott Greer explains why French politician Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the niece of the nationalist leader Marine Le Pen, was the “most talked about speaker” at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. “[I]t appears the only eternal value for conservatives, according to Le Pen’s critics, is love of the free market, not wanting to conserve your nation and traditions,” Greer writes. “Yes, she’s controversial. Yes, she’s not a typical American conservative. Yes, her grandfather is an extremist. Who cares?”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in New York City.