Conservative Parkland students ignored by media



Campus Life editor Leziga Barikor criticizes the March For Our Lives movement for misrepresenting conservative Parkland students.

LEZIGA BARIKOR, Campus Life Editor | [email protected]

Today I want to give a platform to voices that are being, at the very least, ignored and, at worst, demonized. The media coverage of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where the Parkland, Florida shooting occurred have not been covered evenly.

This is most evident in the recent Time magazine cover for April that was recently released online. It features Parkland students Emma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Corin, Alex Wind, Cameron Kasky and David Hogg. They all support gun control measures and are anti NRA. But they aren’t the only students who have been politically active since the tragedy occurred.

Patrick Petty, 17 years old, lost his 14-year-old sister Alaina Petty during the Parkland shooting. He and his family have been vocal supporters of Second Amendment rights. He tweeted at his fellow classmate Gonzalez during the March For Our Lives event to, “please stop using my sister’s name to push your agenda, she DID NOT and WOULD NOT support it.”

This prompts a deep moral question that I don’t see the student protestors considering as they claim to speak for all the victims of gun violence. How can they speak for those who have died and misrepresent what they would’ve lived for?

Petty and his father Ryan have been actively going to Congress and their local politicians to promote legislation to make schools safer. But their solution does not involve seeking a ban on assault weapons like those of the students featured in Time. They both support the Second Amendment.

Pew Research Center found in an April 2017 poll that 39 percent of people between the ages 18 to 29 said protecting gun rights is of chief importance. Pro-gun high school students exist and are highly underrepresented in the “objective” news media, but more characteristicly right leaning places like Fox News are speaking with them.

One such student is Kyle Kashuv, a 16-year-old who also attends the Parkland high school and is friends with Petty. He has been very vocal in his support of the Second Amendment and has gone to many news sites and to Congress. And his talks with legislatures are having some results.

Kashuv and the Petty family were both at Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, March 13, to celebrate the passing of the Stop School Violence Act in the House. The House republicans’ message in passing that bill was the same as the Time cover. As Senator Orrin Hatch’s official account tweeted out, enough is enough.

“Guns aren’t the issue,” Kashuv told Fox News Insider. “It’s everything surrounding acquiring a weapon.”

It would seem that this is the common ground that the left fails to concede. Students like Gonzalez and Hogg call NRA members and Second Amendment supporters horrible names and liken them to fictional characters like “Voldemort” in the Time article where the writer admits their comments were “unprintable.” That is not a debate within the realm of reality. People who support the Second Amendment are also affected by gun violence, and they hate seeing it happen. No one wants children to get shot at school. Assuming bad motives will make debate unfruitful every time.

Students like Kaskuv saying, “If you’re against that, then get out,” doesn’t bring about any progress.

The March for Our Lives mission statement said that school safety is not a political issue, only for the movement to then advocate for political action.

“The marchers don’t understand all the facts they’re talking about,” Kashuv said in another Fox News interview.

The common complaint people on the political right have about the gun debate is that the left doesn’t bother having clear suggestions or show any knowledge on the subject. Even with knowledge on the topic, the level of mockery used is adding to the frustration of people who want to have a productive discussion.

So please, have productive discussions. Don’t assume bad motives. And if all the ideas you hear are similar to the ideas you hold, it may be time to start searching for those other voices.