Gun-safety students deserve praise, not slander

Dennis DalmanColumn, Opinion, Print Editions, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

You just know right-wing conspiracy theorists, including Fox (Fake) News barkers, are in a defensive squirm when they feel compelled to attack young students demonstrating for gun-safety laws.

One of those student leaders – the admirable David Hogg — has become a lightning rod for the bad-mouthing of the Ultra-Right-Wing folks. Have they no shame? Instead of championing those idealistic students, so worthy of praise, right-wing grinches are slandering them, accusing them of being everything from puppets of George Soros lefties to “crisis actors,” from budding communists to spoiled know-nothing brats throwing public tantrums.

And speaking of brats and tantrums, that pretty much sums up these pouting, plotting right-wingers, who are so fired up by their fevered imaginations, throwing verbal snit-fits because young people dared to exercise an American right – to gather, to demonstrate.

Hogg’s family has received death threats. Social media postings from conspiracy crackpots claim the Parkland, Fla., school shooting didn’t happen. The cruel fools claimed the same thing about the massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Those “fake” killings were just leftist charades using “crisis actors.” These are the same kind of imaginative folks who, ensconced in their alternative reality, claim the Holocaust didn’t happen and that President George W. Bush planned the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

One of the first to slam Hogg was Laura Ingraham, longtime radio and TV right-wing shill. She said four California universities rejected Hogg (thus implying he is stupid). Ingraham managed to combine college-status snobbery with her stupid insult.

Foot-in-mouth, Ingraham announced she was going to take a vacation. She did offer an apology after big-name sponsors pulled their support from her show.

Hogg fired back: “I will accept your apology only if you denounce the way your network (Fox News) has treated my friends and I in this fight. It’s time to love thy neighbor, not mudsling at children.”

Gun-hugger/old rocker Ted Nugent also took pot shots at the young demonstrators, calling them “mushy-brained children.” And look who’s talkin’. Nugent, a board member of the National Rifle Association, has been dispensing “mushy-brained” pronouncements about guns, among other topics, for a long time.

Then there’s former senator Rick Santorum. He gave the lamebrain advice that those students would do better to learn CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) rather than waste time demonstrating for gun laws. Oops. He must have meant learning TAT (tourniquet-application techniques) because people ripped apart by assault-weapon slugs often bleed to death rapidly if they don’t die instantly. Santorum did “walk back” his comment later.

A good number of  Republicans did have the decency to denounce Hogg’s attackers. Among them, Sen. Marco Rubio, who said, “Claiming some of the students on TV after Parkland were actors is the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency.”

As young people challenge sclerotic adherence to gun-rights absolutism, gun-huggers and many right-wing reactionaries have begun to act like panicking dinosaurs, glancing warily up at the sky, sensing imminent extinction. Maybe they are not on the right side of history, after all. Maybe voters will boot out legislators who constantly, fiercely resist any gun-safety laws, thereby refusing to represent the will of a vast majority of Americans.

Closer to home, there is state Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), whose Facebook posts compared the student demonstrators to “Hitler Youth.” She apologized. That’s the Franson modus operandi. She posts vile comments, apologizes, then posts more of them after the smoke clears.

Let’s welcome the fresh breezes and renewed vision brought by these wonderful young people. They are, after all, the future. Their nasty detractors, hopefully, will soon be the past.

Hogg said it well at the national rally:

“They (gun lobbyists and their legislators) will try to separate us in demographics,” he told the demonstrators. “They will try to separate us by religion, race, congressional district and class. They will fail. We will come together. We will get rid of these public servants that only serve the gun lobby, and we will save lives.”


Author: Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.

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