I get it. Some people think there are too many guns and we need more restrictions. Others think that gun rights are individual rights and other people’s bad behavior shouldn’t determine what they can own.
If you are not in favor of more gun restrictions, go ahead and argue it.
You can try to convince people that gun restrictions don’t work.
You can try to convince people that there is no accurate description of an “assault weapon.”
You can point out that most gun deaths are suicides.
You can explain your perspective that the problem is in the mind of the shooter, not in the gun he holds.
You can explain your version of the current context for the Second Amendment.
These are all arguments about guns, laws, and policies.
But here is what you really ought not to do: make your case by ripping the people who disagree with you.
You don’t get to call Emma Gonzalez, the passionate Parkland teenager who has spoken out at anti-gun rallies, a skinhead lesbian. (That’s what a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives did.)
You don’t get to rag on her wearing the Cuban flag on her coat because her father was Cuban, even though she doesn’t speak Spanish. That’s what US Congressman Steve King did. (If her father were Italian and she wore an Italian flag, would that be a problem? If she did speak Spanish and had an accent, would you find that more to your liking?)
You don’t get to photoshop a fake video to make it appear she is ripping up the Constitution. And if you see that video, you don’t tweet it to spread it, as actor Adam Baldwin did. (The video is fake, but ripping up the Constitution? Really? It’s not the bible. Frankly, if you want to show a video of a yourself ripping up the Constitution, go wild.)
You don’t get to claim shooting survivor David Hogg is an actor right out of central casting.
I’ve read a lot of impassioned pleas that claim such vicious attacks on young, grieving survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting are deplorable, since they are simply exercising their right to speak.
This is wrong. While they may be teenagers and they may be hurting, once they put themselves into the public discourse, people should treat them like anyone else.
The problem is not who the attacks are targeted at. The problem is that such attacks are deplorable, regardless of who they are aimed at. Ad hominem attacks don’t change what is right and wrong.
I expect attacks like this from random crazies on the internet. I don’t expect our elected representatives to endorse them. I expect these leaders to explain to those they lead that these young people, and the millions who marched in support of them, have the right to express themselves, just as Trump supporters do at their rallies, even if those representative disagree with them.
Argue about guns, laws, policies, statistics, and rights, rather than who made the arguments, how they cut their hair, who they love, or what they wear.
Are your pro-gun arguments so flimsy that your only recourse is to viciously rip the people you disagree with?
That’s a pretty sad position to hold.