“How could you criticize a child?”

We need to learn to stop trying to have it both ways. Political speech brings more political speech response – especially when that speech is caustic and confrontational. That has always been the case and will always be the case. When you strike first, someone will strike back. Deal with it.

Since an evil man murdered seventeen teenagers at a high school in Florida, some of the students have taken a national public profile in advocating for gun control. Criticism of these teenagers (specifically David Hogg) has been met with outrage, including faux horror that someone would “criticize a child.”

This is absurd. An older teenager is not a child. Hogg is 17 years old and mere months away from being a legal adult. Underage teens who commit crimes are often tried as adults. We are not talking about a kindergartner here. It is simply dishonest to pretend that Hogg is a “child.” He is not.

Beyond that, we need to face the reality of political discourse and human nature. Once you enter the realm of public policy, you subject yourself to criticism. Hogg decided to become an activist for gun control and his status as a gun massacre survivor has granted him a national stage that he has gladly accepted and exploited. With that platform and with that notoriety comes criticism and even mockery. That does not mean that every criticism or mocking is justified, but whining because criticism exists is hypocritical.

David Hogg has openly accused Republicans of accepting bribes from the National Rifle Association and not caring if kids die as a result of opposing gun control. A specific target of Hogg’s rage was Marco Rubio, so examining Rubio’s financing is called for. Marco Rubio raised $48.3 million for his campaign for President. He got $9,900 from the National Rifle Association. That is two one hundredths of one percent – 0.02% – of his total contributions. See here and here for more.

Given the vicious personal attacks launched by Hogg and his allies, you have to expect that there will be push back. A reality of politics is that when you launch an attack – especially an attack that is personal, unfair or dishonest – the other side will strike back. It is the height of hypocrisy for gun control advocates to fall on their fainting couches at responses to attacks against gun rights supporters.

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