Laura Ingraham, David Hogg: The Parkland School Shooting Debate Highlights Bullying and Lack of Maturity
Backlash against Fox News Laura Ingraham, who mocked outspoken Parkland School Shooting survivor David Hogg and saw a withdrawal of several advertisers as a result, is only part of a much broader controversy. In the wake of the Parkland School Shooting, a number of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High spoke out against mass shootings and helped energize a series of rallies, which sought to change gun laws among other policy shifts. Right-wing Second Amendment supporters and anti-gun control factions responded by basically framing the politically active teens involved in the budding gun control movement as political pawns of Left-wing gun control activists. Public discourse surrounding the Parkland Shooting has only continued to degenerate, which is a tragedy for the Nation in itself.
Issues like mass shooting, gun control, bullying, and mental health certainly need to be addressed, but no solution will eliminate violence in US schools or anywhere else. Sadly, the slanderous squabbling that is the public exchanges surrounding mass shootings, gun control, bullying, and mental health issues are about as far from any meaningful solution as possible. Solving these issues requires an embrace of human solutions, which address the issues affecting the individuals who commit violent acts and those who prime violent responses. Unfortunately, the professional news outlets, political industry, and politically active are simply cramming each others’ views and agendas down everyone’s throats then acting like a bunch of school yard bullies when others resist their opinions.
Victims of mass shootings, as well as other violent crimes, deserve and need opportunities to express themselves. Not only is the act of expression a necessary and healthy part of coping, the voices of victims can draw attention to key issues while helping change agents identify effective and meaningful solutions. The victims of the Parkland School Shooting, therefore, deserved to have a platform to express their feelings and views. Regrettably, survivors as a fully represented group were not simply given a platform to express themselves. Political activists and professional news outlets were using the survivors of the Parkland School Shooting to further their agendas by tailoring the debate to their preferences, which undermines the openness, integrity, usefulness of public debate. Survivors of mass shootings like the Parkland School Shooting should be outraged over the failure of society to protect them and make progress on security issues. Their political activism should also be welcomed. All Americans should be involved in politics. Civil engagement is essential to proper governance. Limiting public debate to supporting existing positions is not, however, open civil discourse.
The problem with the whole Parkland scenario is that political groups are channeling the emotions of these teenagers to enact their preferred political solutions. They are given the choice of gun control or no gun control, which is as much a security issue as it is a civil liberties issue. There is no public policy debate that seeks to build a solution to school violence. There is only an attempt to gain support for preexisting public policy objectives. In turn, those who are against these policies are encouraging others to respond with negative emotions. Instead of public discourse, there are emotional reactions in response to emotional reactions. The exchange happening across the Nation has taken on the same dynamic as that seen between high school students fighting over a rumor. It is not an example of civil engagement. It is an example of two-sided emotional bullying.
Name calling and personal attacks have become somewhat of a norm for the Parkland activists. Their responses, at times, have been antagonistic and even childish, but it is expected as they are children. They are teenage high school students. The adults feeding the exchanges surrounding the outspoken victims of the Parkland School Shooting are not, however, children. From those on the Right to those on the Left, from amateurs to professionals, there is a near total lack of maturity surrounding the Parkland School Shooting debate. Unfortunately, this lack of maturity is a function of the present-day political system, which inhibits constructive public discourse and policy debate. If there is ever to be a constructive public policy debate, mature individuals need to be heard. They need to shape the discussion in order to foster an actual exchange of opinions and ideas, not to manipulate the emotions of others, impose their views onto others, and bully anyone who dissents.
Read old posts