An image of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Emma González tearing up the constitution, has gone viral on conservative circles of the Internet. The only thing is, it’s not real.
The original image comes from an op-ed González wrote in Teen Vogue, titled “Why This Generation Needs Gun Control.” The embedded gif shows González with fellow Douglas High students Sarah Chadwick and Jaclyn Corin, along with Chicago activist Nza-Ari Khepra, who lost a friend to gun violence when she was 16. In the gif, González is ripping up a shooting target. And it comes from a video Teen Vogue did called “This Is Why We March.”
But the doctored image spread quickly, first through right-wing social media network Gab, and then promoted by conservative celebrities like Adam Baldwin. And the fake image inspired plenty of commenters who thought it was real to express anger toward the students.
Even though it was quickly pointed out that the image was a fake, the damage was already done.
This argument is not going to be resolved in a day. Gun reform, the second amendment, its intent and its place in modern America. These are complicated issues. But at the very least, can’t we avoid incorporating very young people, in some cases, minors, into a false narrative that convinces thousands of people that the Parkland survivors are somehow treasonous or un-American?
And this is just one of the many attacks from established conservative media against the Parkland students. As The Washington Post pointed out, one of the top searches on YouTube for shooting survivor David Hogg leads to a video by conservative news channel The Blaze, called “A Side of David Hogg You Haven’t Seen.” And the comments on this video do go after him.
For pro-gun advocates out there, it’s got to be frustrating to see young people who disagree with you being empowered and becoming celebrities after a tragedy. But their response should be with a reasoned argument – not with personal attacks against the students.
Anyone who watched Emma González’s passionate speech and moment of silence on Saturday’s March For Our Lives would not call her a crisis actor or disparage her with photoshopped images and memes. We have to find a way to disagree in this country without spreading hate and lies.
What do you guys think? Does the image make sense for pro-gun advocates to use as satire? Or should the media do a better job correcting this kind of misinformation before it spreads online? Let us know in the comments.
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