The Parkland shooting survivors are not crisis actors. Who are we as a country when we are attacking teenaged survivors of a mass shooting?
America, it’s time we take a good, long, hard look at ourselves. After the horrendous mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the gun debate began once again as it always does. The “thoughts and prayers” went out from Politicians as they always do. But this time, there was something even worse. A group of fringe blogs are successfully spreading false information about the survivors of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th, 2018 that took 17 lives. Is this truly who we want to be? Definitely, No, the Parkland shooting survivors are not crisis actors.
A video attempting to paint some of the survivors of the shooting as crisis actors currently sits at the #1 spot on the YouTube trending chart. It has been “liked” thousands of times. Of course, the video is horrendously false and attempts to show that one student’s news interview on vacation at a beach in Los Angeles means that he couldn’t possibly be a student in Florida. In their mind, this means that these students are paid “crisis actors” who are brought in to recite lines, posing as someone who was a witness to the horrendous tragedy. They also try to tie this particular student’s father’s former occupation as an F.B.I. agent to prove that this was all some kind of plan to enact a gun ban. Unsurprisingly, this conspiracy theory doesn’t even stand up to basic common sense let alone any kind of intellectual scrutiny. That hasn’t stopped it from spreading.
As of this article, there are currently over 250,000 people talking about “crisis actors” on Facebook. One tweet pushing another video has more than 6,000 retweets. In the era of “fake news” where anyone with a blog can post anything they want and reach an audience of hundreds of millions demands that we do our due diligence in stopping it from spreading.
The fact that there are people out there right now who find it okay to create stories trying to smear children who survived a mass school shooting is incomprehensible. If they actually truly believe these things, we’re even worse off in our mental health epidemic than we may realize.
We really need to take a deep dive into our own souls if we are at a place where smears against traumatized children are spreading like wildfire. We need to reassess mental health immediately in this country. We need to reassess where we get our information from. We need to reassess how we are educating students on journalism and research. We need to reassess why we are so quick to demonize news agencies which are integral to our very foundation. And then we need to act quickly. Every single one of us can play a role in this change and every single one of us must. Our future and the future of our country depends on it. Without question, the Parkland shooting survivors are not crisis actors.