On Wednesday, appearing on Fox News’ “The Story” with host Martha MacCallum, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro spoke about the nationwide walk-out by high-schoolers demonstrating for gun control. Shapiro acknowledged the students had every right to say whatever they wanted, but slammed the media for using the kids to spur the media’s own political views on the issue, saying the media wa cynically using the kids as “political human shields.”
MacCullum began by playing tapes of students shouting, “If you can speak, speak. If you can march, march,” “I ask our Republican lawmakers: Is their right to have a gun more important than our right to live?” and “We will not sit in classrooms with armed teachers!”
MacCallum noted, “But not all students are on board with that message,” noting that one high-schooler had written an email to Shapiro, saying, “I am in favor of walking to honor the victims, but not in favor of promoting gun reform. I feel like I have to choose between going against my political values or looking like a bad person. I need help. What do I do?”
MacCallum turned to Shapiro, saying, “You received several messages like that. What did you tell them?”
I’ve been getting legitimately dozens, scores of messages, probably a hundred since yesterday from students who are disappointed at the way they feel they’ve been bullied into joining the school walkouts. What I’ve suggested is walk out with your friends and hold up signs that say things like, “Standing with children, standing with the Second Amendment,” or “Protect our lives, arm law-abiding people.”
The media has put forth this message, and they’ve been doing this for years, but it’s really accelerated in the last few months, and particularly in the last few weeks, they’ve put forth this message that if you disagree with them on gun control, that means you don’t care enough about the kids, and now they are activating these kids and putting them out on the front lines and putting them in photo-ops so they can essentially use them as political human shields.
Now listen, the kids can say whatever they want; that’s their prerogative, but it is the media that are choosing to elevate these kids as moral authorities even though tragedy and age don’t confer any sort of expertise on a given issue.
MacCallum mentioned a former member of the Israeli military and owner of a gun store in Florida who told Fox News he refused to sell guns to anyone under 21. She asked, “Is there any room for some of these measures that some of these kids would be in favor of?”
It depends on the measure. And the question is: what’s the level of public support? Whenever they take a poll, and they say there are tons and tons of people who are in favor of gun control, that’s a really big statement; it’s like polls that that show Americans are in favor of cutting the size of government. That sounds great until you get down to the brass tacks of, “Well, what do you want to cut?” When people say they’re in favor of gun control, usually they think that means, “Do you think we should take measures that would prevent mass shootings?” and the answer, of course, is yes, but that doesn’t necessarily boil down into law that anybody likes. There’s still some pretty significant controversy, for example, over raising the age limit for buying rifles; if you can serve in the military at 18 and you can vote at 18, then what is the problem, exactly, with buying a gun?
At the same time, there’s this sort of weird argument that’s being made that kids who are 17 should be making all of the public policy but kids who are 17 are also not capable of buying a weapon. So what, exactly, is the age of adulthood?
These are arguments that we can have, and I’m perfectly happy to have them. What I’m not happy to do, and I think a lot of these students who are writing me are not happy about, is this attitude that if you disagree with people on politics that this means that you can’t even be part of the conversation, that the only people we will talk to are people we agree with on gun control measures. That’s actually a form of nastiness, a form of political cudgeling that I think is really counterproductive.