Student Activists Against Guns ‘Have a Right to Be Listened to’ – but Here’s the Catch

What’s going on?

After the Florida school shooting, teenage survivors turned student activists began fighting for gun control on national media. David Hogg, 17, is one of the activists, and he recently slammed NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch for supposedly controlling Congress and not doing anything – as he defended local law enforcement officers who were warned about the shooter beforehand.

What did he say?

“I don’t want to say anything until after the investigation’s done because I don’t know what happened,” Hogg said of Sheriff Scott Israel. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office is under fire for not flagging a tip about the eventual gunman and missing some serious red flags about his determination to shoot up a school.

While Hogg didn’t presume to know about Israel’s actions, he was certain about Loesch and the power he thinks she has. “She owns these congressmen,” he said.

Glenn’s take:

Glenn, Pat and Stu had a lot of questions about this clip on today’s show – including wondering why Loesch didn’t wield this incredible power over the government on behalf of TheBlaze when she worked here.

“She should have passed things for us,” Stu joked.

Glenn pointed out that while the students should be respected and treated with sympathy, they also can’t expect people not to analyze their arguments.

“They have a right to be listened to,” Glenn said. “They don’t have a right to be listened to unchecked.”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: I'd love to have this conversation with you, Pat. I think that we have -- I think we've come to the end of the period of enlightenment.

PAT: Hmm.

GLENN: Everything that this country was based on was the honest search for truth. Empirical truth. You know what I mean?

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: I'm not going to listen to a church tell me that they have all this power, that they can do these things because God gives them the power and so I must fall in line. I'm not going to listen to a king tell me he's got all this power because of God. I'm not going to listen to magicians. I want empirical fact.

Now, if you want to go on faith, that's fine. But keep your faith out of the control of the government. The government and -- and faith should not mix when it says -- when it comes down to control of people's lives.

PAT: Hmm.

GLENN: And we looked for the truth. And let the chips fall where they may. We don't look for that anymore. We're not looking. We're not interested.

PAT: No. We're looking for the win.

GLENN: Exactly right. I -- I am sick of winning.

If this is what winning feels like, I am sick of winning. And we've been playing it now for over 20 years. And I'm sick of it.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: And no one wants to have honest conversations. You know, this is a problem. I bring the -- let me give you these two audio clips. These are specifically selected for Pat Gray's enjoyment here.

GLENN: Okay.

STU: Because these two moments back-to-back in the same interview tells a heck of a story of where we've been over the last week.

Here's David Hogg, one of the students who has been on every show imaginable. Also was on the same show as you were on this week, on CNN with Brian Stelter, talking about Dana Loesch and the NRA.

DAVID: What Dana is trying to do, I believe she's the CEO of the NRA. She's trying to distract people. If you listen --

VOICE: She's the national spokesperson for the NRA.

DAVID: Exactly. She's a national spokeswoman. And as such, she's a national propagandist for the NRA.

If you listen to her speak, she's not really saying anything. She's sounding positive and confident. And that's what she wants the people in the NRA to believe. She wants people in Congress to pass laws that help out with mental health and things like that. And she says she can't do that.

Are you kidding me? You own these politicians.

You've passed legislation that enables these bump stocks. Which, by the way, aren't allowed at NRA shooting ranges because they're too dangerous. That's how bad they are. But continuing on with my point, she wants Congress to take action and says that they won't. Are you kidding me? She owns these congressmen. She can get them to do things --

PAT: She owns them?

DAVID: -- but she doesn't care about these children's lives.

STU: Yeah.

GLENN: Okay. So he didn't even know who she was at the beginning.

PAT: Right. But he does know that she owns Congress.

STU: And she doesn't care about children's lives, which is odd because she has children. But she doesn't care about children's lives.

PAT: That is interesting. That's interesting.

GLENN: And she owns people, even though she just started with the NRA. She was working with us. I didn't know she had all of those politicians in the pocket.

STU: Yeah. She should have passed stuff for us.

PAT: Wouldn't that have been nice? We could have been on more cable channels probably, damn it.

GLENN: Right.

STU: But again, here is a kid who is put out there as an expert by every media source. Here's a guy, he's got all the passion. He's the guy -- we have to take him seriously. We have to respect all of his views.

We can't say one word of criticism of what he says because that means you just don't care about children, you don't care about the victims of this.

Later on, he's asked not about the NRA, but about the mass disaster that has been Broward County sheriff -- Scot -- what's his name? Israel. I can only think of Sheriff Israel.

And so he's asked about that. Here's what he says.

VOICE: Are you concerned that you might actually lose support if you get too personal, too incendiary?

VOICE: Well, she's already done that by attacking Sheriff Scot Israel, who obviously there were some major mistakes made here and ones that we have to look into.

PAT: Yeah.

VOICE: And I don't want to say anything until after the investigation is done because I don't know what happened. I'm just a student that had to witness this horrifying incident. But honestly, how can you say that you support law enforcement, if you're just constantly attacking them over this?

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

VOICE: -- these are the people that are trying to protect our lives. Did they make a mistake? Absolutely. Is that something that we have to fix? Absolutely. But there is a much bigger problem in Washington.

STU: So he's -- so when it's about the NRA, he knows everything about them. He knows that Dana is the CEO and owns all of these politicians, despite her just starting this position pretty recently. But when it comes to the police, wait for the investigation, he's just a student.

PAT: He's just a student. I don't know. What do I know?

STU: He's just a student. You can't ask him those questions. He's just a kid.

PAT: That was kind of my point from the very beginning.

GLENN: Here's what I -- here's what I can't -- I can't get my arms around.

So what did I say to Brian? I said to Brian, you know, to have these emotional crowds was not a good thing. You want to have them on, great. Let them talk.

And his response was, so you think we should have -- you think Jake should have just said shut up?

No, that's not what I said.

PAT: No. That's not what you said at all.

GLENN: I didn't say that. That's really disrespectful.

PAT: You were talking about the kids, in fact. You were talking about the audience.

GLENN: Yeah, the crowd. The crowd.

STU: I don't know what Jake is supposed to do once the crowd is in the room.

GLENN: No, it's too late.

STU: The problematic decision is the crowd being there.

GLENN: That's CNN's decision up front.

STU: Right. Not the representation of these families. You could have been in there, in a room like Trump did. He did a listening session with people who were victims of the shooting.

PAT: And there wasn't screaming over the top of each other either.

STU: Right. Because it was calm -- it was calm discourse.

You put in 5,000 people, all of which are there to just yell at Dana, her position at the NRA, it's a recipe for disaster, and they should have recognized that.

GLENN: Okay. So he doesn't -- he won't listen to that. And wants -- you know, if you -- did you say we shouldn't have had the arena. Then that's akin to saying, we have to tell these kids to shut up.

We have to take these kids -- they have a right to be listened to.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: They don't have a right to be listened to unchecked. You had Brian Stelter.

STU: Stelter.

GLENN: I can never say his name. Because I always think of Brian Setzer.

STU: Oh, the orchestra?

GLENN: Yeah. So you have Brian sitting there. And who is sitting on the other side of this kid? Dan freaking Rather. And you hear this kid make this argument that Dana is, you know, the NRA. Which is a little ridiculous. More than a little ridiculous.

And then you have him stick up for this sheriff, who nobody in their right mind is sticking up for the sheriff. No one in their right mind is sticking up for the sheriff.

And there's no discussion at all on -- there's no pushback on him.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: On saying, how does this make sense? I thought you wanted this to stop.

And what makes you think that passing a ban on some guns is going to make any of this stop? There's no evidence of that.

And here's some things that we could take care of right now. Because there could be another shooting, in your county, if this is happening with the sheriff's department. There's no pushback at all.

PAT: Yeah, no.

STU: Well, and I think the reason why the advocacy groups and a lot of the media really like these kids that are -- you know, were victims of this, or at least at the school where this occurred, was because of that. You can't push back. You can't push back on the arguments. So the arguments get smooth sailing. They get this nice clear empty highway to just drive down and say every liberal blog statement that's ever been put out there, without anybody saying anything. Because obviously, you can't push back. The kid obviously doesn't know these points.

PAT: Right.

STU: He's just -- he's obviously reading blogs and --

PAT: He's being exploited. He's being exploited by the left.

STU: Obviously.

GLENN: He's being a 16-year-old that is being given a national platform. That's what's happening.

STU: It's definitely not a word of criticism to him personally.

GLENN: No. But you have to be able to push back on the points, or there's no point in having him on.

PAT: May I remind you though, only you can prevent forest fires.

STU: Wow. Thank you, Pat.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?