High School Gun Humpers' Walkout Was Astroturf Operation, Big Surprise
Remember how the awesome teens from Parkland, Florida, were being derided as mindless dupes of the Liberal gun grabbers, or maybe even crisis actors deployed by the Deep State? Kids like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg clearly couldn't have mobilized a giant school walkout or a national protest on their own, so obviously, sinister forces had paid them. Of course, there was no proof of anything like that (although, yes, national groups did join in after the kids got the ball rolling). Then in May, a few wingnut teens held their very own "Stand Up for the Second" (Amendment) demonstrations, and rightwing media cooed about all the brave kids who dared to defy the commie brats (who were, again, all tools of Big Liberalism anyway). Big surprise: the "Stand Up for the Second" thing was pretty much all scripted by the "Tea Party Patriots" group, as documented by a cache of badly-secured online documents uncovered by an internet security firm this week.
The trove of documents was found in an "Amazon S3 storage bucket" by security company UpGuard, which let the Tea Party crowd know it had left a couple gigabytes of data -- including its phone contact list -- out on the interwebs without any security or password. That was very nice of the cybersecurity folks, who detailed the find on their blog. The kids at Gizmodo also bring us a bunch of fun details from the astroturfed pro-gun marches, which were covered by a surprising number of media outlets as it they were all the brainchild of one motivated gun-loving teen with a great idea.
Aside from CNN and handful of local reports, the media solely attributed the planning of the pro-gun protests to a New Mexico high school senior: Will Riley, the author of a newspaper op-ed titled, Parkland Students Don't Speak for Me or My Generation.
The "Stand for the Second" school walkouts were staged specifically as a response to the "March for Our Lives" demonstrations attended on March 24 by more than a million protesters nationwide. Save for the National Review, top conservative outlets mostly credited Riley alone with planning and carrying out the event. The
Daily Caller, for example, did not identify the Tea Party Patriots as organizers in its May 2nd coverage, even though the group's chairman, Jenny Beth Martin, had already penned an op-ed for the website taking credit.
Well why would Tucker Carlson's House Of Anxious Uncles want to start being honest after all these years? Tea Party Patriots had all sorts of advice for teens wanting to run their very own spontaneous pro-gun demonstrations, pointing them to rightwing Twitter accounts for ideas, or just plain handing them canned talking points written by "our friends" at the Heritage Foundation. Here's a sample!
The packet of how to be spontaneous free thinkers on gun rights material even included suggested messages to share on Twitter and Facebook -- hopefully in a digital form, for easy copy-pasting, because who knows whether gun-humping teens can be trusted to spell stuff right just by looking at it.
Tea party Patriots even provided some sample signs, with such "hip," "with-it" messages as these, ready to go (in Comic Sans? Why not!)
Looks like the message got through! Here's one kid who loves the #2A and knows handwritten signs should include hashtags, just like in the example:
#standsecond #2A https://t.co/lT3Ce5ZAXP— Amoret Jo🇺🇸 (@Amoret Jo🇺🇸) 1525278773.0
The operatives who wrote the guide even did their very best to include passages meant to sound like they might have been written by a real high school student who carefully scanned the Daily Caller for writing tips, like "We know that our silence won't cut it anymore," or
We have not ignored the huge movement of our peers against these fundamental human rights and liberties, but the American people must know not all of our generation shares in the short-sighted destruction of our Constitution.
OK, fine, both of those were also included on the event's website -- where the main page insists the whole thing is the creation of young Will Riley, that smart teen organizing really hard all by himself:
Nothing on the site indicates any connection to Tea Party Patriots, of course. But we bet we can guess where information sent to the "contact us" page ends up. But don't call it a case of projection: after all, the astroturfed pro-gun march came well after the rightwingosphere accused the Parkland kids of being duped by the Monolithic Left, so it's... uh... an homage to projection.
But just because the whole thing was astroturf from start to finish doesn't mean there aren't any real high school kids enthusiastic about having their own march for guns. Just look at this fine young man, Lucus Bendzsa, daring to "think for himself" and not "go along with the crowd," as cited in May by HuffPo -- which like so many other sites, attributed the marches to that Riley kid:
"We are all not ideologically aligned as much as the media portrays us as such," Bendzsa told HuffPost in an email. "We are, as Kayne West said, 'independent thinkers.' We form our own opinions and we are stout in what we believe"[...]
"It's not all a bunch of uneducated rednecks like the media portrays," Bendzsa said. "I am a concealed carry permit holder, and I am valedictorian of my high school. ... I don't fit the media narrative. There are a ton of people like me who also don't fit that narrative."
"Us millennials are not cookie cutters," he continued. "We are all unique and different with our own ideas."
We'll give him this much: none of those things appear to be from a Tea Party Patriots handout, so good on Lucus. He'll be waving a sign with a fake Thomas Jefferson quotes on it at an NRA rally before you know it. They grow up so fast.
[Gizmodo / UpGuard / HuffPo / Header Image modified from original photo by Lorie Shaull, Creative Commons license 2.0]
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