The Oathkeepers — a right-wing anti-government militia group — say Parkland survivors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg are “the enemy.”
During a two-and-a-half-hour webinar hosted on their website on Monday night, leaders and spokesmen for the Oathkeepers also pledged to show up armed with AR-15 rifles at public schools, “whether they want us to or not,” ostensibly to protect teachers and students from school shooters. However, the militia members’ motivations are dubious, given that prominent gun fanatic David Codrea referred to the two most outspoken survivors of the Parkland massacre “the enemy” during the webinar.
While it wasn’t a direct death threat, Codrea’s rhetoric isn’t the first threat of violence the Parkland survivors have faced at the hands of overzealous gun owners. Rebecca Boldrick, who is Hogg’s mother, told the Washington Post that her family has received death threats as a result of her son’s activism. Hogg, Gonzalez, and other Stoneman Douglas students who survived the deadly February 14 shooting that left 17 of their classmates and teachers dead have been calling for the ban on assault weapons to be reinstated, and for Congress to pass expanded background checks that include online gun sales and sales from independent vendors.
Codrea has a pattern of using that term to describe advocates for gun reform legislation. In an October 2017 blog post (after the Las Vegas massacre that left 59 people dead and over 500 injured), Codrea used that same term to describe parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, in reference to their presence at an oral argument in the Connecticut Supreme Court.
“What motivates a person to become your enemy is not as important as the fact that he has chosen to be your enemy and presumes to take what is yours by force,” Codrea wrote. “They are the ones forcing us to harden our hearts.”
Talking Points Memo (TPM) also reported that during the Monday night webinar, Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes suggested to militia members that police may have allowed the Parkland shooting to carry on unabated as part of a grand conspiracy to take away Americans’ firearms. TPM reporter Allegra Kirkland, who did yeoman’s work of sitting through the entire ordeal, also reported that Codrea didn’t make his statements on video to other militia members watching the stream, as he had apparently been battling a bout of pneumonia and was in a bathrobe at the time of the webinar.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Grit Post does not publish the names of mass shooters, and we discourage other media outlets from doing so in order to avoid contributing to future mass shootings by making killers famous.)
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.