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Every time you read something about the kids of Stoneman Douglas High School and their anti-gun efforts, the word “survivor” is attached. It is, of course, a conscious choice on the part of the media and the rest of the far left to confer to these children a moral authority that they would not otherwise have. But are all of them really “survivors?”
There were 17 fatalities that day and the indictment filed against the killer also lists 17 charges of attempted murder — and it specifies that each of these 34 individuals was shot. Some of these kids were just grazed and were home from the hospital by nightfall. Others needed multiple surgeries and are still in recovery. But the ones who are walking around protesting, such as media darlings David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, are they truly “survivors?”
Interestingly, when former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis passed in 1994 her New York Times obituary did not refer to her as a survivor. Nor did they use that term when former Texas Governor John Connally — who took a bullet in the back — when he passed the year before. But by 2003, the Times was trumpeting Nellie Connally, the Governor’s widow, as “a survivor” of the JFK assassination. (Headline from an anniversary story: “40 Years After Shots in Dallas, A Survivor’s Painful Memories.”)
The press has no problem puncturing (or trying to puncture) the military résumés of politicians, particularly if they’re Republicans. Joni Ernst was taken to task when she described herself as a “combat veteran” in her run for the Senate. Andrew Reinbach, writing in The Huffington Post on Feb. 6, 2015, said:
Real combat veterans I spoke to don’t think much of how the Senator talks up her combat duty. Larry Hanft, for instance, who earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge fighting in Vietnam, says, “By her definition, everybody who stepped off the plane in Kuwait is a combat veteran. Joni Ernst is using her military experience to gain a political edge and pull the wool over the eyes of the American people. She’s a fraud…” Mr. Hanft is one of Sen. Ernst’s constituents.
When Rep. Mike Coffman (R–CO) mixed it up with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald in that same year, his credentials as a “combat veteran” were also questioned. Coffman, who did two Middle East tours and earned the Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon in the first one, was criticized for mixing it up with McDonald who is a West Point grad. The Washington Post ended up doing one of their infamous “fact checks” on whether the congressman was engaging in “stolen valor.”
And the Corps does make the distinction.
So, while we want to parse the bravery of our military, we’re conferring a higher status on anyone within or near the building during the Parkland shooting whether they were in actual danger or not. By that measure, even the Cowards of Broward, the Deputy Sheriffs, might be considered “survivors.”
If you walk away from an airplane crash, or you’re injured and medical intervention keeps you alive, or you’re lost at sea or in the woods and get out, those kinds of things make you a survivor, not the political wishes of others.