“Gun Girl” Kaitlin Bennett interviews a pair of her contemporaries on the subject of politics and ideology.
The youngest population demographics entered this world connected to the digital matrix even before being thrust into an incubator, as their lifeclock sped from the blank tablet of triple zeroes into a frenzied conglomeration with the meticulous principles of quantum time. Directly from the onset of existence, at no other point in human history, had the flesh and the blood assimilated to the idea of digital convenience and the frenetic dash for validation, even before uttering their first word.
It boils down to a matter of blame, and if the indictment of deliberate cultural sabotage merits demonizing Generation Z, for their addictions and the propensity to employ the internet through a smartphone as a toy, rather than a tool, until they realize that the framework of the game allows for the individual financial prosperity if played right. Recently, a 2018 college graduate made headlines for a visit to a Ohio university campus, the resulting melee of incessant vapid social media jabs by account holders and bots the result of a peculiar set of events. Two points stand out to the American gun owner and supporter of self-defense, the young lady in question identifies as a guns rights activist, a title endorsed by the mainstream press, and the activist’s posts on a personal F***book page carry a vehement conservative tone.
Kaitlin Bennett, first made headlines as a Kent State alumnus, fresh from the indoctrinating classrooms of the university, and sharing her story with the internet community of not being allowed to carry her firearm during commencement ceremonies. Nicknamed “Gun Girl” by fans, Bennett responded in internet grandeur and controversial fashion, by photographing herself in borderline provocative fashion on campus with an AR-1o hanging from her shoulder, and a pointed sign warning detractors to try and take her guns, “or else”. The set of photos generated hysteria throughout the social networks, and in that instant, she became a sensation. Naturally, many firearms advocates gravitated to “friend” and interact with the newly crowned iconic minor celebrity, a phenomenon aided by her good looks, and the clear and direct message to the anti-gun lobby.
Fast forward two years later, and Bennett, also an advocate of anti-abortion, is back in the spotlight again, as she encountered a group of emotionally charged students during an appearance at Ohio University to interview subjects for her media channel, and was whisked away by a colleague driving a vehicle. Curiously, the activist claims that she did make plans of her visit public and information was “leaked out” onto the larger social network entities, an indication that something doesn’t seem plausible considering the amount of people waiting to greet her. The possibility exists that the complete affair was a publicity stunt in sparking personal gains for an individual attempting to reach celebrity status in the digital theater. Wikipedia lists Bennett as a “social media” personality with affiliation to the Infowars platform, a series of YouTube videos promoting her brand are tedious, if not painful to watch, in displaying the naïve characteristics of a generation attempting to find an identity.
The entire incident was recorded on video by multiple people, as the incited students collectively yelled choice words and pelted the pick-up truck with plastic water bottles, various detritus, and an unidentified liquid. Bennett has publicly decreed that the coed group of protestors are akin to terrorists, and has posted that campus police deliberately allowed protestors to break the law. However, the problem is not with the interaction between activists on both sides of the spectrum, but what the sordid narrative of the event does for the national perception of gun rights supporters in a crucial point in time where the mainstream media has trouble dealing with facts and reality, and the opposing side is employing incredulous and subversive methods on a national scale to discredit reasonable gun owners in ultimately limiting Constitutional rights.
The idea of “no press is bad press” aside, the polarizing presence of Bennett on public grounds was well within her rights, and the students assembling exercised their First Amendment rights, until a proportion of the crowd crossed the threshold into lobbing household paper products. From the free speech standpoint, the two groups were on equal grounds, however much like other incidents involving conservative political speakers at college campuses, most notably the series of Milo Yiannopoulos visits to Berkeley, and the University of Washington where the situation quickly deteriorated to violence, protestors took things to an intolerable level leading to chaos and prevented an disputed viewpoint from being presented. In the unfortunate culmination of a minor scandal, is the victor declared in having their beliefs shared through the specific content vernacular broadcast by newsrooms?
Certainly, the despicable behavior of the students is representative of a typical narrative of public disturbances on property shared by tax payers, while the response by Bennett in harshly labeling her contemporaries as threats to national security and describing the event as a “riot” is a visceral reactionary opinion possessing extremist tendencies. Again, in a national debate that begins and ends with the importance of perception, should the community of gun rights supporters claim Bennett as a legitimate mechanism for keeping the firearms conversation relevant, or are her antics that quite possibly serve an insidious ulterior-motive, damage any positive gains made through the Second Amendment sanctuary movement, or halting legislation that compromises basic rights?
Not everything adds up when examining the facts of the alleged incident, especially Bennett’s insistence that she didn’t formally announce her visit to the campus. In all probability, her viral stamp on the digital realm, especially within her age group garnered instant recognition which spread over the entire campus, and sparked a swift retort to the cumbersome political Q & A taped interview sessions that were to ensue.
But again, history is full of fools blindly following the flavor of the month, and those who choose to employ cognitive dissonance in making a judgement, rather than critical thinking skills. In an age where credibility is a rare commodity, it is up to the vigilance of citizens to remain skeptical until an individual proves their worth, and not simply award spokesperson status to somebody with a cause, a smartphone, and multiple social media accounts. A slew of larger news outlets have already taken the bait and have interviewed or featured the ongoing and undefined legacy of “gun girl”.
While Bennett certainly emanates a passion for Second Amendment rights and is a hardcore Trump supporter via social media, is her willingness to aggravate the hornet’s nest, and not engage in reasonable dialogue simply the mark of a reactionary, or a representation of an entire generation lacking the ability to effectively debate an issue without resorting to juvenile and emotional outbursts?
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