It wasn’t quite the infamous CNN Parkland, Florida town hall, but gun control advocates attempted to highjack a vigil for the victims of a recent Colorado high school shooting … and it did not end up as they had hoped.
Students and parents from the STEM School Highlands Ranch ended up walking out when individuals such as Democratic politicians Jason Crow and Michael Bennet began their advocacy in what was supposed to be an “interfaith memorial vigil” to “come together and heal,” according to 9News.com.
The event was organized by a group of students affiliated with the (gun control) Brady Campaign group Team ENOUGH. The gun control organization Moms Demand Action also was in attendance.
“STEM students who came to the event said they were frustrated to hear politicians speak, and grew angry as the conversation turned to gun control and policy. A large group stormed out of the event in protest. They demanded an opportunity to speak and were upset they weren’t given the chance earlier,” the local news station reported.
On Tuesday, one student was killed and eight injured when two of their classmates opened fire late in the school day.
Many STEM students later returned to the Highlands Ranch High School gymnasium and refocused the event back to the victims of the shooting.
“What has happened at STEM is awful, but it’s not a statistic,” one student told the crowd. “We can’t be used [as] a reason for gun control, we are people, not a statement.”
The crowd cheered loudly in response.
“This was not a vigil. This was purely a political stunt. This is not what we wanted for [shooting victim] Kendrick [Castillo],” said another student.
“We didn’t want Kendrick to be a prop. We wanted Kendrick to be mourned, we wanted all of you to join us in that mourning, but that was not allowed here.”
The Brady Campaign issued a statement apologizing for the injection of politics: “We are deeply sorry any part of this vigil did not provide the support, caring and sense of community we sought to foster and facilitate and which we know is so crucial to communities who suffer the trauma of gun violence.”
Meanwhile — and not to further politicize the issue but to point out the double standard — here’s something which won’t get a lot of media coverage: According to the New York Post, one of the alleged shooters, Devon Erickson, made and shared social media posts critical of President Trump and Christians, as well as those lauding former President Barack Obama.
The other accused shooter, identified as Alec McKinney but also goes by Maya McKinney, allegedly is gender transitioning to male.
According to Heavy.com, both of the accused are described by a friend as “struggling with ‘mental health issues’”:
Devon “did not do what he did because he’s liberal or to make a statement. He did it due to internal struggles. They’re both struggling with mental health issues and this is a time for awareness. Alec did not do this because he’s trans, but had people supported him in the way that he needed and deserved, he would not have struggled so much that he got pushed over the edge.”