As someone who has spent a fair bit of time examining the news coming off of college campuses, it’s easy to forget there are a lot of students who support the Second Amendment. In a time when a number of both high school and college students are screaming for gun control, some of their peers feel the need to speak up.
To that end, right-leaning students at the University of Toledo decided to invite Gun Owners of America Executive Director Emeritus Larry Pratt to speak.
Controversy ensued at the University of Toledo when the school’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty hosted Larry Pratt, Executive Director Emeritus of Gun Owners of America.
The chapter, one of about 900 nationwide, invited Pratt to give a lecture Wednesday entitled “Eliminate Gun Free Zones” as a way to provide balance to the debate on gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting that left 17 dead.
Some students, however, were apparently uninterested in balanced debate, preferring to accuse the group of racism and white supremacy.
“Good afternoon. Just a reminder that @ToledoYAL is bringing white supremacist @larrypratt to speak on @UToledo ‘s campus today,” Connor Kelley, a member of the school’s College Democrats chapter, tweeted the day of the event.
“Today is the 50th anniversary of MLK’s assassination,” he added a few minutes later. “The students of @ToledoYAL decided to remember him by inviting a white supremacist to speak on campus.”
The College Democrats continued their harassment during the lecture, according to YAL Chapter President Jolie Schlievert.
“They smeared our speaker as a white supremacist and continually interjected in the speech,” Schlievert told Campus Reform, adding that their demeanor was extremely rude and that she “could not be more disappointed by their behavior.”
Nor were the College Democrats the only ones targeting YAL.
Other students tore down YAL’s posters advertising its event, putting up other posters in their place stating “White supremacy has no place here” and “Black Lives Matter Not White Supremacists.”
What the students have missed is that they throw the term “white supremacist” around so willy-nilly that it no longer has any sting. Even if the charge applied to Pratt — the Southern Poverty Law Center has been unable to find any racist quotes from him and can only link him as “racist” through one instance of questionable associations –no one cares because the term is applied to everyone to the right of Stalin.
Which might be why the event was a success despite the efforts.
Apparently, when you scream “white supremacist” at everyone you disagree with, after a while, people just start to tune you out. Like with the little boy who cried wolf, they no longer care, especially when they find the connections to actual racism are so tenuous.
In the process, they make it harder to spot the actual racists.
The truth of the matter is that Larry Pratt’s talk wasn’t about a leftist cause du jour. If it had been, his past associations would have been ignored. But because he supports the Second Amendment, he gets to play by a different set of rules that requires a level of perfection in all past associations that the other side doesn’t.