August 16, 2022

A Trump fan just accused Florida shooting survivors of faking grief. A vets’ response is perfect.

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The student activists from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School went back to school this week for the first time since Nikolas Cruz’s violent massacre of 17 people with his AR-15 assault rifle.


The loss of so many of their cherished classmates and teachers means that things will forevermore be different for them, but the anti-assault weapon activism that the shooting inspired in them has also changed their lives forever.

They never before had to deal with strangers on the internet accusing them of being George Soros-paid actors or impugning their motives for trying to get the Florida state and the federal governments to finally address the issues of more stringent background checks, closing gun show and private sale loopholes, and banning the sale of assault rifles.

Even more disturbing than the internet abuse the student activists have received f” or their political stances regarding gun control is the pushback they’ve gotten on any of their social media posts that simply show them in the act of being normal teenagers who occasionally have fun and laugh, even amidst their intense grief.

One person who unilaterally decided that David Hogg, Emma González, and the other newly celebrated politically active students should not be allowed to show any signs of positivity while they continue to mourn the loss of their classmates and teachers and channel their grief into gun reform lobbying is the self-described “Christian, Proud DJT supporter, Conservative, Student, Politically Incorrect, Regional Director for @NewRightUS” Collin Rugg.

While Rugg calls himself a Christian, no true follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ could ever sink to the level of vitriolic assholery that Mr. Rugg did when he posted this offensive message on Twitter featuring a short video of three of the surviving Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students — who have been ubiquitous on news outlets the past two weeks — laughing and mugging for the camera like typical teens their age.

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Mr. Rugg is definitely not a “walk a mile in their shoes” kind of guy.

Luckily, more charitable people who have been through their own traumatic experiences came to the rescue to point out the utter offensiveness of the smug Conservative’s malevolent tweet.

Fred Wellman, a Fredricksburg, Virginia resident whose Twitter profile describes him as CEO of @ScoutComms, an Army veteran of Desert Storm and Iraq, a West Point & Harvard grad., #BCorp evangelist, dad, husband, and entrepreneur, replied to Mr. Ruggs tweet with a message of compassion and understanding for the students who have seen their best friends slaughtered in front of their own eyes.

Mr. Wellman’s charitably understanding response predictably received multiple times more retweets and likes than Mr. Rugg’s snide original tweet. Hopefully, Rugg will now go climb back under the rock he slithered out from under and meditate on the question he should have asked himself as a professed Christian before he sent his awful tweet: “What would Jesus (or any intelligent, sensitive, compassionate human being) do?

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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