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A new epithet emerges for Parkland teens calling for more gun control: Nazis

The Washington Post logoThe Washington Post 3/28/2018 Eli Rosenberg
PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 24, 2018: A sign that markes a story line of school mass shootings in the USA from 1991 to the present during the March for Our Live on March 24, 2018, in downtown Portland, OR. Photos: March For Our Lives

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For weeks, the Florida teenagers who became activists after the Parkland school shooting have been subjected to harsh treatment by many of those critical of their calls for more gun control.

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First, many of the activists were smeared falsely as “crisis actors” by conspiracy theorists and hoaxers on the Internet in the immediate wake of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They continue to be lightning rods for some conservative media and politicians, despite some indications that they enjoy wide support nationally. Now, they are being likened to Nazis.

Memes comparing the Parkland students to Nazis have circulated at the fringes for days, but on Tuesday, they seemed to find a wider audience.

a person wearing a mask © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post Alex Jones, the conservative host of Infowars known for spreading baseless conspiracy theories, depicted two of the most prominent students, Emma González and David Hogg, in a jarring video that spliced images and videos of them into what appeared to be Nazi footage.

González and other, unnamed, protesters from Saturday’s March for Our Lives, were edited into footage showing young people making Hitler salutes in Nazi Germany.

Jones’s staff also played a Hitler speech over video of Hogg speaking at the march. Jones said the images were meant to communicate the “truly frightening historical iconography that you cannot deny in these parallels of this youth march.”

“Authoritarianism is always about youth marches,” he said.

Mary Franson, a Republican state representative in Minnesota, also appeared to link the student activists with the Hitler Youth, in Facebook posts on Saturday that drew wide condemnation, according to local media reports.

a group of people posing for the camera: Young people galvanized by the Valentine's Day school massacre in Parkland, Florida, are leading the movement against gun violence. Here are some of the most prominent faces of the #NeverAgain movement.  A group of Parkland shooting survivors led the charge in organizing Saturday's "March for Our Lives" in Washington - an event emulated in hundreds of cities and towns across the country and around the globe. They were joined on stage by many others who've been touched by gun violence, including young people of color whose communities have been disproportionately impacted. In the weeks since the massacre at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, some of the young activists have become  targets for right-wing conspiracy theories and viciously attacked online by those, including  sitting lawmakers, who disagree with their positions on gun regulation.  Meet some of the young people leading the movement against gun violence: Meet 6 of the most prominent young people leading the fight against gun violence

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After hundreds of thousands of people had marched in cities around the country, she shared posts critical of the students and their views on gun control that night, including one that quoted another person calling Hogg “Supreme Leader Hogg,” reports said. Then she shared a Hitler quote about how the views of youth in the Nazi movement were formed.

The post was widely seen as a not-so-subtle commentary on the Parkland students. Franson later deleted the post and released a statement saying that she had not intended for the Hitler Youth post to be related to the others.

“I did not intend for one Facebook post about those who are pushing for gun control to be connected to another, separate post I shared from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about ‘Indoctrinating Youth’,” she said in an emailed statement. “I’ve deleted the post to clear up any confusion.”

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