It was difficult to miss the extensive coverage of the March For Our Lives that took place in Washington D.C. on Saturday, March 24, 2018. The demonstration that was planned in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida garnered a lot of attention. One of the individuals who took notice of the march was none other than Tomi Lahren. Lahren is no stranger to controversy, and her comment about the protest was immediately met with a flurry of Twitter reactions when Tomi Lahren's March For Our Lives tweet said the protest wasn't "for" anything.
Lahren tweeted her thoughts on the March For Our Lives around the same time the protests were taking place in Washington D.C. and across the country on Saturday, March 24. It appears as though Lahren did not approve of the protest's messaging since she tweeted, "Simply being anti-NRA is not a solution. March FOR something, not just against everything." Many people quickly responded to inform Lahren that they are fighting for a cause and that part of the mission is right there in the March For Our Lives name (see: for our lives).
For further clarification, the March For Our Lives' mission statement on their website states the "mission and focus" of the group is "to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues." While it is likely that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the "special interest groups" that March For Our Lives pleads is not "more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues," there is no mention of the NRA by name in the March For Our Lives mission statement.
Lahren's tweet aimed at criticizing the movement did not sit well with many people, and the responses pointed out that students and their supporters were fighting, as the name implies, for their lives and the ability to be safe from gun violence in the classroom.
"Claiming they're not marching FOR something when the name is March FOR Our Lives..."
"Literally called March FOR Our Lives."
"Their lives are something. Something they are marching FOR, in the millions, around the world."
"Oh, I guess you didn't hear. It's FOR gun control."
"Children are marching to not be murdered in their classrooms. Does that count for something?"
"You mean like for ... our lives?"
"We marched FOR those we have lost. We marched FOR smarter gun laws. We marched FOR our kids' futures. We marched FOR action."
"The name of the march is LIT-ERALLY the 'March FOR Our Lives.'"
"...American youth shout 'March FOR our lives' at 800 towns and cities across the country."
"It's literally called March FOR Our Lives."
Prior to Lahren's tweet criticizing her perception of March For Our Lives as solely anti-NRA, Lahren did say in a tweet that she was "proud to see the students using their First Amendment rights." In the same tweet, though, Lahren also said "that does not mean, however, that our Second Amendment rights go away. Free speech is saying what you want to say, but it’s also hearing what you don’t want to hear."
I'll stay away from the Second Amendment debate over the right to bear arms for now (since it deserves a more complete discussion than a sentence or two), but Lahren seemingly understands what it means to live in a democratic nation that values free speech. As Lahren said, the protesters who marched in the thousands in Washington D.C. on Saturday were protected by their right to free speech as they advocated for an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools and communities, and Lahren was free to share her thoughts about it.
In this case, though, it appears as though many people believed Lahren may have overlooked the entire mission and cause of the March For Our Lives protest before speaking about it, and they expressed their right to respond on Twitter to correct the mistake they felt she made. And given that their cause is right there in the name of the protest, it was not difficult to point it out.