I get why some people become anti-gun activists after a mass shooting. I personally questioned my own stance on the Second Amendment–briefly, but still–when I lost a dear friend in a shooting. The way I see it, if someone who strongly believed in the Second Amendment could doubt, how could someone with no strong feelings not question things?
But it seems X Gonzalez, who we once knew as Emma Gonzalez, was one who did more than just doubt. She was one of the most vocal of the Parkland student activists.
She was knee-deep in March For Our Lives.
Now, she seemingly wants pity.
I say that because of an essay she wrote titled, “The Education of X González: After the Parkland shooting, I became an activist, a celebrity, a “survivor” — and the pressure almost killed me.”
I will not tell you my triggers, or the things I can no longer enjoy, because they are fluid and changing. Sometimes I look up at a sky with no clouds and all I can think of is how that was what the sky looked like on the day of the shooting, but sometimes I just think, I wish there were clouds because it’s so, so, so hot.
The strangest part of being a survivor was how badly strangers wanted to touch me, like I was a living relic. They’d shake my hand, or hug me, or lean on me to cry. They also wanted to tell me about the tragedies that touched them. So many voices saying how their loved ones had been gruesomely shot and killed. I’m an empathetic person, and I had no idea how to guard myself, how to turn away and toward myself. So I listened and I hugged these strangers back. Only months earlier, none of these people knew who I was. I was just a high-school kid in Parkland.
But look at the title and read the essay, and it’s pretty clear that Gonzalez–I have no idea what the hell is up with a first name of “X,” nor do I particularly care–is lamenting just how difficult her life was because of all of this.
Yet I can’t help but remember that Gonzalez chose this. She stepped into this willingly. She and her schoolmates jumped in front of every microphone and camera they could find, all in an effort to draw attention to themselves and, at least in theory, their cause.
It’s kind of hard for me to have any real sympathy for someone basically having gotten precisely what they wanted.
Further, it’s really hard to feel sympathy for someone who made it their mission to try and restrict the very rights I use to protect my family and my community. Gonzalez and her Parkland pals went out of their way to become famous, and now we’re supposed to just accept that the fame was some terrible burden?
Especially after writing stuff like this:
The country was looking at me and my fellow students, some of whom I had only just met, for our political leadership. Adults online were telling us how we should be acting in the face of this tragedy: that we shouldn’t joke around and risk appearing childish; that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. Some of the advice was given with good intentions. Some of it was trolling, using us to get attention. “You’re not interesting ’cause you went to a high school where kids got shot. Why does that mean I have to listen to you?” comedian Louis C.K. told an audience at a Long Island comedy club. “How does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I got to listen to you talking?” (He was widely criticized for this routine, including by Jim Carrey, who painted me towering over a teeny-tiny C.K. performing stand-up with his dick out.) Most of the media attention was aimed at myself and David Hogg. The two of us are pretty different people, but David was my best friend throughout this time, and we never would have survived all the shit thrown at us without each other.
She feels obligated not to just point out Louis C.K.’s comments–which, to be honest, were pretty accurate, but also that a comedy legend like Jim Carrey painted her as larger and more powerful than another comedy star.
Yet throughout the entire thing, I also recognized something. While Gonzalez wants pity for just how hard her life became after Parkland, she’s still tripping over herself to maintain her own fame. This is someone that had faded from memory but came roaring back with an essay calling attention to themselves.
I’m sorry, but I’m unswayed here.
Emma or X Gonzalez isn’t some noble hero. This is someone who got a taste of fame and now can’t seem to step away from it. I’m not going to feel pity here.