Grown-ups Defend Teen’s Right To Cuss Out Congress Over Gun Laws

Grown-ups Defend Teen’s Right To Cuss Out Congress Over Gun Laws

Months before protesters disrupted Kirstjen Nielsen’s dinner and the owner of a farm-to-table restaurant asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave and hecklers confronted Pam Bondi at a movie theater , 17-year-old Noah Christiansen walked out of class, called his congressman’s office, and said lawmakers should “get off their fucking asses.” By the phony standards of our national discourse, this was uncivil stuff — never mind that at the time of the call Christiansen was participating in a nationwide school walk-out to demand action on gun control, a civil cause in every sense. This was about a month after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people at a high school. Christiansen had placed a call to Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), a National Rifle Association-endorsed politician, who has called for loosening restrictions on gun sales. You might remember what happened next. Arturo Garzon, the staffer in Amodei’s office who’d taken the call, was unmoved by the high-schooler’s plea for life-saving intervention. But he was bothered by Christiansen’s use of profanity. And so he phoned up the kid’s school in Reno and tattled. Administrators at Robert McQueen High School suspended Christiansen two days for what it determined was an act of “defiance/disrespect/insubordination.” He was also told he couldn’t serve as the school’s class secretary. The incident was an early entry in our dispiriting National Civility Debate, in which people with little power are scolded by elites for expressing themselves in a manner commensurate with the stakes of […]

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