The New York Times visited the district of a purportedly vulnerable Republican congresswoman to report “Gun Control and Fall Elections: Moment or Movement?” Reporting from Northern Virginia, Matt Flegenheimer and Jess Bidgood on Monday piled another log on the Democratic heat wave, chiding gun rights advocates as sometimes offering "unsavory" tactics, while letting teen anti-gunners be as classlass as they wish.
For more than a month now, the questions have ricocheted down this Main Street culled from a Norman Rockwell dreamscape -- past the dueling barbershops and the outdoor broom sale and the mural with the horse -- quietly at first, when the Florida massacre was still fresh, and then not so quietly.
Why would this time be different? Why should it be?
The Times found radical-sounding teens to offer unchallenged anti-gun activism.
“They’re looking for us to get bored,” said Rosie Banks, 17, a high school junior about 40 miles east in Sterling, Va., whose bedroom includes the “Am I Next?” sign she hauled across the capital last month and a fish named Malcolm X. “We’re not going to get bored.”
This has certainly not happened yet. Both before and after the march, high school students have shown themselves eager to hatch longer-term plans, with some plotting together last week through their spring breaks.
The reporters found a supposedly vulnerable Republican target:
In this stretch of Northern Virginia, students are trying to organize a town hall with Representative Barbara Comstock, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress, recognizing that her support from the National Rifle Association could be a drag in a district that preferred Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The Times sounds like it’s picking sides, setting Comstock up for defeat.
Even less politically active students in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District have learned Ms. Comstock’s name. “They know who she is,” said Paige Thimmesch, 16, Ms. Banks’s classmate in Sterling, Va., who is hoping to arrange the forum with the congresswoman. “They don’t know every single policy. They do know that she is pro-gun.”
The only Times criticism available was for gun-rights supporters:
Gun owners, mindful that flurries of mass activism have often dissipated on their own after past shootings, are still taking no chances. Some efforts have been unsavory: Survivors of the Parkland, Fla., massacre in February have been the subject of internet conspiracy theories and bizarre fictions. More civic-minded supporters of gun rights are discussing counter-rallies this month to demonstrate their collective might.
The Times let the students be nasty to their opponents, who would die off soon anyway.
“We’ll outlive them,” said Sean Monteith, 17, a junior at Lewiston High School, adding that he hoped his peers would be able to outvote them, too....
Classy. And they accuse Trump of fostering political incivility and gun activists of being "unsavory."
The Times eagerly cheered the kids on against Rep. Comstock.
In Virginia, the party had already long targeted Ms. Comstock, casting her as a poor fit for a district that includes some rural pockets, like Berryville, but also left-leaning Washington suburbs and vast reserves of more moderate voters repelled by Mr. Trump. “Barbara Bump-Stock,” said Candy Baracat-Donovan, 34, from Leesburg, Va., whose morning routine now includes a round of phone calls to the offices of representatives like Ms. Comstock.
A photo caption underlined the partisan effort and trying to use the NRA as a millstone: “Representative Barbara Comstock of Virginia, a vulnerable Republican in the midterm elections. She has drawn support from the National Rifle Association.”