“They All Owned Weapons”
This meme is a response to a response: It attempts to show that some of the founding fathers were pretty young (like the student activists who survived the Parkland school shooting in February 2018), but still knew what they were doing when they created the USA (like the student activists who survived the Parkland school shooting who are urging gun control). I checked the ages as of 4 July 1776 of those pictured. All were accurate, except for Lafayette—
- Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (b. 6 September 1759): age 16
- James Monroe (b. 28 April 1758): age 18
- Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee III (b. 29 January 1756): age 20
- Nathan Hale (b. 6 June 1755): age 21
- Aaron Burr Jr (b. 6 February 1756): age 20
- Alexander Hamilton (b. 11 January 1755): age 21
James Madison (b. 16 March 1751) was relatively young, too, at age 25. But there were more senior members among the founders: Thomas Jefferson (age 33), John Adams (age 40), George Washington (age 44) and, of course, grandpa Benjamin Franklin (age 70).
The point of the original meme was to show that the student activists who survived the tragic mass murder at their school in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2017, are old enough and educated enough to demand action from those with power to make some changes in gun laws that will prevent the next mass murder of children.
The point of the response to the meme by “Pat Patterson” is less clear. Is he saying the high school student activists are not entitled to free speech? Or are they are not entitled to attend school without being shot? As for the specifics listed by “Pat Patterson”—
- “And they all owned weapons” We do not know if this is true and do not think it relevant: they were all in the military in 1776, so they certainly had access to weapons. Besides, the six individuals pictured in the meme lived in a time when weapons likely were needed for hunting and fighting off the “savages” on whose stolen land they lived. Many states made weapon ownership a legal requirement. We’re pretty sure these Founders did not carry weapons except for those purposes, or to go to war, and certainly did not take them to school. And it goes without saying that 18thcentury weapons were not capable of killing 17 people in seven minutes.
- “They all had jobs” Lafayette came from a wealthy French family, so he was able to receive an officer’s commission at age 13; however, he was not given command of troops until he was 21. In 1776, James Monroe joined the 3rd Virginia Regiment in the Continental Army and was promoted to lieutenant because the orphaned youth was rich enough have learned to read—so, yes, he had a job. Henry Lee, another wealthy, educated youth, dropped out of law school to become a captain in the Virginia dragoons, which was attached to the 1st Continental Light Dragoons—so, yes, he had a job. In 1776, Nathan Hale accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment—so, yes, he had a job (he became a spy for the George Washington later that year). Aaron Burr also dropped out of law school to join the Continental Army and then quit George Washington’s staff to serve on the battlefield—so, yes, he had a job. Alexander Hamilton, while studying law, joined a New York volunteer militia, raised an artillery company and took part in the campaign of 1776 around New York City—so, yes, he had a job. All six pictured in the meme were military men, pretty much the only job available in colonial America outside of apprenticeships and/or trades.
- “They all lived on their own” This is true: they were all white, wealthy and (most of them) military officers. But this has nothing to do with intelligence, or eloquence, or the right to protest being shot in school.
- “They were all financially independent” Because military pay was poor, that would have to be true. But this has nothing to do with intelligence, or eloquence, or the right to protest being shot in school.
- “They all knew what gender they were” Now “Pat Patterson” gets silly. None of the Parkland survivors brought this up. It appears this is inserted to taunt liberals with the tired characterization of being more concerned with gender rights than, presumably, gun rights. It is irrelevant to the right to protest being shot in school.
- “And, so far as I can tell, they didn’t need ‘safe spaces’ to get away from ‘offensive’ or ‘hurtful’ things people said” None of the Parkland survivors brought this up, either. The only ‘safe spaces’ they want are in their school—which is why they argue for gun control.
Indeed, the forceful rhetoric and intelligent argument of the Parkland student activists should put “Pat Patterson” to shame. But it appears that conservatives know nothing about shame: otherwise, they would not insult the students who watched a preventable hail of gunfire resulting in the deaths of their friends.