Parkland reveals disgraceful aspect of Internet

We’ve all known how the Internet reveals evil intent as well as producing positive impact.

I present to you the Parkland, Fla., massacre and the outrage it has produced among high school students in that community as well as around the country.

It appears some right-wing trolls are spreading lies about the students, calling them “actors” hired to present anti-Donald Trump rhetoric while standing up for the FBI.

I have insufficient knowledge of the English language to express my utter disgust at these Internet trolls.

A gunman opened fire on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 17 people: 14 students and three educators. Police arrested the gunman and he now is accused of 17 counts of premeditated murder. The shooter reportedly plans to plead guilty so that he can avoid a death sentence.

But what about the students who are rallying this week in Tallahassee, Fla., to lobby state lawmakers to take action on gun violence? Are they “actors”?

No. They are not. They are survivors of a hideous act of violence committed against them and their friends and mentors.

That didn’t prevent an aide to a Republican Florida legislator from fomenting the lie that they are “actors.” The legislator fired the aide on the spot. He’s not alone, though. Other disgraceful trolls have sought to undermine the public statements of these students by alleging that they are hired by political interests that favor stricter gun control laws.

I am reminded of what a letter writer told me once while I was editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. I rejected the letter because it contained falsehoods. When I spoke to the writer over the phone to tell him why I was rejecting his letter, he answered that he knows its contents were true “because I read it on the Internet.”

I laughed out loud.

On this matter — regarding the lies being told about these grieving students — I would laugh, except that it’s not funny.

It is an utter disgrace.

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