Parkland, FL – School shooting survivor turned anti-gun activist David Hogg claimed he has been the target of at least seven assassination attempts in the past year.
Hogg, in an interview with The Washington Post, held himself up as a symbol for all of the students who survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.
A former student’s rampage at the Parkland high school left 17 students and staff dead and another 17 wounded.
In the wake of the shooting, Hogg formed a gun control advocacy group called “Never Again MSD” and went on a cross-country bus tour to educate the rest of the nation about the cause.
“Going to, like, 40 states and meeting people from every community, just to listen. I knew that I came from privilege before everything happened, but I never really, truly recognized what that meant,” Hogg, who will be attending Harvard in the fall, told The Washington Post.
“Sometimes that privilege is the greatest barrier for us seeing what other people go through in this country. But I think what it took for me was going to those people and talking to them. And when I look at gun violence, I see it through a lens of injustice now. Political injustice, economic injustice, racial injustice, colonial injustice,” he said.
Hogg’s attitude has made him a political lightning rod for people on both sides of the gun control argument.
“I was talking to one of the people in charge of public opinion polling about youth political issues at Harvard, and he tweeted something the other day that was really interesting: that licensing and registration [of guns] is going to be what in 2016 free college tuition and universal health care was,” said the 19 year old. “Something that everyone has to have an opinion on and will be talked about and will happen. That’s what I hope.”
“And if it’s not in 2020, it will be in 2022,” Hogg continued. “But we have the constituency of young people and everyone going out and voting and calling their congressmen and state legislators and saying, ‘I am a gun violence prevention voter. I am voting to protect our children in schools. If you don’t f--king care about our children, you shouldn’t be in office.”
He told The Washington Post that there have been seven assassination attempts on him over the past year, but it appeared he was referring in the most part to “swatting” attempts where people called the police and reported an ongoing incident at his home that wasn’t actually happening.
Hogg called those who have threatened him “misguided” and said killing him would be “probably the stupidest thing they could do to try to end the movement. Because that would make it even more successful in the end. Because it would invigorate us and create f--king change.”
The soon-to-be-college freshman said he was traumatized by what he labeled attempts on his life but said he has become “desensitized,” The Washington Post reported.
“Like, oh, your house got SWAT-ted,” Hogg said by example. “You got a call from the police saying someone said that everyone in your family had been killed and that you are being held hostage for $100,000. Right? That becomes part of daily life. It’s just something that you have to get through. But I mean, what am I going to do? Stop?”
He said he wasn’t going to stop but rather planned to go to school and learn how to “weaponize” his knowledge to end violence, The Washington Post reported.
During his bus tour, Hogg and his friends visited Ferguson, Missouri and met with the father of Michael Brown.
The community of Ferguson rioted for more than a week after witnesses falsely claimed that Brown had his hands up when he was shot by a Ferguson police officer after he robbed a local convenience store. The lies led to days of protests that became riots which eventually left the city burned and broken.
But Hogg described the rioting by the community as a reaction to “the constant political terrorization that that community went through from the National Guard and the military” and claimed the media framed the riots to look worse than they were.
“And how that was framed and filmed from a helicopter. Right? Filmed mostly at night to make it look like a violent protest where the entire city of St. Louis was on fire. And then we get there, and it’s about three blocks long. Like, it’s literally a McDonald’s and two gas stations, and that’s the entirety of Ferguson,” Hogg said, communicating his understanding of what happened in that city when he was 14 years old.