The Parkland school shooting which claimed the lives of 17 people has fueled a movement of activism led by the students. In the forefront of the call for gun control, 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez has demanded that laws be reformed to make acquiring firearms more difficult. But a Republican candidate for Maine’s 57th Congressional District is adamantly opposed to the proposed measure and attacked Gonzalez on Twitter.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Leslie E. Gibson embarked on an angry tirade against the outspoken teen calling Gonzalez a “skinhead lesbian” who says nothing that impresses him. But Gibson didn’t end his assault there.
The uncontested state congressional candidate followed up the hateful insult with another tweet questioning the young activist’s sincerity. Gibson asserted that Gonzalez “was in a completely different part of the school” when the shooting took place. He said that referring to her a survivor was a misnomer.
The Feb. 14 mass shooting thrust both Gonzalez and her classmate David Hogg into the spotlight. The two Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have been leading rallies and doing press about the tragedy which has garnered much support along with scathing criticism.
Gibson offered more of the latter. He tweeted that Hogg is a “bald-faced liar” after the teen told CNN that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has control over certain members of Congress through a partnership with gun manufacturers.
After an apparent change of heart, Gibson later offered an apology to Gonzalez via Twitter. He called his attack on the young woman “wrong and unacceptable.” Gibson also acknowledged that she was doing work that she values and that he would extend his hand to her “in friendship and understanding,” the Portland Press Herald reported. The candidate’s social media accounts have been since disabled.
On Monday, Gibson defended his actions in-part. He explained that during his days in active service of the United States military, he vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution. However, in this case he took his patriotism too far. Gibson admitted that he was wrong to attack the students but he stands firm in his “defense of our constitutional rights.”
Leslie E. Gibson, a GOP candidate running unopposed for Maine House of Representatives, launched disrespectful personal Twitter attacks on two child survivors of Parkland Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School#ParklandStudents #LeslieGibson https://t.co/d4xzG0U0tM
— Bren Buras-Elsen (@brenisphere) March 13, 2018