Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student turned gun control activist, David Hogg, was the distinguished speaker at Penn State’s Student Programming Association day on Friday, January 18th. The event, titled “Engage in Change: Our Generation Must Own Democracy,” was paid for by Penn State’s student-initiated fees, a mandatory payment by all Penn State students.
The event, said to be sold out, interestingly featured several rows of empty seats. In order to get into the Heritage Hall venue, guests had to go past armed police officers and levels of security first. Audio and video recording were strictly forbidden by event organizers.
Hogg began by discussing gun laws and attacking the “agenda driven” NRA, saying “when the NRA tells you that the only way to stop a bad guy a gun is with a good guy with a gun, they are just trying to sell you two guns.” He made claims that the NRA is a political tool of Russia and made it his goal to get every politician with an A rating from the NRA voted out of office.
Hogg branched out into topics other than gun violence as well, raising left-wing talking points about racial injustice and a historical guilt of America. He continually referred to the need to combat systematic racism and gave a firsthand story about meeting a 16-year-old African American girl who had been incarcerated and pregnant, just like her mother. “This is not an example of poor decision making, it is the result of systematic racism,” he claimed. He also asserted that everyday shootings in the inner cities get little press coverage due to the fact that inner cities are home to predominantly non-white people. In reference to current discussions about border security, David Hogg said: “with all this talk about legal and illegal, how do we forget that this is actually stolen land?”
The main point of his speech was his determination to get all “young people” to “vote for change” in a country that “desperately needs it.” He told the audience that we need more young people to run for office because “we are the ones who can actually create real change.”
Hogg has faced opposition on campus, at home, and nationally. His Friday event drew a sizeable group of pro-2nd Amendment protestors. Other students from Stoneman Douglas have opposed Hogg’s message, notably Kyle Kashuv, who has made a name for himself by teaming up with The Daily Wire as a voice for the progun movement. Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter in the shooting, is now in discussions to be appointed to the Florida State Board of Education after pushing back against Broward County Officials.
Hogg has also been accepted to Harvard, despite his 1270 SAT score being well below that of the vast majority of Harvard students (and about average for Penn State), in what appears to be a stunning example of political activism by the school’s administration.
Hogg continues to be a polarizing figure, mostly due to his willingness to be used as a puppet by an agenda driven left-wing media. Clearly this has paid off for him, but the decision of the Penn State SPA to host him as a speaker remains questionable, especially because they gave no opportunities for rebuttal.