TRAGEDY IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE – A few days ago, Kevin D Williamson was taking a stand at “National Review” against conspiracy-mongering in certain less reputable sections of the right:

Enough with the rancid conspiracy theories.

First it was the Holocaust, now Parkland — is there any act of depravity to which the less respectable right-wing media cannot imagine a connection for George Soros?

David Clarke, the sheriff of Fox News, insisted that the Florida students’ reaction to the shooting “has GEORGE SOROS’ FINGERPRINTS all over it,” idiotic capitalization in the original and, one assumes, in his soul. The idiots at Gateway Pundit suggested that one of the student survivors was a fraud because — get this — he’d been interviewed on television before about an unrelated incident. Dinesh D’Souza joined in to mock the students as patsies.

I agree with Williamson that “Soros is a genuinely nasty guy, and his influence extends into some of the worst crevices of the Left”, but seeing his nefarious influence behind every event out there replaces politology with demonology, turning one individual, however rich and influential, into a sort of a singular Illuminatus/Elder of Zion hybrid.

But just because Soros is not to be found under every bed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what seem like spontaneous, grass-roots, bottom-up social phenomena don’t get a helping hand to make them much more successful much faster.

Case in point: the Parkland students campaigning for “gun control” in the wake of the massacre at their school, about whose meteoric rise to activist stardom I blogged about yesterday.

To say that there is more to the phenomenon than meets the eye is not to suggest that that its success is not real or genuine. Clearly, gun control is a very popular and heart-felt cause for a large section of the American population. And people out there respond much better to causes expressed though personal stories rather than abstract principles or cold facts and statistics – in this case the kids who survived the shooting now campaigning against semi-automatic weapons versus the the theoretical need to “do something” about guns.

But the rise and rise of Hogg, Gonzalez and their friends was not preordained or inevitable, and neither was its extent. How many other prominent survivors of previous school shootings can you remember?

From Buzzfeed News:

Democratic US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Broward County resident for nearly 30 years, told BuzzFeed News she has been in touch with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas since the day after the shooting, helping them connect to state legislators and plan their trip to Tallahassee last week.Wasserman Schultz said that because this is the first time many of the students have interacted with legislators, she advised them on communication strategy. She also said she been in contact with Mark Kelly — Gabrielle Giffords’ husband and one of the founders of the Giffords foundation.

As another ruthless Democratic operative, Rahm Emmanuel, has once famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Wasserman Schultz, better known in recent times for the many mysteries surrounding her laptop and her Pakistani IT man, saw an opportunity and jumped into action when the bodies at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were still warm in order to plug the youngsters into the progressive PR machine and amplify their voices throughout the American body politic. Now, of course, every left-wing group and organisation under the sun is feeding into the anti-gun crusade generated by the Parkland shooting. But it all started within 24 hours, before anyone even knew all the facts of this terrible crime.

It’s all a bit ghoulish and a whole lotta common. Everyone in politics does it, but the left are just so much better at it. Hats off to them, if that sort of thing appeals to you.