Last night, I took a photo: David Hogg at the White House Correspondents Dinner, pictured with Zion Kelly.
I’m a writer and a photographer. Living near the hotel, I thought I could get some photos of celebrities. But I arrived late and missed most of them.
With my Canon SL1 and a zoom lens, I captured this image of David and Zion posing on the red carpet. I was outside the glass doors of the hotel, standing in the driveway, near the spot where Reagan was shot in 1981. A small plaque marks the location.
Once home, I posted it to Twitter, thinking my followers would like it. I’m an admirer of the Parkland survivor. To be capable of speaking out after surviving a mass shooting – that is unimaginable to me. And that AR-15s should be banned is common sense.
David Hogg at the White House Correspondents Dinner #WHCD pic.twitter.com/miM8FrU38D
— Joe Flood (@joeflood) April 29, 2018
The tweet took off, with hundreds of mentions occurring in my timeline, as my photo was retweeted, liked and shared.
And commented upon. 95% of those comments were positive, recognizing David as a powerful voice for common-sense gun control.
This same power terrifies Trump supporters. David is an “other” – a boy who doesn’t know his place. In response to my simple photo, they replied with hate, insults and conspiracy theories.
Because they’re weak. If the Trump movement was strong, then they wouldn’t need to attack David. Even an image of this teenager triggers them.
With their online hate, Trump supporters betray themselves, surrendering to their fear, hoping for a few moments of relief from self-loathing and the knowledge that the country is slipping away from them.
I didn’t respond to my critics. They’re beneath me.
My photo was enough, with more power than an army of online trolls. Let it go out into the world and inspire others to make their voices heard.