Grief is Not a Political Platform

Good for these kids. And shame on all of the opportunists who jump on their grief to advance their tyranny agenda.

It was meant to be a vigil for Kendrick Castillo, who was killed after he charged one of the two classmates who opened fire at his school in suburban Denver just the day before.

But the gathering at a neighboring school Wednesday night quickly turned political. There were speeches by politicians and at least one activist from the gun control group Moms Demand Action.

Some students from the STEM School Highlands Ranch, where nine students were shot Tuesday, reacted with anger, walking out in protest. There were chants of “mental health” and shouts of “f-ck the media” and “f-ck this.” One student, who later took the podium, said, “We can’t be used for a reason for gun control. We are people, not a statement.”

STEM School senior Fischer Argosino, who was at the vigil, told TIME the handling of the event was “inappropriate” and “disrespectful.” He said he resents the politicization of the students who had just lost a friend and experienced the trauma of yet another school shooting.

“We needed a time to mourn his passing and kind of process what happened. Because I would say it still doesn’t feel real,” Argosino said.

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