If you know anything about Derick Dillard, Jill Duggar's husband, you're probably aware that he regularly airs his controversial views on Twitter. Dillard, out of all the Duggar family members, is arguably the most vocal about his conservative values and he's not shy about offending fans. Case in point: Derick Dillard's comment about the Parkland shooting survivors is upsetting *a lot* of people. Dillard did not immediately respond to Romper’s request for comment.
Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, there have been a lot of discussions about tightening gun safety laws and keeping America's schools safe. Leading these conversations are students who survived the shooting, including but not limited to: Jacqueline Coren, Emma González, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, and Alex Wind. Not only is the group in the midst of organizing the March For Our Lives events across the country, but the students have also taken to countless news outlets to voice their opinions on the National Rifle Association and to share their concerns about gun violence in America. Many Americans are impressed with the students' activism, to say the least, and their actions have inspired countless citizens to get involved in the gun safety debate.
As for Dillard, however, he's not as impressed with the students. In fact, Dillard believes that some news outlets, like CNN, are "using' the high schoolers to "push" their "liberal agendas." Dillard took to Twitter on Wednesday to issue his opinion after he came across a CNN article about Hogg and González. In the Feb. 20 article, González and Hogg discussed the desperate need for gun safety measures and they also called out politicians for taking money from the NRA.
"This has gotten a little ridiculous; at least 2 networks are now using kids to push their liberal agendas," Dillard wrote in his message, according to Twitter. "It’s obviously not all about the kids when voices like @KyleKashuv aren’t as elevated. Liberal Media... at least be consistent so you can hide your biased tactics better."
If you're not familiar with the name Kyle Kashuv, he is another student who survived the mass shooting in Parkland. Kashuv, a self-identified supporter of President Donald Trump and a Republican, according to CNN, has also spoken out on gun safety measures. Unlike many of Kashuv's classmates, however, his comments about gun violence prevention have centered around mental illness. Kashuv explained, according to The Los Angeles Times:
We have such a limited government that should not be totally reliant on ... the police. We should be able to defend ourselves as citizens. I still totally believe that, but I think that there should be a limit to who could acquire such weaponry. If you're not of the right mind-set, you're not mentally stable, then you should not be able to acquire that.
Although numerous studies have proven that people with serious mental illness are rarely violent, and that they're responsible for less than 1 percent of gun-related deaths, it's a safe bet Dillard supports Kashuv's view that gun violence is linked to mental illness.
While Dillard is entitled to his opinion, of course, not many people are happy that he chose to express his view by referencing González and Hogg in his tweet. For starters, Dillard's tweet seems to imply that González and Hogg are being manipulated into talking to news outlets or that their outcry isn't genuine. Considering it took a lot of strength for González and Hogg to speak out following the deaths of their 17 classmates, it's no surprise this notion is upsetting people.
As for other fans, they couldn't help but point out that the Duggar family regularly employs it's children to "push" its conservative agenda and anti-abortion views.
Interestingly enough, Dillard wasn't deterred by the backlash. In fact, Dillard upset people even more when he defended his initial tweet with a message about transgender reality star, Jazz Jennings.
In response to an article critiquing Dillard's tweet, he responded, according to Twitter:
No, I criticized the media’s use of kids again...like @TLC uses Jazz. My heart goes out to the victims, but all ideas should be heard, and subjected to criticism.
Of course, the implication that Jennings is being "used" by TLC did not sit well with fans.
Dillard's tweets are problematic for a few reasons, but especially because they attempt to invalidate the people he's attacking. In Dillard's mind, González and Hogg are just puppets for the liberal media while Jennings is a helpless child being manipulated by a major network. Essentially, Dillard is resorting to hurtful (and common) tactics to undermine arguments he doesn't agree with, like the fact that transgender people do exist.
As most Counting On fans know, however, Dillard will not appear on another season of the show ever again. Although Dillard denies he was fired from the network for harassing Jennings and for referring to transgender people as a "myth," according to People, I'm not sure the truth really matters at this point. What's more important is that Dillard no longer has the pulpit of TLC to air his views.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.