Indian American Commentator Apologizes Over Remarks on Florida Shooting Survivors

Author-filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza called the Florida students' reaction "politically orchestrated grief."


Indian American conservative author-filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza faced backlash recently for his comments about the survivors of the mass shooting that took place on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

In a series of tweets, D’Souza dismissed the grief and shock the children faced after learning that lawmakers in Florida voted against a ban on guns. He was criticized by people both online and offline. Fort Bend County’s Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce cancelled an event where D’Souza was scheduled to speak on “The Case for Capitalism.”

“Genuine grief I can empathize with. But grief organized for the cameras — politically orchestrated grief — strikes me as phony & inauthentic,” D’Souza tweeted on Feb. 20. In another tweet that day, he wrote, “Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs,” in response to a photo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students’ reaction to lawmakers deciding against a ban on assault weapons.

He later apologized for his tweets, which were condemned by conservatives as well.

Those condemning him did not mince words when they said:

His critics also tweeted about his “empty apologies.”

D’Souza, who is the author of the books, 2016: Obama’s America and Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, was sentenced to five years of probation in 2014 for violating federal campaign finance laws.

However, the conservative commentator continues to defend gun rights. In one of his latest tweets, he said, “The FBI failed. The sheriff’s deputies failed. Shouldn’t we correct these human failures before blaming inanimate objects like the gun?” He made the comment in response to a report that said that four Broward county deputies waited outside the school during the mass shooting in Florida. The sheriff, Scott Israel, has resigned since then.

The mass shooting has reopened discussions around gun laws in America but lawmakers have sought alternate routes like arming teachers at schools.

An Indian American student was injured in the shooting, in which 17 people died. An Indian origin mathematics teacher Shanthi Vishwanathan was also present in the school, and she saved the students in her classroom with her presence of mind. She told them to crouch down in one corner of the room, shut the doors, and covered the windows with paper, blocking the view of the classroom.

Correction: The article has been updated to include the name of the Fulshear Area of Chamber of Commerce in Fort Bend County in Texas.

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