In the misguided attempt to prove just how responsible they are with guns, conservative teens have recently popularized the baffling trend of posing for graduation photos with their respective firearms. (Because nothing says “responsible” like a soft focus.) However, one student recently took the trend to troubling new heights when she chose to pose with her gun on a college campus.
Kaitlin Bennett, a senior at Kent State University, recently decided to flaunt her conservative politics by taking her graduation day photos with her beloved rifle. The look was completed by a decorated graduation cap reading, “Come And Take It.”
One of the graduation photos was shared on Twitter by Drunk America, accompanied by the caption, “An armed graduate is a safe graduate.”
An armed graduate is a safe graduate pic.twitter.com/fFUoUDKOs2
— DrunkAmerica.com (@drunkamerica) May 13, 2018
Obviously, many people took issue with the uncomfortable and tasteless juxtaposition of an assault rifle on a school campus — particularly the Kent State campus, where unarmed students were gunned down in 1970 for protesting the Vietnam War.
A white person with a gun at school? Safe? LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO https://t.co/B4Vm2YZ3pJ
— Turbo (@Treysouls) May 14, 2018
Kent State University, the site where 4 unarmed students where killed on May 4th 1970 while protesting the Vietnam War and promoting peace. This picture is a LITTTTTLE tastless and KSU is probably not the place to push your gun agenda. ? https://t.co/3ZicPUTrCU
— Ky (@kykalinowski) May 14, 2018
I just want to know. Y’all really let her come to a college campus and proceed to take graduation pictures with an assault rifle on her back. ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS. https://t.co/GjAtYagCu4
— D’angelo (@justkalin_) May 14, 2018
Not entirely sure why you need a gun on a campus where the only people that have ever been shot were peaceful protesters? https://t.co/732SWqmDrK
— Emma ?? (@emma_osborn) May 13, 2018
A white person walking with a rifle towards a school, unfortunate picture pose https://t.co/iMYTSj1t04
— Spicy Emo Meme (@ThyArtIsMemes) May 14, 2018
And of course, there’s the obvious white privilege of the fact that Bennett can openly carry an assault weapon without worrying about her safety/getting arrested.
Kinda curious how white folks can call the police on black people who are cooking out or sleeping in their dorms but their children openly toating around death machines is seen as a God given right. https://t.co/uv1DY3Opi2
— ✊?Black Aziz aNANsi✊? (@Freeyourmindkid) May 14, 2018
Native American kids can’t mind their own business on a college tour without getting the cops called on them, but Bullet-proof Becky over here can walk around with a whole-ass gun and get praised for it? OK. https://t.co/Obd95hWSuz
— blast off (@thebOOty2k14) May 14, 2018
Imagine if a brown person did this…they would literally shout terrorist smh https://t.co/CdkPrGkIzV
— daku ??♀️ (@BalwinderSingh0) May 14, 2018
so let me get this straight.. y’all will call the cops on black people for literally just existing… but Lakynn over here can carry an assault rifle on school grounds like it’s her damn backpack with no trouble.. isn’t that qwhite interesting https://t.co/w814AWZs69
— riley (@lgbtop) May 15, 2018
As journalist Parker Molloy pointed out, the photoshoot makes even more sense considering that Bennett has been active in organizing controversial conservative events on campus in the past — such as one which featured a “Safe Space,” i.e., a baby pen with students in diapers.
Bennett eventually quit the organization when the stunt received backlash and she was actually forced to be held accountable for her actions. She stepped down from her post in a very public manner by penning a (highly fussy) blog post on the conservative site Liberty Hangout.
Well, Kaitlin, you might want to prepare yourself for more backlash — because if toting an assault rifle around campus and posing for glamour shots with it isn’t baiting a debate, then I don’t know what is.