After the 2017 shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, then-17-year-old survivor David Hogg and several of his young classmates forced the nation to sit up and have a tough — and different — conversation about gun violence. The teens marched for their lives, and challenged seasoned gun lobbyists and lawmakers on live television. They led protests and boycotts, and inspired young people across the country to register and vote for candidates who support more stringent gun control.
On Tuesday, Hogg, now 19, shared with The Washington Post the high cost that’s come with the teens’ activism. His and his family’s safety have been put at risk, he said. In the past year alone, “there have been seven assassination attempts” on his life, Hogg said.
“I realize that it’s horrible that I have to live through this, and it is traumatizing. But you eventually become desensitized to it. Like, oh, your house got ‘swatted.’ You got a call from the police saying someone said that everyone in your family had been killed and that you are being held hostage for $100,000 … That becomes part of daily life,” Hogg said, referring to a troubling incident last year when police armed with assault rifles barged into his family home after receiving a prank call alleging the family had been taken hostage by a gunman.
Hogg and his family were fortunately not home at the time, but as the Los Angeles Times noted following the incident, the swatting attempt could’ve proven deadly.
It was not so much a childish prank as attempted manslaughter, the Times said, noting that a swatting victim ― 28-year-old father-of-two Andrew Finch ― had died at the hands of California police a few months prior.
“I want to go to school and, for lack of a better word, weaponize my knowledge and learn as much as possible to end violence,” Hogg, who is expected to attend Harvard in the fall, told the Post.
“I also realize, if they kill me, that’s probably the stupidest thing they could do to try to end the movement,” Hogg said of those wanting to do him harm. “Because that would make it even more successful in the end. Because it would invigorate us and create fucking change.”