Either by great cunning or dumb luck, Kaitlin Bennett struck on a simple and surefire way to become a right-wing media darling. Just carry a gun in places where people generally don’t want guns and take some social media-optimized pictures.
Bennett became a minor internet sensation when she posed for graduation photos while holding an AR-10 rifle. The image of a young blonde woman wearing a white dress strapped with an assault rifle was enough to excite gun-loving conservatives, even though it wasn’t an original thought: a college grad in Tennessee pulled the same stunt a month before her. Soon after the photo hit the net, she appeared on Fox News to express her love of guns and her confusion about why anyone might be offended by the appearance of an assault rifle at Kent State, a campus that’s linked forever with an infamous shooting.
Bennett has parlayed that fame into substance-free content-creating conservative celebrity. She’s become a prominent spokeswoman for Liberty Hangout, a libertarian media website aimed at college students that also sells trash merchandise. She appears in several videos, including one where she asks people in favor of gun control leading questions to prove they know nothing about guns.
Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg is a frequent target for Bennett. She tries to cast him as her left wing equivalent, the Lincoln to her Douglas in the millennial gun control debate. That comparison doesn’t do her any favors, though, as Hogg is a highly articulate advocate for real policy in the wake of personal tragedy and she’s a gun-toting lightweight.
Her real grassroots work, however, is done on Twitter. There, Bennett can focus her time solely on the thing conservatives really respond to: triggering weak-minded, snowflake liberals.
The right’s bar for political comedy and celebrity is low enough to trip over. Bennett’s jokes stink, and she offers up little more than the same recycled conservative talking points that hacks like Tomi Lahren have already moved on from. But where Lahren worked for years to develop her dog-whistling hot take persona, Bennett just took some pictures with a gun.
Predictably, Bennett has faced backlash from liberals on Twitter. She’s shared messages from people threatening to shoot her (who would’ve thought) to clown the “tolerant left.” But the angry DMs aren’t threats so much as proof she’s doing her job.
Bennett’s newfound celebrity is not an anomaly. She’s just the latest in a downward spiral of vapid schmucks that fuel right wing liberal animus. Soon enough a new shitposter will come along and make Bennett seem like William F. Buckley. It doesn’t matter how dumb or sad they are—as long as they upset the liberals, they’ll be a right wing star.