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Internet fights back after Parkland students are slammed for laughing

Elise Solé

Parkland school shooting survivors Emma González, Cameron Kasky, and Jaclyn Cori are responding to claims that they’re “grief actors” after actor James Woods criticized the trio for smiling on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

On Tuesday, after Woods tweeted a video of the kids mugging for the camera while making an appearance on the daytime talk show, 18-year-old González struck back.

Sarah Chadwick, another Marjory Stoneman Douglas student who has been vocal on social media since the shooting, defended her peers.

Many others on the internet did the same.


According to Sherry Cormier, a certified bereavement and trauma specialist, and author of the book Sweet Sorrow, the teens’ behavior was entirely appropriate.

“There’s no uniform way to grieve, and laughing — much like crying — can be a form of emotional release,” Cormier told Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s also intolerable to be sad every waking moment of the day, the psyche can’t handle that. So it’s recommended that people take ‘breaks’ from grief with distractions.”

One way people heal from grief is to find purpose in an otherwise meaningless tragedy, Cormier noted, so challenging gun laws at a rally or on a comedian’s talk show is an example of that. Given the amount of camera time devoted to the young activists, they may also feel pressure to stay composed. In situations where death is sudden and traumatic, she added, survivors can experience shock or numbness that can appear to others as emotionless.

Most importantly, the young people aren’t obligated to perform their grief for the public. “Grieving can be private, and no one is entitled to witness someone else’s pain or impose their own expectations of grief on another person,” Cormier said.

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