How Kaitlin Bennett Became a Bona Fide Conservative Media Star - 2020-02-19
Conservative activist Kaitlin Bennett arrived on the campus of Ohio University on Monday to film candid interviews with students about Presidents' Day. Instead, she was quickly surrounded by student protesters, who hounded her off campus within two hours. Bennett posted a video online in which she caused the fracas a "riot." The university's police department said in a statement that Bennett had not alerted them about her campus appearance, which prevented them from planning protection for her. Police also said the event "did not rise to the level of a riot," involving only strong language and splashing water. Bennett may not have finished filming the video she planned to shoot, but the one she made instead surely reached an even broader audience. The incident had one clear takeaway: Kaitlin Bennett has turned herself into a bona fide conservative media star.
That's an identity she has been working toward since she was an undergraduate at Kent State University. As a student, Bennett was an outspoken gun rights activist who organized an open-carry demonstration on campus. She had also served as president of the campus chapter of Charlie Kirk's Turning Point USA (a nonprofit whose mission is, in its own words, to "identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom"), devising a viral stunt in which club members wore diapers to ridicule "safe spaces"; she resigned when the event became a national laughingstock and the national group distanced itself from her chapter. In her bridge-burning resignation letter, Bennett called Turning Point "an organization founded by a college dropout who hires some of the most incompetent, lazy, and downright dishonest people I have ever encountered."
Bennett finally broke out nationally when she carried an AR-10 rifle to her graduation in May 2018. The rifle, slung across her back in a viral photo, was a protest against a university policy barring students from carrying concealed weapons on campus. Her back is to the camera in the photo, blond curls cascading down over the rifle and her short white dress. She wears heels and carries a graduation cap with a rifle cutout and the slogan "COME AND TAKE IT." The photo was an instant sensation. She appeared on Fox and Friends and started referring to herself as "Kent State gun girl."