If this world were mine, I’d see to it that anyone who felt compelled to politicize a national tragedy mere hours after it happened be muffed with a muzzle and have their fingers duct taped together as they watch their keyboards and keypads doused with a bucket of water. That’s not to say that there isn’t a need for reflection on the events preceding and following an attack, but seriously, can’t some things wait?
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On Monday, in a speech commemorating the Boston Marathon attacks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested that the “complacency” of Americans contributed to the tragedy:
“I think it’s safe to say that for many, the complacency that prevailed prior to September 11th has actually returned. And so we are newly reminded that serious threats to our way of life remain. And today again we recommit ourselves to the fight against terrorism at home and abroad.”
You can watch video of the comments below courtesy of Think Progress:
If McConnell prefers Draconian laws that would ultimately give way to something eerily reminiscent of a fascist police state, he’s within his right, but to step on the Senate floor and throw average Americans under the bus further proves what a petty little man he can be. All he had to do was issue a statement of solidarity and support and move on. If it was beyond his capability to do just that, he should’ve had his press secretary release a statement and shut up.
For the record, though, “I think people are actually surprised when they learn that there’s been a steady decline in terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 1970,” said Gary LaFree, a University of Maryland criminologist and director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, to the New York Times.
Another person who could’ve joined him in the circle of silence is FOX News host Sean Hannity, who managed to take a dig at gun control advocates in his commentary about the Boston Marathon bombing. As the New York Times’ Brian Stelter noted:
“‘I don’t want to be political,’ says Sean Hannity. Then he brings up the gun debate and says people can build homemade bombs to hurt others.”
Then there are your village idiots, who suggested that people dying in the street and having their limbs ripped from their bodies was nothing more than a government-engineered conspiracy to jack up security measures. It was a sentiment echoed by right-wing cheerleader of crazy Alex Jones, who lamented via Twitter:
Our hearts go out to those that are hurt or killed
#Boston marathon – but this thing stinks to high heaven #falseflag.
And while I’m a fan of his films, Michael Moore could’ve kept the insinuation that the Tea Party was behind yesterday’s attacks to himself. Ditto for the “Scary Muslim” brigade and other beliefs fueled in bigotry championed by your generic village idiot.
Thankfully, at least one person seemed to recognize the error of his ways. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted this comment with a link to a Washington Post article about the Boston Marathon bombing:
[E]xplosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.”
However, he did follow up eventually with:
People jumping on me for criticizing Sen Repubs for blocking ATF appointments. ok, that was low blow. i take it back.
That’s the spirit.
Sadly, there were plenty other instances of jackass behavior on Twitter. People have all the time in the world to be monsters, but it’s okay to take breaks. In the future, when it comes to tragic events — events that strip people of their lives, or at the very least, dramatically alter them for the worse — remember this comment from one Twitter user:
In times of tragedy Twitter should go into Quaker mode. Shut up or be meaningful.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick
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