Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On the tragic events in Aurora, Colorado *UPDATED*

It is never easy for me to talk about visceral scarring events. I seldom feel equipped to suitably address the topic. But the shootings last Friday in Aurora, Colorado, unsurprisingly, still haunt most of our thoughts. Those in Colorado are mourning and recuperating. And people there, and around the country, are trying to wrap our minds around acts like this.

I can only, on my part, hope for and give my condolence to all those both physically, emotionally, and psychologically harmed. You are in my thoughts, I will try to remember those lost, and I hope we all will act to help now and in the future. Give blood. Be there for those around us that need someone to listen to them, or reaffirm the value of humanity.

Now, I am going to be a little less thoughtful. So, if you aren’t interested in that now, feel free to click off to other interests.

One thing I didn’t want to see then, or maybe in many cases just yet, are attempts to turn this tragic crime turned into a bully pulpit for ideologies. There are some serious questions that should come out of any event like this, lessons to learn. But now is not the time. People need to mourn. The police need to investigate. And everyone else needs to take a breath.

Now, I will concede that some worried about gun control raced to jump in the hours after the shootings. But, the Religious Right, bless them, just doubled down with hyperbole and insulting talk, some of that insulting talk for those now dead.

Let’s take a look at the highlights in the most galling statements imaginable, and, maybe, learn how not to respond to tragedy:

The American Family Association made sure to let us all know that we should blame liberal churches and the liberal media for these shooting, along with the ACLU. Apparently, there’s not enough God (They mean Jesus, you non-Christians heathens.). And without having their bible beat in your head, guys like this will go on killing spree. I guess, we should all be ashamed and read out bibles then. …In Colorado! Evangelical central. Like the sleazy con men they are, any tragedy is good for business. Right, sanctimonious asshats?

Then Rick Warren jumped in. Well, he tweeted in, saying, “When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.” Slow clap for Mr. Warren. You managed to look like a real ass here. Then, he deleted the tweet. But we’ve all seen it. Now, what Rick was explaining is, first, no God in school. Second, we teach evolution, which, apparently, leads people to kill. No further comment needed. But, remember this the next time he gets brought on a news show.

Next, we have Louie “Goober” Gohmert, an actual, no joke here, member of Congress. He looks like an idiot, talks like an idiot, and has a vote in the House of Representatives. He explained what happen, as people were murdered. It’s all about the sinister “attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.” He wanted to make this about his imagined persecution of Christianity, by which he really means his social agenda, instead of those that were hurt and killed. It’s unbelievable. It’s inconceivable.

Also, Gohmert complained that no one in the theater had a gun to open fire in the dark smoke filled room. He wondered why no one was packing, or acted. This implies that those that survived lacked the courage to stand against the shooter, which plenty of armchair heroes seem to have started doing. If you weren’t there, shut up! It’s all just more “common sense” from the Resident Chamber Fool. I’d bother calling him an idiot, but I do that most days anyways.

From some conservatives, I have been hearing more and more comments and rumors that this killer was unemployed and on “food stamps.” Now, he, apparently recently left a doctorate program, so I have no idea if this is likely, or not. But it is being latched on to. In the wake of more than 10 dead and scores more hospitalized, some want to be sure to tell us guns don’t kill people, the social safety net does. Excuse me…FUCK YOU, YOU ASSHOLES!!! …Sorry, had to be said. This is wretched. Not happy to regularly mock the mythical “Welfare Queen driving a Cadillac,” we know see a new myth. Get ready to likely hear it more in Right Wing media. It’s sickening.

And, as we are thinking of people who will take tragedy, and make it worse, Westboro Baptist Church (Of God Hates fame.) showed up this weekend to protest. But they were countered nicely. Right Wing of America, you actually may have outclassed the Phelps Family in classlessness. How do you do that? Get a clue! This is how low you went, this is how low you’ve fallen.

But I don’t want to leave it there. Let’s talk about the media, because it has lessons to learn about actually being of service and use at times like this.

If you have been around as long as I have, you’ve seen how the media reacts to these tragedies. Like a dog that’s seen you’ve spilled food on the floor. They know it’s wrong, but they want their bacon. So we’ve got heavy coverage of this event, and aspects surrounding it. There are good ways and bad ways to do this. Charlie Brooker on his series Newswipe covered just how to do this horribly wrong, possibly inspiring copycats or just justifying similar sickening plans for another disturbed person:

And in what I’ve seen of coverage Friday, and this weekend, we’ve gotten pretty much all the mistakes playing out in the media yet again. And the media replied, “I can’t help it, it’s my nature.” On CNN, I see half the screen taken up for minutes on end by the face of this murderer. On ABC I see repeated video of this bastard at an old debate, or some event. We see ongoing coverage. We see the selling of murder and mayhem on a large scale as big news, and exciting.

News people? You aren’t doing us any favors! This is what he wants! He dyed his hair so you’d show it to us, to try and burn himself into our memories. He picked to attack a theater, he chose a major movie release, and he booby trapped him home, all to create a bigger story. He wanted you to cover him big time, and he wanted us to be terrified and think of him when we go to the movies for the rest of our lives. News people? You’re doing everything he wants, and patting yourself on the back for it. You are likely inspiring future copycats, and don’t seem to care.

Okay, I will credit the media that I have seen some coverage of those that survived, making the story somewhat about them. But they love their killers too much, and we don't have to follow suit.

So let’s be sure to move passed and forget this loser and bastard. When I see that the news wants, not just give us some facts, but roll in the slurry of this story, I turn it off. I won’t look at your sponsors, I want help your ratings. To hell with you, news media.

Instead, let’s remember those that did not survive that night. And let’s remember those that acted to save lives. Like Jarell Brooks, who was shot in the leg (and survived) helping get a mother with 2 kids out of the theater. These are the people who we need to keep in our thoughts. Just let the law have the bastard.

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Just wanted to add a comment on twitter from a Wall Street Journal columnist.
 Sorry. I'm not going to quote him. In essence he questioned whether the men killed or shot in Aurora protecting girlfriends actually had girlfriends that were worth the effort...I...how does this occur to someone? 

But, as well, I forgot to mention before another part of the media's screwing up on this tragedy. They are calling it the "Batman Murders"...Great. Again, giving this bastard just a bit more immortality.

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