It was barely light out on the East Coast this morning when our West Coast publisher alerted us to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. By the time our regular day crew had trickled in and gotten up to speed, several things were clear: at least 12 innocent people were dead, one very disturbed man was in custody and, as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg aptly demonstrated, it wouldn’t be long before some people would stop thinking about those victims and start figuring bout how to turn the tragedy into a talking point.
Even after President Obama told the country — and supporters at a scheduled rally — that “There are going to be other days for politics. This is a day, I think, for prayers and reflection,” and former governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) followed suit, and political leaders from across Colorado and across the country managed to keep their remarks to support and prayers for the victims, some on either side of the aisle just couldn’t resist. And as the editor and reporter at Raw Story who spent the day immersed in the details of this story whose computer screens, we are not ashamed to write, were often obscured by tears as we listened to everything from a 17-year-old recount the certainty of his own death, or a father talk of learning that his 6-year-old did not survive, or read the account of Jordan Ghawi, the brother of nascent reporter Jessica Redfield Ghawi, we were offended by some of the self-serving statements we heard… and we think you should be, too. A sample of our more outraged internal pronouncements while working on this piece.
- “Never mind the 12 dead people, Peter King is an asshole, amirite folks?”
- “‘I vote to stop arming dangerous people’? Oh, good. And I vote not to blow crack smoke into pitbulls’ nostrils.”
- “Yes, Congressman, we’re sure it’s just that simple. If everyone’s lives were dominated by religion like they were during the Crusades, then we’d all live peace and happiness, just like they do in Syria and Afghanistan.”
- “Every reaction i’ve seen so far, except the president’s has been, ‘THIS HAS BEEN A TERRIBLE THING TO HAPPEN…TO ME AND MY VALUES.'”
- “If you think to yourself, ‘Let’s make hay of this tragedy before the blood is even tacky on the theater seats!,” HINT: The blood is the only thing that isn’t tacky.
- “I demand that we not poke sharp sticks into our eyes, and I think we can all agree on that before we need to start cranking out petitions about it, don’t you?”
We understand that this is an election year, and there’s hardly a soul in this country without strong feelings on gun control — us among them. But when your first reaction to the death of 12 of your fellow citizens and the injury of 71 others is to try to figure out how to use that tragedy to your advantage politically, we’d like to ask you a real favor.
Watch the below video, and take it to heart.