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Tears for dead children

“Do you think he was faking it?”

“I don’t know for sure. One thing I do know, when I heard about Newtown first thing I thought was that they’d use it to try to push gun control.”

“You thought that right away?

“First thing.”

“First thing I thought was, why the hell would anyone shoot a bunch of little kids?”

“Well, I thought that too, but it wasn’t the first thing.”

That’s the conversation I overheard in the cafeteria today. The background, for those who don’t follow these things, is that during President Obama’s announcement of his (extremely limited and common-sense) Executive Orders on gun control he was listing some of the more notorious mass killings during his term in office, and when he got to the Newtown massacre, in which twenty first-grade schoolchildren were shot dead, he teared up a little on camera.

American conservatives seem to be facing a growing shortage of verbal filters. I’ll admit I think some inappropriate thoughts myself sometimes, but I try to keep the ones that make me sound like a total psychopath on the inside, mostly. I’m at least embarrassed by them.

Okay, that’s just one guy in a cafeteria, admittedly. Maybe he just has a truly warped sense of humour (though he was completely deadpan about it). It wasn’t a random oddity that he thought the President might have been faking being upset by the memory of twenty children being shot dead for no reason, though. It was proposed by several public conservatives, for example these Fox News television hosts:

I find it bizarre that anyone would have a hard time believing a father of two daughters would shed tears thinking about children being killed, but it does not seem like it’s remarkable among the people who make up the right wing commentariat, or as far as I can tell among their audience.

Is it that they don’t believe the President is an actual human being, who has tears for dead children in him to shed? Or is it that they have no empathy of their own, and project their emptiness on others?

I don’t know, but I worry when attitudes like that are normalised. I don’t want to live in the kind of society that leaps to those conclusions.


~ by BT Murtagh on January 6, 2016.

children, current events, government, Guns, Society, United States