Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Politics of a Tragedy

Hey all,

Before I go on, let me say that what has happened in Aurora, Colorado sickened me to my very soul.  It made me weep for those who lost their lives and for those heartbroken family members that were left behind.  I wanted to do permanent damage to the gunman, yet I felt for his parents and what they must be going through.

I won't blog specifically about this horrible affair.  So many others have done it and probably better than I would.  I've read several blogs, seen the news articles and memorials on FaceBook, and I know that it made a tremendous impact on many people, both in the United States and the world.

But I couldn't help being bothered by the fact that the politicians, while they too might have been horrified, used this as a platform to tout their different views.  Gun control vs the right to bear arms seems to be the hot topic and everyone is jumping on one bandwagon or another.  

The fact that the man was looney-tunes doesn't seem to be as important as what he used to do the deed.  And I firmly believe that if he hadn't been able to find a gun, he'd have still massacred those people, albeit differently.  Crazy people will find a way to make their fantasy a reality.  So leave the politics of gun control out of it.  Use your time and energy in a wiser way.  Help the the town.

I was pleased, but it didn't surprise me that both Romney and Obama pulled their ads in Colorado.  While I'd like to believe the sensitive gesture was because they are two great guys, more likely they (or their campaign people) saw the political value in keeping their usual campaign nastiness away from a grieving town.  

But just think... If you pull an advertisement because it may be negative and insensitive, why are you doing the ad in the first place?

Call me cynical, but I'm pretty sure no matter how despicable the tragedy, a politician always measures his emotions and words before he says them.  And using this episode as a way to get airtime makes a politician as much of a bad guy as the dude who pulled the trigger.

Instead, make a simple statement and then SHUT UP!!!  Let the newsies focus on the ones who died.  Not some politician hoping to score a few extra votes by showing how sorry he is that it happened.

I know he's the president, but I have to say it bothered me that Obama is going to go visit the families of those who died.  I thought about it long and hard when I read the news.  I know I wouldn't want him anywhere near me if I was a family member.   For several reasons...

One)  I'm grieving.  I just lost someone I loved.  President or not, he's a stranger.  Someone I don't know and who sure as hell doesn't know me.  I don't need to play hostess to the leader of the free world when I'm going through something like this.  I truly doubt any of them are going to feel all better about losing a loved one just because Obama visited them.

Two)  Having him go to Aurora turns the world's attention towards him and away from what should be more important.  Those who died.  So why is he there?  Politically motivated?  You bet!

Three)  Does he visit other murder victim's families?  Why are these heartbroken and suffering people people more important than, for example, the family of Russell Sneiderman who was killed in 2010 in Georgia by another crazy person minutes after dropping his son off at daycare.  Is it the number who died?  The horrifying venue?  The innocence lost?  Or could it be it's just more newsworthy?

Do I sound disgusted?  You bet I am.  I'm disgusted with the politicians who are using this heartbreaking event for themselves.  I'm disgusted with the media who are like ravening wolves, scenting fresh blood and hoping for the right angle to show how the candidates are reacting.  And finally, I'm disgusted with people who will spout off with negative words about the victims, the families (both victim's and the perpetrator's) and the town as if this tragedy was their fault.

I'm not naive.  I know that neither Romney or Obama could or even should ignore this.  But how they handled it was a test of the kind of men they were.  How many of their kind and generous words were from the heart and how much were written by their speech writers?  Did they sit down with their campaign people and take a poll on what to do, or did they just do what they thought was right?  

And most importantly, did they think of the victims and their families as they made their decisions on how to act, or did they think about how they'd look while doing it?

James Freeman Clarke said it better than I ever could...

A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.

Makes you wonder just what Obama, Romney and other politicians are thinking of, doesn't it?

Okay...rant over.  Let me know what you think in the comment section.

I'll lighten things up a bit on Friday when I share some great summer dessert recipes.


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

I agree with you CJ. I can see the President showing up at a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a huge fire or a tornado that wiped out a town but to go to a shooting just didn't make sense to me. And as you said, I wouldn't want to talk to him. He's a stranger. I would rather be surrounded by family, friends and neighbors than have him show up with the media blitz that is sure to follow. It is so very sad.

Ray said...

I agree about the politics of the two candidates and probably everyone up for election. Obama is probably going and facing our criticism because if he didn't the other side of the political debate would say he was insensitive as the did about Bush when he flew over New Orleans. I think he knew that because of security reasons he would just be in the way.

Obama and Romney were both in our area on the same day. Streets and roads were blocked. The traffic reports spent a considerable amount of time telling how to avoid Obama and Romney.

I read an editorial on Aurora yesterday. A blogger was a little upset because so many people posted to her that people should not be taking children to a midnight movie. They were making out like it was the parents own fault that they were in the theater when the shooting took place.

lynneconnolly said...

Do you feel the same way about Christian Bale's visit today?

Ray said...

Who is Christian Bale? I've heard the name. Is he a politician?

The very best was Raquel Welch during Vietnam. She came to visit the sick and wounded. The only publicity was in the Naval Hospital San Diego staff newspaper, after she left. I was going to Pharmacy Tech school on the hospital grounds. I did not know she was there.

Jane said...

This was the worst mass shooting in the US, so I don't think it was weird for the President to visit Aurora. The Denver Broncos and Christian Bale visited the wounded, too.

PG Forte said...

I totally agree. And it's not just politicians. I wish news reporters would stop intruding on people's grief as well.

I think as president you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. You certainly can't ignore something like this. I just wish all the politicians (and whoever is writing their oh-so-clueless statements) would try and remember it's not about THEM. We all have kids (all right not all--but a lot of us do). They all could have been in that theater.I'm not sure reminding strangers who've just lost a child that you still have yours is the best way to make them feel better.

I think what Christian Bale did was very different. He visited people who (by virtue of the fact they'd gone to see his movie) were more than likely fans. People who were more likely to be in a position to enjoy his visit, rather than simply be annoyed or inconvenienced by it.

CJ England said...


Yeah. It's not that he wanted to show up, but the reason behind it. I'd have been more comfortable if he'd handled it in a less obtrusive way.

CJ England said...


That blogger was wrong. Completely wrong. Why do we like to put blame on victims? Have we sunk so low?

CJ England said...


Honestly, I'm not sure. As an actor in the movie, he may have felt responsible, even though he WASN'T. As with the politicians, it comes down to the reason why he went.

CJ England said...


Christian Bale is the actor who plays Batman in movie. That's cool about Rachel Welch. Doesn't sound like the visit was hyped which is what I really object to.

CJ England said...


I guess I just don't see the point in him going. He can't do anything. Unless the victims' families want him there for some reason, he'd just be in the way. It's different than when Bush did a fly over after Katrina. Needing to see the devastation so decisions could be made makes sense to me.

And the Broncos and Bale weren't playing politics. That's my objection. How it was done.

CJ England said...

Exactly, PG. It's about the victims. Not the politicians, not the actor or the football players. It's about the people who died. And all this media coverage--and I do blame them as well--twists it away from them.

And I agree it's damned if you do--damned if you don't. Obama can't win because someone will always complain, no matter what choice he makes.

But just once, I'd like to see that choice come from the heart and not from political advisors