His name is James Holmes. He is accused of murdering at least 12 people and injuring approximately 60 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. While exact details are still somewhat sketchy and changing, we know that Holmes reportedly walked into a midnight screening for the new Batman film, the Dark Knight Rises. He then proceeded to throw gas canisters and fire numerous bullets into the crowd. Some reports state that a 6-year-old and even a 3-month-old were injured.
My first reaction to this was instantly felt in my gut. I was sick — sick for these families, sick for the victims, sick for everyone involved. As I kept quickly looking through my Facebook newsfeed for more information, my emotions turned to anger as I read a status update: “How long until Rush or Romney or both get blamed? You know what I’m talking about.” What? Seriously? What an idiot. The story of innocent individuals being gunned down has just hit the wires and you are using this tragedy as a way to make a political point? My reply: “Way too soon – if ever.” People are dead – men, women, and children. Their loved ones are being notified that they will not be coming home ever again. And you see this as an opportunity to score a political point? What kind of sick, heartless, and brainless individual uses the deaths of at least 12 people and makes a poor attempt at digital punditry?
The anger within me would not subside as this status was written on my own Facebook account in response: “Disgusted and angry with people who are making the Colorado theater shooting a political issue. People died. You make me sick.” Within an hour, that status alone had 47 comments on it. And you guessed it – nearly all of them were making this sad event a political issue.
The politicization of the Colorado theater shooting continued from both sides of the aisle.
In an on-air exchange on ABC, George Stephanopoulos and Brian Ross were attempting to get information on the alleged gunman, James Holmes. Ross then said: “There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.” Ross, of course, had the wrong James Holmes. How classless can you get? Just when you think these people could be no more depraved, they stoop to a new, lower level of sickness. All politics aside, it is not a good journalistic practice to broadcast information with the words “we don’t know.” Those three words immediately invalidated any bit of newsworthy credibility and made Brian Ross look like a desperate, non-thinking liberal. He and ABC have since apologized for the mistake, though not on-air.
There was also a post made by Michelle Malkin. While Malkin and I agree on probably every issue, we strongly differ in regards to one of her recent posts. Her website Twitchy is playing host to tweets from liberals who are blaming this shooting on talk host Rush Limbaugh. While I understand the logic behind displaying the idiocy of some people, I do not think their stupidity justifies a response. A liberal’s logical depravity does not deserve the educated and thoughtful response from a conservative. Don’t waste your time.
Think of the victims before you make your political point.
Jessica Ghawi was 24 years old. She was an aspiring reporter who had hopes to work for the rest of her life covering hockey. Ghawi was killed in the theater. Her brother Jordan wrote: “Well this could easily be the worst night of my life.” Other friends wrote things like: “Her future was so bright.”
Just over a month ago, Jessica Ghawi was in a Canadian mall and barely escaped another shooting. After the incident, she later wrote on her blog: “I was shown how fragile life was. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift.” Amen.
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is known for the quote: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” It seems that many are attempting to use this tragedy to further their agenda. There is no room – ever – for the politicization of the massacre of innocent people. Never let your words go to waste.
Vince Tornero | Ohio State University | @VinceTornero