My wife Barbara, my son Drew, my daughter Alison’s boyfriend Chris, and I were all on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia for the candlelight vigil marking the 10th anniversary of what is now the second-worst mass shooting in American history. Sadly, Orlando passed it for the number one spot last year.
After my daughter Alison’s shooter posted her murder video on Twitter, I feared there would be a copycat incident. It wasn’t a case of if, but when.
It recalled the darkly satirical movie, Network. When I first saw it, it seemed so dystopian and far-fetched. Howard Beal, the anchorman, gets assassinated on live television because of poor ratings. I couldn’t imagine it would ever happen (except maybe on Fox News), but now thanks to social media — as we’ve learned again through the disgusting killing of Robert Godwin in Cleveland — murder has become a vehicle for insane notoriety.
Sadly, for all the good Facebook can do, we now see its potential to turn mentally unstable killers into instant celebrities. They now have their own network to make them reality TV stars―just like the one in the White House.
Sadly, for all the good Facebook can do, we now see its potential to turn mentally unstable killers into instant celebrities.
Shutting down instant video postings on Facebook? Downplaying mass shootings, or just shootings in general? No, that isn’t going to happen. The press is naturally going to flock to these events like a moth to flame. My hope is that Americans don’t become totally desensitized to the ceaseless slaughter that costs 90 lives in the country every day. Unfortunately, twisted souls are going to do evil things using available avenues, no matter what we do. But as I’ve written many times, there are things we can do to save lives.
One of the few bills congress passed in the new session on a party line vote was reversing President Obama’s executive order barring those deemed mentally incapable of handling their own affairs to buy a gun. It was an achievement for the NRA’s biggest congressional cash recipient, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, as well as his fellow prostitute, Morgan Griffith, whose election was bought and paid for by the Koch brothers with bonus cash from the NRA.
This is the hypocrisy of the NRA-controlled Republican congress. When confronted with the proliferation of gun violence, their response has historically been, “It’s not a gun issue, it’s a mental health issue.” They’re half right – it’s both. Yet they do their master’s bidding because, hey, it’s more gun sales. And by the way, let’s keep those potential terrorists on the no-fly list purchasing at the flea market gun shows, too!
We must hold the paid NRA politicians accountable.
We’re never going to entirely stop that crazy man with a gun that wants to kill someone on a live feed. We must hold the paid NRA politicians accountable. They didn’t pull the trigger, but along with their President Trump, who next week will bask in the frothing adulation of 80,000 NRA faithful attending their annual conference, they perpetuate the carnage.
As for Bob, he didn’t attend any of the VT ceremonies commemorating the lost lives of their constituents. Perhaps he was confused and thought these remembrances were staged town hall meetings.