59 Dead in Las Vegas. Where’s the Anger?

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Protests, guns, and the hypocrisy of selective outrage.

On October 1, about 22,000 people when to see an open-air concert in Las Vegas. Then a madman, armed with a dozen machine guns, started murdering them from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. Over 50 killed and more than 500 injured.

It’s been 24 hours since the massacre happened. So far, only one condolence tweet from the President that most assuredly was written by a junior staffer. In the coming days, there will be zero tweets from this President about the need for stricter gun control measures. Not a single one. I can’t predict the future, but I can with this subject. No way Trump comes within a football field (so to speak) of condemning the NRA for promoting this type of behavior, or for Congress’s criminally negligent inability to prevent future Sandy Hooks or Virginia Techs or Columbines or Auroras or Orlandos or Las Vegas.

But we sure do get some tweets about black players in the NFL. If you haven’t heard, they’ve been doing this thing where they kneel during the National Anthem. They don’t spit or chant or set fire to flags or give it the finger — no, they just kneel. But these are black guys, so naturally everyone is enraged. Millions and millions of angry white folks, including our President, who has thus far levied 22 angry tweets at the NFL. He’s also on tape calling them “sons of bitches.” You know, for exercising their first amendment rights.

Here’s that video, in case you’ve been living under a rock:

That’s the Commander and Chief of our Armed Forces, behind the seal of the President, suggesting that black people should be fired for peaceably protesting. I’m not sure what’s more disgusting — the President acting like a third rate mob enforcer, or the frenzied fans cheering his words.

So then the viral Facebook posts appeared, as if on cue. Angry Men who were So Angry about football players disrespecting our flag and our veterans and our military. Of course, they weren’t doing that at all, but Facebook posts are powerful! Especially when they reinforce your own confirmation bias. Here are two particularly dumb ones:

And my favorite:

If you take the time to watch that video, I have two recommendations. First, take Advil, because your head will be pounding. Second, watch it as satire. I thought it was a joke at first, but it’s not. My favorite line is when this guy starts talking about how this country gave black people the opportunity to go from the cornfields to the White House. Really? I guess black folks really should be thankful!

He also suggests that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. enjoyed “bipartisan support” in his struggle for Civil Rights. Mr. Tatum apparently gets his history on the back of McDonald’s Happy Meals. He apparently doesn’t know the FBI tried to get him to commit suicide. He apparently doesn’t know that Martin Luther king Jr. was assassinated.

Yet you should see the comments! Thousands of angry white men and women who think this insane rant, filmed in the passenger seat of a car, is the new Sermon on the Mount.

And I guess it is passionate. Unless things like logic, and reason, and facts are important. then it’s just nuts.

And so then Trump vomited a couple dozen tweets about how terrible NFL players are. Like these:

This one is my fave:

For once, Trump has inspired me. So today, I tweeted this:

So, we’ll see what happens.

Gun Control and Selective Hypocrisy.

I have a favor to ask. It’s pretty simple.

Will the same folks who share these angry posts about black people kneeling at games be so kind as to share angry posts about the lunatic in Las Vegas who single-handedly maimed or murdered almost 500 people?

Or maybe you can go bigger — share angry rants about how the NRA has actively lobbied against reasonable safety measures to prevent crap like this from happening.

If you won’t, then why won’t you? Why does one event drive you insane with anger, and the other merely “breaks your heart?” Selective outrage is the answer to that question. It’s a form of moral hypocrisy that the Fox News crowd uses the way Millennials use SnapChat filters.

Unfortunately, the Gun Control Debate in America is over.

After 27 children and teachers were gunned down at Sandy Hook, the gun control debate in this country died. After Sandy Hook, we decided that we as a nation are cool with mass murder, so long as whites are doing it with assault rifles, because #2A! Vegas won’t make any difference.

We’ll fly the flag at half staff and tweet “thoughts and prayers” to strangers, and then we’ll go on with our day, because massacres are now common in this country. Common. And we “care,” but not really. No, not enough to, you know, put our foot down and demand action. Just enough to watch the news and shake our heads.

Instead, we’ll focus on NFL protests, which don’t matter, or building that wall, which won’t help, or enforcing that ban, which targets the wrong people.

Imagine if the shooter was black. Imagine if he had been Muslim. Why does it matter to us who does the killing? You’re still just as dead.

Meanwhile, Trump is delaying his trip to Puerto Rico — again — as if Las Vegas, with its power and police and food and water is somehow more of a priority that the 3.4 million in PR who are rationing food and baking in the sun.

Why? Because people from Las Vegas can vote, and people in Puerto Rico cannot. It’s just that simple.

And while we’re on the subject of hypocrisy, take a look at all these photos from the most popular “sport” in the country — NASCAR. It’s a rootin’ tootin’ good time, you know.

So, while NFL players do this:

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this type of behavior from NASCAR:

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only gets reactions like these from our President:
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Final thought. 92% of black people chose not to vote for Trump. Black players make up 70& of the NFL. 55% of white people voted for Trump. 99% of NASCAR drivers are white, and white people make up 95% of their audience.

Hmm. Maybe it really does have to do with race after all.

Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LPCA, LCAS

Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LPCA, LCAS

I'm a dually-licensed in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselor, specializing in Co-Occurring Disorders.
Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LPCA, LCAS

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