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The Moral Compass is Broken

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It’s no secret that Rep. Tom Tancredo, who is also a candidate for (ahem) President, is willing to say just about anything if it will get him a little press. In some ways, his blustering nature is political genius; love him or hate him, you know Tom Tancredo’s name because he says ridiculous and inflammatory things all the time.

When Tancredo said that America should consider bombing Mecca, it was a reckless statement that drew indignation from many people. It was the wrong thing to say, but I understand what he was doing in playing to a very hardline base.

When Tancredo called Miami a “third-world country,” it was a silly statement to make and it instantly created a rebuke from then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Tancredo received a few days of national press coverage for the statement, and it only furthered his name ID in the process. Was it wrong to say that? Yes. But as a political strategy it worked to perfection.

There is an old saying that any press is good press “as long as you spell my name right,” and Tancredo certainly subscribes to that theory. It’s one thing to make inflammatory statements for the purpose of generating publicity, but it’s quite another to do it in the face of a national tragedy like the shootings at Virginia Tech University. Take a look at what Tancredo’s spokesman said, as reported by The Politico:

The shooting spree at Virginia Tech is being reported as the “deadliest massacre in U.S. history” or the “deadliest massacre on a U.S. campus.”

The office of Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) would respectfully like to offer a correction. In fact, said Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa, the worst school rampage occurred when an anti-tax zealot blew up a school in Bath, Mich., in 1927, killing around 40 children and a handful of adults, including himself. (Accounts of the death toll vary, but all reported a number larger than 33.)

“As far as U.S. school tragedies go, this isn’t the worst. I know it’s splitting hairs, but particularly Democrats and … the anti-gun people are saying that this proves that guns” are to blame for the massacre, Espinosa said. “And while it is a horrible tragedy that no one should ever have to experience, they shouldn’t be able to shape it into their own political agenda by covering up the facts.”…

…Espinosa said he has been correcting reporters and is also ready with a rebuttal for gun control advocates who might want to use the Virginia Tech shootings — regardless of historical rank — as fodder for more gun control laws.

“One, he shouldn’t have had a gun on campus, and two, killing people is also illegal. Clearly, he had no intention of following the law to begin with,” Espinosa said.

You, sir, are an asshole.

There’s no way to sugarcoat how I feel about this. What on earth would make you comfortable climbing on your high horse pony to a) look up the factual error to begin with, since he obviously didn’t just happen to know this off the top of his head, and b) happily point out to the media that the Virginia Tech shooting really wasn’t the worst massacre ever? I don’t know about you, but my first reaction upon hearing about the shooting wasn’t to find out if there were other, more heinous killings in our nation’s past.

Let me point out that this story in “The Politico” was reported on Tuesday, which means Espinosa was spouting off not long after the identity of the shooter had been revealed, if not sooner. There were probably families who hadn’t even been notified that they children were dead before Espinosa was pointing out that this really wasn’t the worst massacre in our nation’s history.

Is Espinosa factually correct? I don’t know. I don’t care. We all have a moral obligation to just shut the hell up sometimes, and that especially includes politicians and their spokesmen. Tuesday was neither the time nor the place for this conversation, and if Espinosa and Tancredo think otherwise, then I truly feel badly for them as human beings.

How can you be so callous in such a terrible moment? Is there no line you won’t cross?

After 9/11, would you have pointed out that there were actually more people killed in one day in the Civil War?

If I told you that my grandfather had died, would you be quick to inform me that both of your grandparents were dead?

If you don’t know what Espinosa and Tancredo look like, you won’t have a hard time finding them. They’ll be the guys in Hell telling everyone that there were hotter days on Earth.

I’m sure everyone will feel better then, too.

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