Rep. Louie Gohmert, like just about everyone else, calls the Aurora, Colorado massacre, in which at least 12 have died, “a senseless, crazy act of terror.”
However, the Huffington Post headlines Gohmert’s statements like this: Louie Gohmert: Aurora Shootings Result Of ‘Ongoing Attacks On Judeo-Christian Beliefs’. That lie is now widely echoed across the nets. For example, Steve Benen piles on at MaddowBlog: “So, in the mind of this strange Republican congressman, a madman killed 12 people because of … the separation of church and State? The First Amendment is to blame for a shooting spree in a movie theater?”
Gohmert makes no cause-and-effect statement about the Aurora incident, but does say that he believes an increase in all such senseless acts of mass murder is a result of a general decline in Judeo-Christian values here in the U.S. I personally don’t think of this as a weird, unreasonable or ridiculous point of view. I disagree with Gohmert, but think we could have a reasonable and respectful discussion on the issue.
Lying about what Gohmert said, as HuffPost and MaddowBlog and others have done, replaces that potential discussion with ridicule. Of course, if you believe Gohmert supporters — who were likely nodding their heads ‘yes’ while he spoke about the harmful effects of a decline in Judeo-Christian values — are hopeless racist lunatics, respectful engagement doesn’t matter and you can ignore this diary.
By the way, Gohmert also suggests in the interview that a conceal-and-carry law might have helped prevent the Aurora massacre, and he is surprised when his host tells him that Colorado already has such a law. So, on that issue, maybe ridicule would’ve been a sensible response, because you don’t have to bend the facts at all to get to the laugh line.
Anyway, most of us here agree that Gohmert is generally wrong and mixed-up about what’s wrong with the U.S. However, many potential allies and members of a populist left agree with his main point, about the damaging effects of a ‘decline in Judeo-Christian values,’ whatever that means (it can of course mean almost anything). Lying about what he said in that regard and then ridiculing him for what he ‘said’ is not the way to connect with those folks, in my humble opinion.
Meanwhile, New York mayor Bloomberg raises the right issue, probably the only thing we should be discussing related to the killings right this minute:
“No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment… we have a right to hear from both of them concretely… what are they going to do about guns.”
P.S. — On second thought, I think it is also useful to bring up that, based on the recent history of utterly senseless killings in the U.S. (where the alleged assailant apparently has no history of violent or disruptive mental illness, and there are no political or religious overtones to the acts), that this tragedy likely involves antidepressants, specifically the delicate and dangerous task of withdrawal. Dr. David Healy’s blog is the best place to begin exploring the antidepressant story in detail.