How Should You Feel When a Morally Reprehensible Person Gets Shot?

  • Steve Scalise once reportedly said he was “like David Duke without the baggage.”  David Duke is a former leader of the KKK and current white supremacist.
  • Steve Scalise voted against re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Steve Scalise voted against the Home Affordable mortgage Program and against other mortgage relief policies.
  • Steve Scalise wanted a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
  • Steve Scalise doesn’t think violent crimes against LGBTQ should be considered hate crimes.
  • Steve Scalise wants your kids’ schools to teach abstinence-only sex ed, presumably so they need more abortions, which he also doesn’t like.
  • Steve Scalise is pretty against regulation of air quality and air pollution.
  • Steve Scalise doesn’t even think you should get a paltry four weeks of paid parental leave.
  • Steve Scalise voted for the AHCA, which sill strip healthcare from approximately 24,000,000 people.
  • Steve Scalise was shot today along with a staffer and members of the congressional police force.

Some might say that a good test of humanity is being able to empathize with someone you don’t like when tragedy befalls them.  But what happens when tragedy befalls someone who is truly reprehensible, who is, by any reasonable definition, on their way to becoming a mass manslaughterer (if not a mass murderer, and if they aren’t there already)?

I think you can detest violence while at the same time understanding the context surrounding violence that occurs.  No one deserves to get shot.  It’s sad that many feel like their only option to defend themselves or the people they care about is violence.  It’s sad that Republicans can’t empathize with the millions of people they are trying to kick off healthcare (that they simultaneously are fine with arming).

It’s sad that someone can watch the medications keeping them alive spiral into unaffordability.  It’s sad that they can be left with the options of dying or watching someone they love die slowly with an available solution out of reach due to cost, or picking up a gun.  It’s sad that policy failures (moral failures) give people these conditions.  Flint hasn’t had clean water in three years.  Many Indigenous communities have rarely had it.  And all the current administration talks about is slashing environmental regulations and taking away healthcare.

The attacks on people’s lives get more and more direct from politicians.  And these politicians run from town halls, shut down their phones, and run from the press.  What are besieged communities supposed to do?

I don’t know, and that scares me.  It’s hard to see a viable option between violence and quietly dying needlessly, and that scares me.

In a vacuum I can empathize with a shooting victim.  In this context, doing so without describing that context feels like an insult to the numerous victims of Republican policy.  So I empathize with them.  I feel sorry for them, I want to help them, I want to make sure none of them feel like violence is their only out.  And I do wish Steve Scalise and the other shooting victims speedy recoveries, not just of their physical wounds, but of their minds and of their policy that have done so much worse to so many more.

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About Alex

I am awesome.

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