Rachel already has taken note of the self-sacrifice and heroism with which so many on the scene reacted to the cold-blooded murder of 17 in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
But apparently political toxicity doesn't get a day off in the face of heartbreaking tragedy. The father of one of those killed has been pilloried on twitter for wearing a "Trump 2020" shirt while searching for his daughter.
Sorry, but when you get word your child might have been killed in a massacre, your first thought isn't to slip into something that will appeal to TV audiences at home. Here is what happened:
Andrew Pollack was first pictured last Wednesday as he frantically searched for his daughter, Meadow, hours after gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Pollack found out the next day that his 18-year-old daughter had died.
But when a photo of him wearing the “Trump 2020” shirt began circulating on Twitter, several people spewed hateful comments about the grieving father, with no show of remorse.
“Is that, no it can't be….. no, it is…. blood on his hands,” user @Mtbbmet wrote on Thursday.
@James36Leonard also tweeted: “I'm unforgiveable, but it's a little hard to feel sorry who supported this administration and its racist and its NRA supporting policies. I feel sorry for daughter,but not for him. He probably doesn't make the connection behind his Party's policies and what happened to his child”
Other people said they felt “empathy” for Meadow Pollack dying, but turned on the father for voting for Trump. One user said Andrew Pollack should have “thought twice” before casting his vote during the 2016 election.
“Poor dude, lost his daughter and helped enable it to happen at the same time. He must feel heartbroken AND guilt. Boneheaded shirt (and presidential) choice,” @Jumptank tweeted.
“Wonder if he’s still a Trump supporter. Sad,” @Mamap9456 wrote, to which another user responded: “This is a disgusting comment.”
Several fought back against this form of hatred:
“At what point did politics become the determining factor to decide how liked you are in society. I mean come on. It’s a T-shirt. His daughter was just murdered and you guys are telling him he’s wrong for a political opinion he had. Y’all need to learn some respect,” @thekligerfan tweeted on Sunday.
“These families are suffering & the only thing I can do is send them my prayers & sentiments. I’m so sorry for your loss,” said @mebeandeaaolco.
Meanwhile, high school kids are rallying for gun control in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting and the media is treating them like oracles.
I want to tread carefully here: I don't blame kids for being afraid–after all, they go to schools and schools are vulnerable. It is not surprising that they are concerned and kids deserve safe schools. On the other hand, Emily Gonzalez, who delivered a speech at a Saturday rally, came across as ill-informed in an interview with CBS News' Nancy Cordes :
"At this point, I don't even know if the adults in power who are funded by the NRA — I don't even think we need them anymore because they're going to be gone by [the] midterm election. There's barely any time for them to save their skins. And if they don't turn around right now and state their open support for this movement they're going to be left behind. Because you are either with us or against us at this point," said Gonzalez.
Student David Hogg directed blame squarely at President Trump, calling his inability to pass mental health or gun control laws in a Republican-controlled House and Senate "pathetic."
Student Hogg seems unaware that a Democratic president with majorities in both Houses didn't pass gun control laws. But why not politicize a tragedy? And the adults in the media are eating up statements like Hogg's. And these adults, seeing the usefulness of this Children's Crusade, aren't bothering to suggest that the students learn anything about the issue before mouthing off in public.
As for the person who offered thoughts and prayers to the Pollack family, have you noticed that a growing number of people now find this offer "unacceptable"? Even those who didn't particularly believe in prayer in the past accepted "thoughts and prayers" as an expression of sympathy from another human being. Now, now many reject thoughts and prayers, belligerently.
When we can no longer come togetheras a nation in the wake of a terrible tragedy, we're in trouble.