Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Tragic reactions

Last week we saw a horrible tragedy unfold over the course of four days, which resulted in a total of four dead and one terrified city. Boston has arguably gone through more last week than any city in America has since New York City during 9/11. Take a moment to be thankful that it’s finally over.

Every time there’s a tragedy, we see people react in many different ways on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a nice thing when we see millions of people come together to show their support for the victims. However, if you’ve been following the pattern of my articles, you’d know that nothing is ever that simple.

We can’t have nice things because there always has to be a group of people that think it’s funny to crack jokes at the expense of the victims immediately after something bad happens. I’m all for offensive humor, but there’s a difference between posting offensive humor for the sake of humor, and posting for the sake of being offensive. It’s unnecessary and a very weak attempt at humor. However, this isn’t even the worst of the reactions to the bombings.

We can’t have nice things because there will always be a group of people who use tragedies as an excuse to fuel hatred for a group they already hated. As soon as it was revealed that the bombers were Muslim, we saw an amazing display of Islamophobia and fear and disgust for the Jihad. I thought we had moved forward as a country since 9/11 and no longer used the actions of a few terrorists to characterize a religion. Nope– tragedies bring out the worst in some of us and it shows just how paranoid we really are as a nation.

The paranoia doesn’t stop there, not by a long shot.

I try my best to stay politically neutral every week. Though I do put my opinions into these, I stay as objective as possible and attempt to understand my opposition. I can’t do that this week. This last group has disgusted me to a level where I can’t sympathize for the life of me.

It looks to me like right-wingers have gone off the deep end since Sandy Hook. When talks of gun control flared up, conservatives have become so paranoid that they’ve stopped making sense. They’ve antagonized the government as the enemy who wants to disarm us in order to enforce martial law and a new reign of tyranny. If you have a half hour to spare, take a look at the Sandy Hook conspiracy video here. I won’t spend any time discussing why I believe that video is a disgusting load of garbage, but I would like to use it to back up why conspiracy theorists are the lowest of the low when it comes to tragic reactions.

Not all conservatives fall into this category. I’m well aware that a few lunatics don’t speak for everyone. However, so many conservatives are now so paranoid about the government stooping to new lows to take away our civil liberties that they’ve lost all care for the victims and focus on their deranged view that they are the next victim. That’s really all a conspiracy theory is. These people are so obsessed with being the center of attention that they make themselves the victim in a tragedy that they were not even a part of.

Let’s stop for a moment and consider it. 9/11 conspiracy theorists had a valid reason for their concern. They believed the government did it to make an excuse for our entrance into the Middle East to collect oil. Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists believed the government’s agenda was to raise support for gun control. What possible agenda could the government have here? Conspiracy theorists say we need to watch what happens over the course of the next few weeks to see. That brings me no comfort, however, because that tells me that these people are blaming the government without knowing a motive or a cause.

Why do we try so hard to find a hidden agenda where there most likely is none? Alex Jones is one of the leading conspiracy theorists in the Boston Bombing event. He provides this “Family Guy” clip as evidence. Compelling, right? This episode premiered about three weeks before the bombings. Granted both clips were spliced together, it was still in the same episode and therefore this MUST be a conspiracy. The only logical thing for the government to do before the commit this conspiracy would be to tell Seth McFarlane, right? How is this even evidence? It’s a tragic coincidence and we shouldn’t be questioning whether or not the writers of “Family Guy” know more than they are telling us.

I understand their basic premise is to tell us not to trust what the media tells us, and to a certain extent, I agree. Many forms of media are biased and will focus on different aspects of the suspect in order to generate fear. I genuinely believe it is the role of the media to put fear in the hearts of their viewers. I would not, however, go as far as to say that the media are controlled by the government and they exist to keep the people dumbed down and we are scarcely better than North Korea when it comes to media censorship. The paranoia exerted by so many people is mind-numbingly ignorant.

If people could simply treat a tragedy as a tragedy, and not twist it to best suit their agendas, if people could stop making themselves the victims of tragedies, if we could lose the paranoia that the government wants to take away all of the liberties we hold dear, then maybe, just maybe, we can have nice things. Until then, we have tragedies and we have people who disrespect the dead by using the tragedies to promote hatred.