Back in the day, TTAG expanded its anti-flaming policy to beyond-the-pale comments about public personalities. We continue to delete violent, sexist, racist, homophobic and other types of nasty slurs against people arguing for civilian disarmament — no matter how much they deserve our readers’ ire. Our reason: the antis will use these off-color comments against the cause of firearms freedom. Use them to depict gun rights advocates as Neanderthals. And worse. Like this [via bostonglobe.com]:
[Massachusetts] Attorney General Maura Healey knew she would get blowback for trying to close a gap in the state’s assault weapons ban . . . her office was braced for pushback from Second Amendment absolutists across the country. What nobody was prepared for was how vile, sexist, and homophobic so much of that pushback would be.
Much of it is unprintable — ugly tirades full of antigay slurs, mysogyny, and profanity, including the c-word, slung over and over. Callers shout obscenities and hurl names at the junior staffers who work the AG’s hotline. On YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and gun-lover websites, haters are all over Healey for daring to fulfill the spirit of the law, signed in 1998 by Republican Governor Paul Cellucci.
“Hey witch . . . did you ban pressure cookers too?” somebody wrote, referring to the devices used in the Boston Marathon bombing.
“I hope you get throat cancer,” posted another.
“Another [expletive] woman passing laws based off emotional bias this is why woman[sic] should not have leading roles they’re emotionally to [sic] weak,” wrote a grammatically challenged charmer.
They’ve called Healey ugly, her agenda satanic, and taunted her for being gay. One person tweeted that he’d like to hire a homeless man to rape and disembowel the attorney general alive. A commenter on a gun nut blog tracked down her home address and posted it.
You get the idea: Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham launched an ad hominem attack on ad hominem attacks. Anonymous ad hominem attacks.
Are these flamers real? No conclusive evidence presented. Are they representative of the average Massachusetts gun owner, outraged by MA AG Healey’s anti-ballistic blitzekreig on their gun rights? Of course not.
Abraham is attempting to brand gun rights advocates as deviants. And Healey as a courageous fighter for “gun safety.”
Oh, good grief, you may be thinking, Can’t you just ignore them? These are just fringe-dwelling fools. They can’t even spell. The thing is, the fringe is wide. And when somebody sends you a note threatening you with rape and murder, it can get to you, even if you’ve grown inured to garden-variety torment.
You’re not supposed to admit this, of course. You’re damned if you call these cretins out — it gives them oxygen, makes you seem like a victim — and damned if you don’t, because they just keep doing it. The world, especially online, is replete with men who straight-up hate women.
For her part, Healey has opted for oxygen deprivation, declining to comment on the torrents of misogyny. She did say she was determined to keep fighting to control the spread of weapons designed to mow down as many people as possible. Which guarantees further abuse.
“I am not going to back down,” she said. “I believe this is right and appropriate and lawful and something we need to do.”
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. But why give “oxygen” to the Constitutional issues at stake when you can marginalize any and all debate by demonizing the opposition?
If Abraham thinks the flamers are shameful, she should take a good hard look in the mirror. She is no better than them. In fact, she is far worse.