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Clinton’s Sandy Hook Shame

On April 5th, Erica Smegielski tweeted asking Bernie Sanders to try living one hour of “our” lives:

Erica Smegielski's Tweet to Sanders

Referenced in her statement was The New York Daily News’ headline for the following day:

New York Daily News' Shame Cover

Here’s the general series of events:

Erica (and her blatant supporting tweets from and involving #TeamHillary) is saying that Sanders is responsible due to his involvement in voting for gun manufacturer legal immunity in regards to how weapons are used after they’re purchased. Let’s go through why this is happening, which is something that you are not currently seeing from the mainstream media.

Erica’s Twitter account is an excellent example of the type of argument we get to have/not have in 2016. She states ‘Trolls get blocked’ in her account description, but the issue here is that she’s made herself an on-boarding ramp for the Hillary wagon and attempted to shut out all other viewpoints. Even worse, this is done leveraging the position of a person closely related to a shooting incident. What do we do when a person in a position of social ‘power’ is allowing a political campaign to speak through it? Hopefully, we ignore it.

In theory, Erica is a perfect spokesperson for gun control. In practice, she is being utilized by Clinton’s campaign to smear Sanders without any evidence relating to actual gun control. Creating a position of social ’immunity’ for Erica because of her status or beliefs is not the right way to reach a reasonable discussion, and you can see Clinton’s campaign taking full advantage of Sandy Hook (and this Twitter persona) to gain supporters in the worst kind of way - no real progress on issues, and nothing but political gain, going far enough to undermine a serious gun control conversation. This is offensive to every victim and every person who wants to see real change.

Personally, I’d love to snap my fingers and see guns disappear. In this case, Erica is not arguing for methods of preventing guns from reaching the wrong hands, but for the right to sue gun manufacturers for the way their product was used. The problem with this idea becomes obvious if you consider its precedent, and then consider the implications across a wide variety of products.

Consumers need to be held responsible - should knife manufacturers be held responsible for the way their products are used? Is that too far from the issue? How about a bullet manufacturer - why is that not part of the conversation? It’s because there isn’t a clear enough way to speak about bullets and Sanders in the same sentence. This legal ‘immunity’ makes sense for companies. It makes sense in the same way Apple stated making a single user’s iPhone insecure creates a problem for all users of iPhones. We don’t want to create a situation where litigation occurs case-by-case and judges or juries who don’t fully understand this issue use their biases to essentially rob manufacturers in an attempt to find a witch to burn over the next terrible event that happened to involve a <PRODUCT_NAME_HERE>. Suing manufacturers is not an answer to gun control.

The problem is the murderer, if not letting manufacturers create these things in the first place. If you really want to dive into it, have a conversation about why the person pulling the trigger might want to do that - don’t misdirect blame and pretend that a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the murder weapon is enough to do anything other than shower victims with cash and slap an organization on the wrist. Of course manufacturers need to be held responsible, but not for the actions of their users. I don’t particularly like that gun manufacturers are the “poster child” for this concept, but their extreme example makes the problem easy to reason about, same as the Apple/FBI media frenzy.

Imagine what weapons manufacturers might feel about this - doesn’t a lawsuit sound more appealing than being prevented or severely restricted in creating and selling these products in the first place? Hillary’s motivations might be motivated not only by her campaign’s Sanders attacks, which fall completely flat outside of her media support, but by her connections to this industry.

The media has characterized this as “hitting Bernie on gun control” (Chicago Tribune), “Clinton piling on Sanders” (CBS News), and Bernie being “slammed on guns” by a Sandy Hook daughter (The Hill). The headlines are everywhere. But to characterize the issue in this way, after knowing why these things are being said by the Clinton campaign, amounts to no more than spreading simple propaganda. It is bad journalism, and on Facebook and Twitter the response to this shows public outrage to politicizing Sandy Hook. You can see this social media evidence documented over at one of the only places to discuss the reality of the situation, U.S. Uncut. And they’re right - Sandy Hook victims are being used as political props. These types of shootings are happening multiple times every month, and continuing to politicize them, mischaracterize them in the public eye, and present it in our largest sources of news is unacceptable.

If nothing else, honor the victims of Sandy Hook by knowing the truth.