Monday, May 06, 2013

Shooting herself in the foot

Overlook the obvious and raging dimwittery in this article and skim it for the tweets.

That's Dana Loesch, the young Republican famous for being those two things together, bickering with CNN's Piers Morgan about guns on Twitter. Morgan points out that the AR-15 Loesch shot was the same model used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown shooting, which had been legally purchased by Lanza's mother. 

While Morgan doesn't deserve the vitriol heaved against him in the Twitchy article, he was definitely trolling to some extent. Which sucks, because he makes some good points.

But that shouldn't detract from what Loesch was doing to start with: bragging about firing the weapon. Gun people do this because they love firearms. Others may psychoanalyze all those tweets and Facebook posts, but the same can be said for posts about food, cars, liquor, politics, quilts and just about everything else.

What sets Loesch's tweets apart is context. Among the right-wing pundits I follow on Twitter (and I follow many), she is among the quickest to double down in any politically unflattering situation. She takes particular delight in slamming critics, constantly retweeting their low blows. So when Loesch tweeted a picture of her AR-15, I figured there was at least some political bent to it. 

"But Ian! Maybe she just likes the AR-15."

Maybe. She hasn't done anything illegal with it that I'm aware of. But I can't help thinking her intention was to rile up critics. That it was as much to say, "Nyah nyah nyah" as to say, "Check out my AR-15." So she is guilty of one thing: spite. Is that the right word? I'm not sure. But it's a pattern these days, and it's obnoxious.

Last year, when Chick-Fil-A was taking heat for donating money to anti-gay causes, people like Sarah and Todd Palin posted pictures of themselves eating there. In my own feeds, I noticed conservative friends suddenly name-dropping the place every chance they got. That actually irritated me more than Chick-Fil-A itself, because it suggested that people cared more about thumbing their noses than actually thinking about the issue. (To be fair, I also thought that about the gay activists making out there and about that jerk who harassed the woman at the drive-thru.)

What I wanted to happen was for Chick-Fil-A to cease funding those activities, thus no longer making the restaurant (where the food is tasty and the people are friendly, honestly) a litmus test for politics. I wanted to be able to eat there with a clear conscience, or at least as clear as I can have in a world where most companies put profits toward things I deem reprehensible. Doubling down on pointless posturing makes that difficult — more so, even, than the actions of the company itself.

Same goes with the AR-15. As far as I'm concerned, anyone wanting to praise that weapon in public should second-guess themselves. No, guns don't kill people, but that gun was recently used by a person to inflict the horrific deaths of small children. Loesch would be better off enjoying her weapon without making a public spectacle of it. Her tweet, politically loaded as it is, only hurts her cause.

I haven't been innocent of this in the past, though I like to think that there's always more to my posts than reactionary spite. Sometimes riling up people is the cost of making a point, but it should never be the prime motivator. It's all too clear when it is.

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