Columnist Richard Bogartz: Facebook commentary on gun violence

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Occasionally (virtually every day) I glance (five to 20 minutes) at Facebook and even shyly venture a timid remark (a verbal riposte with my rapier wit or an incisive analysis in three words). Perhaps I can recall (search Facebook for) some to share with you.

To an article from the Huffington Post titled “The Teens Are Coming For The NRA, And They Can’t Be Stopped. We are witnessing history” by Sebastian Murdock, I replied “I stand with my teachers, the teens of America!!”

Another Huffington Post article was titled “Rick Scott breaks with Trump, NRA with new gun control proposals.” He said some useful things but nothing about banning AR-15s and the like. I said, “Maybe … Maybe …” Note how clever I can be when I put my mind to it.

To the story of Scott Pappalardo, who decided to get rid of his AR-15 so no one would be killed by his weapon and concluded that he therefore should not sell it, but should cut it up, and did so, I merely responded “Hero.” I must have been under the weather.

To the report of the First National Bank of Omaha dumping the National Rifle Association-branded Visa credit card that offers 5 percent back on gas and sporting goods purchases, I thought the pithy “Bravo!!!” would suffice.

NPR.org reported NRA executive Wayne LaPierre’s “defiant speech” about “elites” taking advantage of Florida’s high school shooting to foster socialism. My delicate rejoinder was “It is often hard to tell the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists. But not in the case of the NRA. These are terrorists, plain and simple, trying to convince us they are fighting for freedom. I call BS!!!”

Needing nothing from me was the post from “The Other 98%” that read, “I need every black man in the country to go out tomorrow and buy an AR-15 assault weapon. They’ll be banned by Tuesday.” I merely shared it with the thousands who await my every offering.

Similarly, the post from “The Resistance” by someone identified as “The Hoarse Whisperer” needed no comment. It said “People defending the 2nd amendment seem awfully scared of teenagers armed only with the 1st amendment.” It pleases me when I occasionally have the good sense not to gild the lily.

Another poster I was able to resist commenting on was the one from “The Other 98%” by MikelJollett that said, “Right now in America there are Republicans who received millions of dollars from the NRA accusing CHILDREN who survived a massacre of being PAID to speak out on guns.”

Another gem was from “Deciphering Morgan” by Jessi Cash: “When my child hits another child with a stick, I don’t blame the stick, but I still take the stick away.”

From thenation.com there was a photo by Tracie Williams showing law enforcement officers pointing their weapons at two water protectors praying near the Sacred Fire of the main resistance camp of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The title for the photo was “Since Standing Rock, 56 bills have been introduced in 30 states to restrict protests.” My historically accurate, but perhaps slightly tangential response was, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” OK, so states are not the Congress. Still. Still.

To “Florida lawmakers reject motion to consider bill that would ban assault rifles: Florida lawmakers have reportedly rejected an attempt to consider a bill that would ban assault rifles, less than a week after the shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high…” on thehill.com, I responded, “Don’t buy from Florida. Don’t visit Florida. Make Florida pay for its support of slaughter.”

Elsewhere I said, “I’m with the kids, not with the skunks that are defaming them.”

Richard S. Bogartz is a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.