Let’s bring back shame. It’s high time.
Not shame for who you were born, or for not being rich, or for making a simple mistake. No, I mean shame for being a bad person, shame for doing bad things.
This goes against the grain in a time when we’ve been taught that people’s self-esteem should be boosted, but think about it: Some people just have too much self-esteem and could do with quite a bit less. (If this brings to mind a recent president, well, I didn’t say it.)
Take, for example, the people who have been charged with defacing the mural in Southington that serves as a memorial to the 20 children and six educators who were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Sure, they’re past being hurt now, but no doubt many of their bereaved loved ones have heard about this malicious vandalism.
That act pales, though, in comparison to the inexcusable behavior of the delusional conspiracy theorists who have been plaguing the Sandy Hook families for years with their shameless attempts to change history by asserting that it never happened.
The most infamous of these evildoers has been “Infowars” host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but there have been others, too, who alleged that the shooting was a hoax, or a “false flag” operation staged by the U.S. government to push through new gun-control legislation. There was even a book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” claiming that the event was a FEMA drill.
But the latest author of such loathsome rantings to come to public attention is U.S. Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, a member of the “Stop the Steal” set known for promoting QAnon conspiracy theories. Her Twitter account was suspended — temporarily, sad to report — for “multiple violations” involving the alleged election fraud in Georgia. (If this brings to mind a recent president, well, I didn’t say it.)
The Connecticut Post reports that two years ago Greene endorsed a Facebook post stating that not only Sandy Hook but also the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and even the 9/11 attack never happened; they were all were “stagged [sic].”
How anyone could be so depraved and/or so just plain evil as to do this to people who’ve already suffered the worst nightmare that could befall any parent simply boggles the mind. What it is that can turn a heart so malignant and vile as to inflict such pain is a mystery. Is it pure evil or serious mental illness? Or maybe both?
Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son Dylan died at Sandy Hook, had the guts to invite Greene to come to Newtown and see her son’s ashes and his “bullet-hole-riddled sweatshirt.” But it seems that no amount of evidence is enough to convince some people of the truth. (If this brings to mind a recent president, well, I didn’t say it.)
It’s easy enough to latch on to a wild-eyed conspiracy theory. First, it seems to finally explain something you weren’t sure about, and someone else has already done the work of putting together the “evidence,” no matter how specious. Then, it’s very hard to prove a negative, but that burden is on the nonbeliever. And, of course, it feels so good to be one of the few people really “in the know.”
After that, I blame the internet.
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.