Using tragedies opportunistically to spout bullshit

I couldn’t watch the news yesterday or go online, as I simply couldn’t cope with the gut crunching imagery conjured up in my mind as a result of the US school massacre.

I braved it today and found myself shaking with rage.

First up, an article arguing not for the banning of guns, nor arguing the case for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill; nope, arguing instead for the banning of psychiatric medication. Yep, you heard me right.

There’s talk online that the gunman was potentially suffering from a personality disorder; as far as I can make out, that’s all we know. We don’t know which particular disorder, or what medication he may, or may not, have been receiving, but that does not prevent this sort spurious bullshit:

No gun can, by itself, shoot anyone. It must be triggered by a person who makes a decision to use it. And while people like NY Mayor Bloomberg are predictably trying to exploit the deaths of these children to call for guns to be stripped from all law abiding citizens who have done nothing wrong whatsoever, nobody calls for medication control.

Why is that? After all, medication alters the mind that controls the finger that pulls the trigger. The saying that “guns kill people” is physically impossible. People kill other people, and as we all learned from watching the O.J. Simpson trial, you don’t need a gun to commit murder.

We should be outlawing psychiatric medications, not an inanimate piece of metal

I’ll let you read the rest of it if you can stomach it.

Piers Morgan Tweeted this earlier:

Putting my cards on the table; mentally ill folk should not be allowed to own guns. I’m mentally ill, and am no danger to anybody, with or without a gun, but I still should not be legally allowed to own one, for the simple fact that I am mentally ill.

Does that mean I believe that all mentally ill folk are potentially mass killers, no it doesn’t. My main concern with the mentally unstable having easy access to guns, is to do with the ease of dispatching oneself into eternity.

That’s my opinion.

But what if this tragedy has nothing to do with guns, mental illness, evil, or what have you, but is instead a by-product of godlessness?

That’s the other angle being pumped out at the moment; this time, of course, by Christians.

Don’t believe me, check out The Freethinker



In the wake of the Connecticut shootings, many Christians are placing the blame on people’s lack of faith in God, on the increase of secularism in our countries and our schools, and on people’s increasing unwillingness to submit to God. Some are saying that this tragedy is God’s way of trying to cause people to repent for their depravity – a kind of punishment for people’s lack of devotion to God. These Christians are arguing that tragedies like this stem from us as a nation turning away from God.


And so on…..

Apparently this T-Shirt is doing the rounds:

I really can’t articulate a response to this any better that Prof McGrath

I am glad that fundamentalists are finally being a bit more honest about what they mean by “God.”

They clearly do not mean an omnipresent being who cannot be excluded from any place. It’s quite a different notion from that encountered on more than one occasion in the Psalms, for instance. The ancient Israelite author never said “Where shall I go to flee from your presence? I know – a public school!” And in the Book of Jonah, the main character’s attempt to flee from the one who he himself says “made the sea and the dry land” on a boat is depicted as a fool’s errand. And could you imagine any ancient Israelite or Christian author taking seriously the notion that God could be kept out of somewhere?

But even though creating laws that exclude a real and omnipresent God from public school would be utterly futile, there are in fact no such laws in the United States.

What is excluded is the use of state power and influence to promote religion in general or some sectarian religious dogma in particular.

And so I think that, when fundamentalists say that their God is excluded from public schools, they are speaking the truth. The God they worship is not the true God, the one that is omnipresent and ultimate, but political power and coercive imposition of their views on others.

That is what fundamentalists worship and serve. That is what they lament seeing expelled from public schools. And that is what they opportunistically use tragedies like the recent one to promote.

Those who know or seek the true God will not bow before such idols, and will call those who do so out, and seek to expose them for what they are, namely worshippers of false gods.

I’ll leave it there…..

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9 Responses to “Using tragedies opportunistically to spout bullshit”

  1. Peter D Says:

    First and foremost – the vast majority of people with mental health problems are non-violent and often verge on being too passive! They are far more likely to be the victims of abuse than the reverse! Secondly gun ownership itself does not give rise to violent crime. Canada has the same level of gun ownership as the USA and Switzerland far higher levels, per capita and yet we don’t see any think like the levels of gun related crime as we do in the USA.

    I don’t know what the answer is to the issue of gun crime and the regular massacres that seem part of American culture (though Hungerford, Dunblane and Whitehaven should not be forgotten by any self-righteous Brits). But I sure do know that speculation and innuendo are not helpful. As for those eager to insinuate the tragedy happened because ‘God’ is not allowed in schools, I think we can safely say they are worthless scum bags, who are eager to make political capital out of others’ misfortune. For one, in the USA, many of the Bible belt states have far higher than average rates of gun crime and murder anyway (see:! So I think the ‘God in schools’ argument is fairly weak, if not null and void.

    As with the Norwegian massacre last year, I think people should just shut their traps until all the facts are known. Let people grieve instead of emotionally masturbating over something that is just too horrible to contemplate.

    Yesterday, I tuned on the BBC lunchtime TV news. At the end of the bulletin we were informed that there was more on the Connecticut tragedy on BBC News 24. I turned to my partner and said ‘What they mean there is more empty speculation.’ Because the news channels have to churn out a 24/7 product for the scopophilic folk who confuse interest with macabre entertainment; we are treated to hours of best guesses, innuendo and salaciousness that has little if any merit. There is a lot of bullshit out there, unfortunately, as we’ve seen, some of those who claim the moral high ground by reason of belief or social position have shown that they too are not immune to peddling crap that is itself pernicious – it certainly kills truth…

  2. Gordon Says:

    I managed to avoid the coverage until this morning. There is talk that the boys mother had a house prepared for the end of the world, so perhaps being brought up in that sort of atmosphere was part of it.

    All of my Christian freinds on facebook seem to be coming up with that T Shirt photo – which is odd as we don’t have these mass shootings here, but evolution is taught more solidly here than in the US.

  3. Gordon Says:

    No need to worry, Westboro Baptist are on the case:

  4. Nancy Wallace Says:

    Silence, tears and prayers are often the only appropriate response. I’ve also been really shocked by some of the reactions I’ve come across, like those you cite, particular those from fundamentalist Christians. Where do people get these ideas? Picketing children’s funerals is especially sickening.

  5. Peter D Says:

    Of course what is rather peculiar is how ‘devastated’ and emotional we become about something that happens to some children in one country – particularly when the majority of those children are white – yet remain relatively blase about the plight of children of other nations . Tens of thousands of children have been killed in wars – particularly in Africa and the Middle East and we don’t get the same media coverage or the emotional masturbating response. I’m sure the parents of children slaughtered in Gaza, Syria, Afghanistan, Africa, Israel et el must wonder why the tale of their children’s brutal killings is less news worthy than those of American children… Just a thought. As for Westboro’ Baptist church and their threat of picketing children’s funerals – it tells us there is something sick at the heart of a nation where it is a ‘right’ to be allowed to do this without sanction by the authorities. As is the right to own guns and firearms far more complex and powerful than is necessary for either hunting or self-defence. Mind you our arms industry, make bigger and better guns, mines and bombs – and in the process fat profits, tax revenue and share dividends that make our economy and retirements all the better (ironic that the end of our long lives will be made all the better by industries that cause the death of many at the beginning of their lives!). But we rarely think about how inter-connected our lives are… I think it was St Anthony of Egypt who said something along the lines of ‘Your life and death are with your neighbour…’

  6. Annie Says:

    Thank you for your comments Peter D which reflect some of my thoughts. There were several girls killed by a landmine in Afghanistan a few days ago but we have heard very little about it and I have no idea whether it was an American, Taliban or old Russian device. As for thee children killed in Gaza by the Israeli Army or the Pakistani children killed by American drone strikes , that is always written off as unfortunate “collateral damage “.

  7. Jane Chelliah Says:

    The killing of schoolchildren in China is on the rise but that doesn’t get a mention as much as when children in Western countries are murdered. It troubles me greatly that Western ills are given more legitimacy than ones in other parts of the world are.

  8. Goy Says:

    In hoc signo vinces†

    @Peter D,
    @Jane Chelliah,

    The (inverted) racism weighted in the comments reveals the genocidal anti-white/anti-western progressive mindset.

    It isn’t redneck ‘gun culture’ that causes mass school shootings – it’s the culture of narcissism

    “I see the culture of narcissism, taken to its extreme, not the culture of gun worship. Which rather suggests that the supposedly liberal politicians currently wringing their hands over the availability of guns in the US might want to shine the spotlight on themselves instead, and on the dislocated, atomised, self-regarding modern world they have had a hand in creating.”

  9. Peter D Says:


    ‘The (inverted) racism weighted in the comments reveals the genocidal anti-white/anti-western progressive mindset…’ you astound me with your brilliance at times – on other occasions you amaze with the waddle you write. Alas on this occasion it is the latter experience I have had to endure..
    At the end of the day, ‘liberal’ (and that is a loose usage of the world – in that I mean less conservative) societies tend to suffer far less violence than their religiously conservative neighbours. I think we should remember that many of the religiously and politically conservative states in the USA suffer from far higher incidences of violent crime and murder than their liberal counterparts. History also demonstrates that the root of much of the violence throughout the world is religious violence (how the protestants slaughtered the Catholics and vice versa…)
    It is rather sad that some nasty tragedy becomes the vehicle by which the Left and Right ply their wares and sink into a blame culture. The problem is – a problem conveniently ignored by stupid people – is that there are rarely simple answers to complex social problems – those who proffer easy answers are usually nasty little sh*ts who have no shame in using other people’s misery and heartache to further their own political goals. Shame on them is what I say….

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