And Now, the Nominees for the Worst Response to Las Vegas


Another day, another horrific gun incident in America. And inevitably, another round of inappropriate, irrational and tasteless responses in the hive of American culture. The competition, as always was stiff for the worst response. Let’s roll the drum and announce the contenders.

1. “Thoughts and prayers”

This is a perennial mindless mantra that gets trotted out and echoed over and over after every mass shooting.  It’s made more appearances on the post-massacre stage than Meryl Streep has made on the Oscar stage. Theoretically, there’s nothing wrong with offering “thoughts and prayers” to victims and their relatives. But such sentiments do nothing to ward off these incidents in the future. And after the 500th time or so, the phrase begins to sound awfully hollow — particularly when it comes from mouths that normally are occupied with fellating the NRA.

2. Verbal diarrhea from the Putative President

Inevitably, the character in the Oval Office would contribute to the mix. Fresh off his life-saving expedition to Puerto Rico two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, in which he heroically sought to relieve the suffering of the locals by throwing rolls of paper towels at them, he proved once again that he was up to the challenge of making an utter ass of himself.

First, he extended “warmest condolences” to the families of the murdered, as if he were congratulating them on a baby shower; even when he apparently has good intentions, he seems utterly incapable of saying anything that doesn’t sound moronically gauche. Then he declared that the bloodbath was “in many ways a miracle” because the first responders did their jobs — apparently the concept of people doing their jobs is so foreign to him that he finds it a nothing short of miraculous. Then he went to visit the scene of the crime and declared that it was “so wonderful” to meet with the victims and their families. At least this time he didn’t attack the media or Hillary or boast about his election victory or the size of  his audience.

3. Conspiracy Cornucopia

The tinfoil hat brigade always comes out of the crevices after an incident like this, but this time they really outdid themselves with the rumors and allegations they spread.  Here is a list of some of them, courtesy of Media Matters : the shooter was an intelligence agent who botched a gunrunning sting; the shooting was a “false flag” attack from the “deep state”, Obama “shadow government” and/or “Bolshevik revolutionaries”; the shooting is linked to labor unions; the shooter was working with ISIS; the shooter was part of the antifa movement;  MGM Resorts is destroying evidence; the shooter did not act alone; the shooter’s suicide was staged by police;  the shooter was a left-wing radical who wanted to kill T—p supporters; the shooting was part of a plot to promote metal detectors; the shooting was connected to O.J. Simpson’s release from prison; the Democratic Party was behind it; it was part of a leftist plot to murder white people. Etc,, etc., etc., etc., etc.

4. Guns are beautiful

Needless to say, we can’t get through the aftermath of any gun slaughter without hearing the gun lobby and its cult followers rhapsodize about how wonderful the murder weapons are, and how all the carnage could have been prevented if only the citizens present had all been armed too.  Now stop and visualize for a moment. Can you imagine what the results would have been if all the concert attendees in Las Vegas had whipped out their own hardware and opened fire in the direction of the Mandalay Bay? (And no, Hitler did not ban guns. Nor did he say that the way to conquer a nation is to disarm its populace. And so what if he had?)

5. And oh yes, abortion

Gunsters always scramble for anything they can to point the finger of blame at, as long as it’s pointed away from their precious toys. Video games, the media, “gun control”, neglecting God and, inevitably, abortion. No, seriously. Every. Single. Time.

Right-wing pundit Jeffery Lord explains the “logic” thus:

“If we have a culture that disrespects human life and teaches people to have disrespect for human life, how else are we going to wind up than we did with this guy in Las Vegas who had no respect for human life?”

No word on whether “disrespect for human life” includes bombing the bejesus out of civilians or flooding the streets of America with implements of death.

6. And oh yes, more abortion

The GOP-controlled Congress took it a step farther, actually seizing on the massacre as an excuse to pass a cruel new anti-abortion law. The party faithful explain in a blog post:

“As we mourn the lives lost in Las Vegas this week, and welcome Whip Scalise back to Capitol Hill, we are reminded just how precious life is. This message weighed heavily on the hearts of House Republicans as we spoke of the potential of life — especially lives cut short through abortion.”

It isn’t just the dogmatic arrogance of claiming to know when life begins better than does the process of birth itself. It isn’t just the imperiousness of bulldozing their own personal convictions into law for everyone. It isn’t just the inexcusable naivete of thinking that banning abortion is an effective way to prevent it. It’s seizing upon a tragedy of epic proportions and exploiting it as an opportunity to shore up support among their hardcore base — and making no bones about it.

No word on whether they have any concern about “cutting lives short” by taking away their healthcare.

7. And oh yes, even more abortion

But the grand-prize winner surely has to be the social media meme reprinted at the top of the page. It appears with a photo of actor Sam Elliott (it’s not clear that he actually uttered the words, though it’s possible, as he has been known to make dopey statements inveighing against “gun control”).  Whoever is responsible for it, it manages to pack at least three straw men into a very compact space: “anti-gun”; “lectures”; “kill a baby”. All of them strung together by the absurd red herrings that these two issues are somehow related, that pro-choice advocates and gun regulation advocates are necessarily the same, and/or that one must choose between either concern about abortion or concern about gun violence. It’s a powerful achievement in human ignorance and irrationality that surely deserves an award of some kind.


(Follow the Propaganda Professor on Twitter @profofprop.)



    • With all due respect,

      The second amendment guarantees us the right to own guns, not 100 round magazines, body armor or armor piercing bullets. And since the piece you wrote is dripping with anger, resentment, and ill will towards the government, I doubt if you are really a truly rational person.

      Every right we have comes with limitations, and in the case of gun ownership, where guns can be used either for protection or for finalizing ill will, it would be absurd to think we should require no limits to be placed on the kinds of guns we might own. If not, the protector can easily become the threat–specially when backed by the NRA! We cannot, and rightly so, own machine guns, bazookas, tanks, or flame throwers. Why? because these can easily be used for causing massive death and injuries with enormous effectiveness.

      You say we must arm ourseves to the teeth to protect ourselves from the government–I say good luck! I however, will find some way for our citizens to protect themselves against resentful and angry people like of you.

  1. My father was an avid hunter but I have never heard even those who want guns to protect themselves from burglars and/or to ward off street gangs, claim that they need huge hundred round magazines, body armor, armor piercing shells (which the police must be overjoyed about) or bump stocks that essentially allow them to legally purchase machine guns, So my conclusion is that he NRA does not represent average gun owners, or a majority of gun owners—For them it must be a game about money and profits–not about anyone’s 2nd amendment rights. And if the left is seeking to politicize a tragedy, why not?–of course it is!–what better time ot motivate ordinary Americans to demand that their representatives help pass at least SOME common sense regulations.

    I cannot help but be cynical about anything that comes from the NRA, they start off by pretending they also want common sense measure to reduce gun violence, but then make sure that, if our Congressmen defy them they can say goodbye to Capitol Hill. There oughta be a law–pun completely intended!

    • I’d like to add that Sam Elliot self identifies as center/left politically. He is pro-choice and pro sensible gun regulation. It’s kind of sad that he’s being used in these memes that promote the opposite of his beliefs. And being that he doesn’t participate in social media, he probably has no idea what has been attributed to him.

    • No matter who wrote the letter, Let me quote Emily Dickinson describing a less ugly equivalency—“A rose is a rose, is a rose is a rose”… So, the author writes a letter full of anger and irrational self-righteousness and since many agree with him, the individual person who actually said or wrote the words your provided, speaks for many others who are likeminded–thus my initial comments still apply to he or she or them. Do you really agree or are you just trying to be sly?

      • I’m just wondering why you’re busting my chops instead of going after the author of these articles, especially since I’m not the author.

    • I’m all in favor of placing Ryan under the same scrutiny as Hillary, as well as Trump being subjected to years of investigations like Hillary if he should come out unscathed from the current investigation. But as far as the rest of the post at the link above, it is full of assumptions and suppositions about many things which are far from factual, like the mention of a supposed massive governmental plot to bring down the Twin Towers—which happens to be a topic and bogus conspiracy myth, which I have examined from the top down (no pun intended) for more than a year, while sparing for more than a year with a bunch of arrogant, pseudo scientific jerks, who wrongly dispute the science which has so clearly proven them wrong at virtually every turn. Not only has one meaningless anomaly after another been explained sufficiently by scientists, metallurgists, architects and engineers, but I have also witnessed some very clear taken out of context quotes used to falsely support many of the absurd claims made by 911 conspiracy believers. For one of the most brazen, simply open this link and play the 2nd video down from the top of the page, then tell me why supposedly virtuous knights of 911 truth find it necessary to concoct such brazen lies—lies which obviously have nothing to do with either the truth or with virtue?

      • The above is in response to the ideas contained in the article you used to illustrate how inadequate arguments made by others can be.

        I went to the link and read it again, however since a considerable amount of time has passed since the POP made the post for which this thread was originally provided, I forgot once more that you do not actually believe what is contained at that link.

        My apologies. However, I hope you also feel the same way about 911 conspiracy fanatics, since that was only one of the issues addressed by the author of that article?

  2. Because the person who posts an article like that usually at least supports its premise. But I guess no need to bust my chops, I have already critiqued the author, thanks to article you posted.

      • Yes, but I hope you can see why his post confused me? “Meanwhile, back at the ranch.” is a phrase meant to indicate something going on at the same time but in another location, but it does not inherently let us know if what happens at the other location, is pro, con, worse, less bad, etc. And since it is a play made on old melodramatic westerns, it’s sometimes meant to indicate absurdity—and in this case the linked article’s position seems to imply an absurdity. So when an anonymous commenter gives us a link to an article without telling us who wrote it, or who might disagree, even after reading the author’s name at the link, how are we to know if the author is the same person as the commenter on this website?—Yes, I assumed wrong, but given the context my conclusion it was really not so wrong or unfounded. But then you guys know about all that already.

  3. I used it as a figure of speech; there’s no need to read more into it without additional information. And it would have been courteous to ask for clarification.

    • I did ask for clarification:

      “the individual person who actually said or wrote the words you provided, speaks for many others who are likeminded–thus my initial comments still apply to he or she or them. Do you really agree or are you just trying to be sly?

      I asked you if you really did but got no direct answer, other than that, yes its a figure of speech and apparently you did not write the article you linked to. I get it.

      • You only “asked” for clarification after you realized you had erred in assuming that I either wrote the article or agreed with it, and only then as a snarky part of an apologia that tried to deflect responsibility from yourself.

        You would have been better off if you had used your first response to ask rather than launch an unwarranted attack based on false assumptions.

  4. I asked for clarification to make sure I had your actual opinions right. All you had to do is tell me what your intention was. If by saying “I get it! I gave a snarky answer then yes it was one. I have already admitted I was mistaken twice. No sense in wasting any more time trying to blame each other, that attempt only wastes space on this forum.

  5. Let me make one more statement about the protestations of Anonymous in regards to my mistake about his own statements.

    The Truth is that after I assumed your link went to something you did not write, I felt a bit punk’d after mistaking it for your own. But I did agree with the POPs observation that sometimes a link is provided to illustrate how awful it is, and just tried to state why I made that mistake. And, when you confronted me about taking responsibility for my mistake, I felt like you were claiming a “gotcha” moment.

    Regardless of the fact that the mistake was mine, I feel its easy to understand why that mistake was made—after commenting on this website for several years, I have confronted all kinds of Pro-gun people who claim there should be no limits on the 2nd amendment’s guarantee that all Americans have the right to own guns. Virtually all of these people provided links to (confirm) their own opinions, and I considered your link to be just one more. So yes,, apparently I was wrong and that was not your intention.

    The reason for any snarky tone is, as I explaIned in this comment above, because I felt punk’d, and like I was being ambushed with a “gotcha” ploy, which would soon be followed by something like, “if you know so much about pro-gun people why did you assume that my negative example was a statement of my own beliefs?”

    Sometimes its embarrassing to make such mistakes, so in order to save face, I just thought I’d clarify why my mistake was made. But no offense–my bad. you provided a good link in order to illustrate the way that some gun fanatics think.

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