Today another tragedy occurred when a gunman took the lives of two innocent people in the course of doing their jobs. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot by a former colleague, Vester Lee Flanagan (aka Bryce Williams), as they were conducting an interview. And predictably the media has sprung into action with blanket coverage that is mostly comprised of repetition, speculation, and sensationalism.
The other predictable response comes from self-interested parties who seek to gain attention and support by exploiting the pain and grief of the victims. Already Breitbart News has published an article with a belligerent headline that baselessly declared the crime to be a “Race Murder In Virginia.” Rush Limbaugh used the story to advocate for arming all reporters as if there is a raging war on journalists. Never mind that all the evidence currently shows that this was a workplace dispute where the workers just happened to be in local television reporting. And Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, in the early hours of confusion following the murders, complained that they haven’t been designated a hate crime.
However, what appears to be the most perverse and far-fetched take on the matter so far came from Glenn Beck (video below). I know, try to contain your shock. Beck sees something far more consequential than the sad reality of lost lives due to a disturbed individual with access to a deadly weapon. For Beck this was a message direct from God to him:
“I think God is giving me one final warning. He’s telling us, ‘You got one more chance, this is it.’ I’m telling you this is it … This is God saying, ‘Last chance.'”
Beck went on to remind his radio disciples that fifteen years ago he said that if…
“…you ever start to hear me reading right from the Scriptures, you know we’re at the end. I’m reading today right from the Scriptures … I’m telling you, as we watch things like a shooting on television and a shooting in the street, this is the beginning of sorrows. This is the beginning!”
Setting aside that Beck can’t seem to make up his mind as to whether this is the beginning or the end, he is plainly convinced that the shooting in Virginia was the work of God who did it to warn Beck of impending doom from the Heavens. The fact that a disgruntled ex-employee killed his former colleagues, something that unfortunately happens with a fair degree of frequency, is proof to Beck that the Lord is losing patience with the human race and is about to condemn us to eternal damnation. Of course, Beck has made predictions of The Perfect Storm that would herald the End Times in the past so often it is more like a running joke than a prophecy.
The depressing inevitability of opportunists taking advantage of tragedy is a sorry statement on the nature of our society. But it is a constant that can be predicted with near total accuracy. What is sometimes less predictable is just how low these callous vulgarians can sink.
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