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The Dark Right Rises

Rhetorical lows of the fringe right after Aurora attack

By Richard Whittaker, 4:30PM, Wed. Jul. 25, 2012

At a time of moral outrage and tragedy, nothing like watching pundits and grandstanders debase us all
At a time of moral outrage and tragedy, nothing like watching pundits and grandstanders debase us all

After Friday's mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the old saying about tragedy bringing out the best and worst in people was sorely tested. You also don't have to wait too long for really offensive media ramblings and political posturing.

Everyone thought that the right wing rattlings would peak before the film, when Glenn Beck claimed that he deserved royalty checks for the narrative, or when Rush Limbaugh claimed that it was all a sinister anti-Mitt Romney conspiracy. You see, in the Limbaughverse, the Obama campaign traveled back to 1993 to get DC Comics' writer Chuck Dixon to call the villain Bane (see? Bane? Bain Capital? See?) Presumably, they were using the same time machine that they used to travel back to 1961 to file an "It's a boy!" notice in the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin.

But after the Aurora shootings, the fringe right lost its mind, its conscience, and its tenuous grip on reality. Starting, of course, with Texas' fearmonger-in-chief Rep. Louie Gohmert. He called "Istook Live," a show on the radio station owned by ultra-right GOP think tank the Heritage Foundation, where he blamed the Aurora shootings on … atheism! Gohmert tried to tie this all in to "the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" and rambled on about teachers getting hassled for their beliefs.

And where there's God in GOP rhetoric, guns quickly followed. Gohmert and host Ernest Istook quickly segued into how concealed carry would have stopped accused killer James Holmes' attack. Not to be outdone, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., went on Fox News to get all Second Amendmenty. When well-known liberal Chris Wallace mused that some Constitutional lawyers may err on the side of caution when it comes to selling 100 round magazines, Johnson had none of it. He simply said that, "You simply can't keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals that want to do harm."

Of course, if you want the finest in paranoid fantasies, get your vaccinations and head over to Prison Planet, where performance artist Alex Jones and his supporting cast has been claiming that the attack was a false flag operation, whereby the United Nations staged the whole thing so they can take your guns mumble mumble Agenda 21 mumble mumble water purification kits mumble.

But we may have a new low, and it came straight out of the Wall Street Journal. In a quick bid to become the most hated man in American journalism, Journal editorial board member James Taranto tweeted (and we kid you not) "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice." Taranto has walked this back somewhat via a mea culpa. In it, Taranto said that he had thought his comment would be "thought-provoking." Well, mostly it provoked the thought, "How does James Taranto sleep at night?"

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