In that article about the internet, which is not a place, being a terrible place, Tod Kelly rightly criticizes Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo for the latter’s provision of, my words, a brutally imbecilic rant by a TPM commenter on those who oppose gun control. I’m not convinced at all that the poor pitiful internet is uniquely responsible for such brutality and imbecility, but I am convinced that Marshall’s reader’s rant was a rant, and a typical one. Quoted Marshall quoting a commenter did Kelly as follows:
The pro-gun forces have guns, and practice how to use them to protect “their rights” all the time. They fantasize about pointless shoot outs and martyrdom, as resistance to tyranny.
And of course, in case we might forget, every couple of months one of them enacts these fantasies, in classrooms or public buildings across the country. They are, in short, weaponized bullies with terroristic tendencies, and the public shies away from confronting them. Meanwhile, pro-life activists, though they may get shouted at, have no fear of gun wielding representatives from Planned Parenthood. They know that. And the more highly weaponized the gun crowd becomes, the stronger this repression of other people’s civil right to protest becomes, even as the right knows they may be harangued but they will not be shot. Thus a movement that is responsible for thousands of deaths and tragedies across decades gets no attention, while Fox News froths in the mouth about Bill Ayers.
Marshall offers no commentary on the comment, unless it is via the headline “The Stealth Menace.” If I knew Marshall to be a critic of his own readers’ exaggerated political language, and knew his readers to be unusually sensitive to irony, I would wonder if he had in mind a reference to the kind of rhetoric he happens to be highlighting, rather than the group that commenter “JR”‘s comment directly targets.