There was a legislative hearing in Hartford, CT. on Monday on gun violence. If you’ve been following the news you may have heard that a father of one of the Newtown victims attended and testified. You may have also heard, and perhaps saw the video even, of said father being interrupted by NRA toadies, gun lobby plants, or more likely and frightening, actual citizens who feel there should be practically no limits on their rights to own military grade weaponry. MSNBC ran the video with the caption “Mocked and Loaded. Sandy Hook Victim’s Father Heckled by Gun Rights Advocates.”
This sent Michelle Malkin into a tizzy; you see, the audience members yelling during his testimony weren’t heckling him, they were merely answering a question he posed. Eric Wemple at the Washington Post has weighed in on Malkin’s side on this issue now. I’ll let tengrain from Mock, Paper, Scissors take it from here:
The thing is, Heslin was giving his testimony and asked a rhetorical question, and some members of the audience (clearly gun enthusiasts) replied. It might not be the classic drunk in the comedy club (which seems to be the only definition that anyone cares about), but it was disrespectful, and really sad. I’m sure that the NRA had many toadies and minions there to testify on their behalf and so the gun lobby would be well represented, but far better to interrupt the father of a six-year old boy who was shot in the forehead during a mass murder.
What is bothering me about this isn’t so much that Heslin was interrupted (I’ll use that word instead of heckled), but the way that the far-right Malkin and her Twitchy brethren are making a media bias case out of NBC labeling it as heckling.
And now they are going to be doing their victory dance in the end zone because they got NBC to review it.
It’s a distraction from the real issue, which is that a deranged person got a hold of an assault weapon and mowed down a large number of first grade children and their teachers in cold blood. Every effort to distract us from this fact, arguing over semantics (heckling vs. answering), Malkin and her ilk are supporting crazy people and their alleged right to kill toddlers. She must be proud of herself.
Digby says that it is an issue of incivility in a public hearing, and she’s right, but it is so much more. It’s really vile that so many people think owning military grade weaponry is more important than letting children grow up.