I guess it was only a matter of time, a really short time apparently. A short time until the right-wing pundits and conservative “christian” wing nuts started blaming the Amtrak crash earlier this week on “the gay.”
It started with Charles C. Johnson over at gotnews.com who did the “hard research” of looking up the engineer’s Facebook account. From there, publications like World Net Daily (WND) and right-wing religious talk show hosts like Sandy Rios have been making hay and throwing out “theories” on how “the gay” caused the crash along with the deaths and injuries that happened.
And those of us to the left of them (read: almost everyone) have been having our fun laughing right back at them for it.
Yes, Mr. Bostian liked some pro-gay groups on Facebook and if someone held a gun to my head, I would probably agree that he might be a gay man. The engineer also had a pro BBQ page liked as well as ones from his Alma Mater, a volunteer fire company and several religious (seemingly christian) organizations.
So, by the logic displayed by Johnson, Rios, and the team at WND et al, an obsession with pork ribs could have caused the tragic crash. After all, Mr. Bostian was an unabashed lover of all things smoked or grilled and slathered with sauce. Maybe it made his fingers greasy and he slipped causing the train to accelerate and crash? That is certainly as likely as the “just asking questions” tales that people like Rios have drawn up for their thousands of listeners. Like this one,
Now I am not saying, I am not inferring to those of you that are gay rights activists and like to monitor this show, I’m not inferring that this accident happened because he was gay, but I do think it’s an interesting part of the story and you can bet it would be edited out,” Rios said.
She then suggested that the engineer could have possibly been “going through some confusion that has to do with the very core of who they are,” and mentioned the story of an airline pilot who “put his entire plane at risk because he had an emotional, angry outburst to something that happened,” which she says was related to hormone therapy he was receiving.
Rios added: “I don’t know, but I think it is something to be discussed and I think it’s a factor and I doubt you will hear it anywhere else.
If they can recklessly speculate about “the gay,” I can blame it on the BBQ sauce. If I wanted to get really mean, I could claim that God did it, after all Bostian could be christian too based on his Facebook account.
Beyond him just focusing on the irrelevant factoid of being allegedly homosexual, Johnson really starts the wheels of recklessness rolling by selectively grabbing from Bostian’s resume. For example, it is pointed out that he worked at Target as a cashier. The implication being “this train was being driven by a clerk from Target and not someone who was qualified.” What they neglect to mention is that he worked at Target for a year while earning his degree. You know – WORKING HIS WAY THROUGH COLLEGE.
The employment happened in 2005, when he was a student. After leaving Missouri with a degree Mr. Bostian, according to his resume, went to work for Amtrak. A half a decade later, he was promoted to engineer. One can assume this promotion happened after he had gained enough experience and completed the necessary training for such a position. Furthermore, just a little bit of actual research would reveal that Bostian’s life-long passion wasn’t really good ribs, clerking for a big box store, or even his sexual identity.
It was trains. Bostian is a life-long enthusiast. He was doing what he loved. If one wants to draw some sort of logical line based on his Facebook likes, web postings, and resume why would you leave his first passion off the list? Why would you leave his better than average education off the list? Why instead would you draw a picture of a gay department store clerk opining over some “affair” gone so wrong he decides in a moment of “confusion” to crash an entire train? You know, like that gay co-pilot did a while back – you remember that right?
To go one step further,Bostian was a big safety advocate and was writing advocating the usage of Positive Train Control (PTC). He said things like,
At any point over the previous EIGHTY years the railroad could have voluntarily implemented some form of this technology,” Bostian wrote in the post, which was first reported by The New York Times.
And. . .
I wish the railroads had been more proactive in adopting active signaling systems from the get-go,” he wrote in March 2011.
The reality is that they have had nearly 100 years of opportunity to implement SOME sort of system to mitigate human error, but other than a few notable exceptions, they have failed to do so.
They can’t paint him as anything they view as decent, normal, or like them in any way. They can’t mention that he was a pro-safety advocate. If they do, then it couldn’t be “the gay disease” that caused the crash and it HAS TO BE HOMOSEXUALITY AS THE CAUSE. Homosexuality caused his entire life to be wrong must be their narrative. He was a gay activist who worked as a clerk then decided to drive a train and wrecked it killing people. If he just wasn’t gay, maybe he wouldn’t have made such bad choices.
believe sell that gay is just evil and begets evil. What happened here is just the culmination of a natural course of events. They need to sell that any bad that happens in the world, where any gay person is involved must have that direct cause and effect. It is what makes their cups overflow with cash. And, that’s what it’s all about. Creating the enemy, in this case – “the gay.” Then just toss that anti-gay mud into everything possible. If you are losing, which they are lately on this issue, get more shrill and loud.
It is beyond sad and unfortunate to think that these are the battles we must be relegated to fight. Instead talking about and working to improve our infrastructure and invest in our future, we must push back against ridiculous assertions that this tragic accident was the result of homosexuality.
As they say, “this is why we can’t have nice things.” In this case, not having those “nice things” like the safety equipment Bostian spoke out publicly for, is the direct result of not only this but all our conversations anymore getting degraded and muddled down into arguments about what some snake oil salesman is pitching. It is time to put our foot down and just do away with these nonsensical distractions and the folks who peddle it for their own profit. It is time to put distractions aside and get serious about rebuilding our infrastructure for the next century.
Featured image via screen capture from YouTube