Ever since President Obama shed tears at the press conference where he announced his planned executive actions on guns, the right has been in full-on attack mode. “He cries about gun violence, but not about victims of terrorism,” is the main theme of the attacks, even though the attackers know that if the president were to cry over terrorism, he would be mocked for that, too.
Joining in the criticism of the president’s tears is former Marine Mike Shepard, who has penned one of the most incoherent and ridiculous of all the attacks for the right-wing site DC Gazette. Shepard was last trotted out by his handlers to attack President Obama during the non-controversial “controversy” over lowering flags following the murder of five American servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee last summer. Now he’s back because he apparently thinks that active duty soldiers are more worthy of a president’s tears than six-year-olds, which shows you just how messed up Shepard is.
Shepard starts his piece, titled “Marines Open Letter To Obama!!! You Never Cried For Chatanooga? You Get No Respect From Us…” by saying, “Your advisors should remind you of the things our people cry about.” He goes from there to mention Colleen Hufford, who was beheaded by a co-worker in Oklahoma in 2014, and wants to know why President Obama didn’t cry about her. The incident was ruled “workplace violence,” but because Nolen had attended a mosque, the right branded it as “terrorism.”
From there, Shepard goes on to the Chattanooga shootings, asking again where the president’s tears were, and lamenting that he “had to go on Fox” to demand that flags be lowered. Shepard should know that flags are typically not lowered for a military member killed while on active duty, except in the state where that person lived or grew up. The marines and sailor who were killed in Chattanooga were all on active duty. Eventually the president gave in, although historically he was under no obligation to do so.
Next, Shepard suggests that the president has personally prevented U.S. service personnel from helping sexually abused children in Afghanistan. He says:
If you truly care about children why must my brothers ignore the screams of little boys. Those little boys being raped in the night because you say it’s the culture in which they live.
A New York Times piece from last September said that it was official policy that U.S. military personnel should “look the other way,” and not get involved for fear of undermining local government. But a Pentagon official told CNN that the U.S. has never had such a policy.
The rest of Shepard’s pathetic screed is nothing but nonsense. He talks about the president’s “friend,” who “hides behind the costume of a reverend chanting death to all cops.” While it was easy to find out what he was referring to in his comment about the “screams of little boys,” there’s nothing that a Google search turns up on this one at all. Is he talking about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who by all accounts the president has had no contact with in years, or is he confusing him with another black pastor, also named Wright, who came under fire in right-wing media following the Texas incident involving police and teens at a pool party?
Shepard’s letter ends with a section showing that he knows nothing about history. He attacks the president for issuing executive orders, missing the fact that Obama has issued fewer of them than other recent presidents. He then brings in the right’s favorite charge, that President Obama is a “dictator.” After that he says he hopes the president will start “doing your job.” If the president is a dictator, you would think that Shepard wouldn’t want him to do his job.
It is tragic when anyone is killed, but for most of us, the death of a child, even one you don’t know, is particularly hard to take. And in Sandy Hook, it wasn’t one child, it was 20. We don’t grieve as much over adults who we didn’t know personally because we don’t consider adults to be helpless, and we expect that they might have at least some tools to defend themselves. This is particularly true if the adult is a member of the military.
Since Mike Shepard and others like him don’t seem to get why the president would cry about children who were the victims of a random act of violence, but not for Marines or other servicemen permit me to offer this simple explanation: While we want our service personnel to be safe, we understand that when someone puts on a military uniform, death is one of the possible outcomes. Nobody sends a six-year-old off to school expecting that he or she will be killed. If we reach that point where we fear for the safety of our children every time we leave them at the school door, we are finished as a country.
You can read all of Mike Shepard’s nonsense here.
Featured image via Allenbwest.com