Earlier today, I wrote a post about a march/rally to thank Congressman Harry Mitchell for his vote on health care reform that took place in Tempe yesterday. During the march, a woman collapsed and needed to be resuscitated and hospitalized, and in the post I linked to an AZRepublic article on the woman/march.
At one point, the story was open to commenting on the Rep's website. That lasted approximately three hours, and then the editors of the Rep had to close comments and pull down those that had already been submitted.
In that few hours, what should have been a "feel good" piece about someone surviving an acute illness brought out some seriously vicious trolls, who hijacked the thread and turned it into an outlet for hate and bile.
For example (bolding and italics utilized solely to indicate separate quotes):
They should have let her die just to prove a point. Fricken hilarious! (commenter DISSONANT)
Ironically, people this woman's age are going to be the ones screwed the worst by the plan. She'll eventually be hauled off to a corner somewhere so she can die a9lone with dignity. (commenter AngryPatriot)
Thinking it was the Grim Reaper, she became gripped with terror when she saw that giant sickle coming for her.
Lo and behold, it was just one of her comrade's red flags flapping in the breeze. (commenter GannettStockChart)
Too bad it wasn't obama, pelosi, and reid having the heart attacks with no one there to help them. That would be great! (commenter demsrslime)
YOU WANTED YOUR HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS TO DOUBLE AND GET LESS CARE ?? WHY?? YOU MUST NOT BE VERY SMART THEN AGAIN YOU PROBABLY VOTED FOR THE (inappropriate term) IN THE WHITE HOUSE ALSO, MAY I THANK YOU FOR THE MESS YOU PUT THIS COUNTRY IN NOW (commenter GLSSSMAN33, who's got a confederate flag as his avatar)
"The woman, who was not identified, collapsed during a rally to celebrate U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell's vote in favor of health care legislation"
Karma. (commenter FailRail)
And that's just a sampling from the first couple of pages of comments, which were all that I got to save before the Rep's editors pulled them down.
Any questions about how ugly this summer is going to be?
The last time things were this bad, which perhaps not so coincidentally was immediately after the last serious attempt at health care reform, Timothy McVeigh, perhaps egged on by extremist rhetoric from right wing talk radio (Rush and his ilk were already going strong) and Republican so-called leaders in Congress, blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City and murdered over 160 men, women, and children.
I fervently hope it doesn't get that far, but my hopes won't be enough to stop that from happening.
The R "leadership", if it ever again wants to be considered part of civil society, will denounce the vandalism, violence, and violent rhetoric that their tea partiers have embraced, and do so in clear, unambiguous terms.
I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen, and I can't recommend that anybody else do so, either.