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Rex Huppke @RexHuppke
, 16 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1/ This will likely contain some adult language. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I held off on commenting on the Capital Gazette tragedy. The facts needed to come out. We don't know everything yet, but we know enough.

The killer had harassed journalists and editors at the paper.
2/ It had gone on for years. Recently there were threats of violence via social media.

How many of us have gotten those? Most, if not all. Some more than others. Some get stalked, latched onto by unhinged readers who become obsessive, vile. Sometimes they toe the line between...
3/ ...actionable threats and vitriolic nonsense. Sometimes they cross the line and you contact the police, though there's little they can do. It can be scary, unnerving, but we adapt to it and go about our jobs, knowing most of it is noise.

This time years of noise built to...
4/ act of twisted violence. I can't imagine what my fellow journalists at that paper are going through, and I can't conceive of the loss and hurt the families of the dead and wounded are enduring.

And I don't know precisely how we fix this. It's a three-fold dilemma.
5/ There's the issue of guns. There's the issue of rabid online hate that our society, and certainly our social media platforms, seem to have deemed socially acceptable. And there's the dehumanizing of the media, directed primarily by President Donald Trump.
6/ My stance on guns is well established.

When it comes to the hate spewed so easily online, it's time for a reckoning. It has to become taboo. People need to start losing their jobs when their caught harassing other humans. Twitter and Facebook have to take steps to make...
7/ ...their platforms more than playgrounds for shit-slinging bullies and bigots. There has to be a societal shift that says, "Enough. This is not OK, and if you do this, we're going to ostracize you."

But it's the last of the three things I brought up that I want to hammer.
8/ At this point, I don't see a direct line between Trump's "journalists are the enemy of the people" dictator-in-training crap and the Capital Gazette shooting. More might be revealed, who knows?

But I can tell you this: That irresponsible, un-American bullshit sure as hell...
9/ ...didn't help. Screaming "Fake News!" and pointing to journalists and calling them terrible people and generally trying to brainwash a subset of Americans into thinking the media is trying to destroy America is absolutely putting targets on journalists backs.
10/ I have been doing this for a long time, and the level of vitriol and hate directed at me - as well as the threats of violence and the accusations that I'm some kind of fucking enemy of the state - have ballooned since Trump came on the scene with his wholly self-serving...
11/ ...narrative that journalists, at least the ones who don't write or say exactly what he wants, are the bad guys.

And whatever the Annapolis murderer's specific motivation, no person in his or her right mind can argue that the intense anti-media rhetoric championed by the...
12/ ...the most powerful person in the world didn't in some way provide an extra push to a clearly insane person with a grudge and a gun.

So let me say this, to any and all, from the president on down, who think it's fun to take an us vs. them stance against fellow Americans...
13/ ...who are doing their jobs: Grow up. You're behaving like goddamn children. These are people, just like you, and you are making them seem less than human and putting their fucking lives in danger.

There are five wonderful human beings dead right now because a lunatic...
14/ ...harbored such hate against journalists that he shot his way into a newsroom and murdered people in cold blood.

This isn't a game. The things you say and post online matter, particularly if you're the president of the United States. There are plenty of people teetering...
15/ ...between sanity and insanity, between staying put and acting out violently. It doesn't take much to push some over the edge.

I'm not saying Trump is to blame for what happened at the Capital Gazette.
16/ But I'm not ruling out that he and every uncaring minion who carried his water and propagated the lie that journalists are fake or nefarious isn't responsible for giving a madman the push that left lives in ruins.

And if that's the case, I hope it haunts them to hell. END
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