• Wed, Jul 25 2012

WSJ Columnist Thinks Women Saved By Their Boyfriends In Aurora Shooting Might Not Have Been Worthy

james taranto sacrificeWhat?

Is your reaction “that is not something you say about people who have recently lost loved ones in a horrible, completely unforeseen attack?” Congratulations on being a rational person.

Wall Street Journalist columnist James Taranto didn’t want to go that rational person route, and instead tweeted that he hoped the women (Samantha Yowler, Jansen Young and Amanda Lindgren) whose boyfriends had died to save them were “worthy of the sacrifice.”

Now, what Taranto probably meant was that he hopes that their survival after the tragedy inspires them to go out and lead the best lives they can, perhaps forever remembering how precious life is. That is fair. I mean, right now they are probably overwhelmed with survivor guilt so they do not need to think about that today, but fine, we can all hope that anyone involved in this tragedy is able to recover fully and able to lead the best life they can. Sometimes, we want to feel that something good will come from something so terrible.

But saying you hope that they “were worthy” makes it sound like we live in a weird Ren-faire society where you hope that some guy didn’t just die for a tawdry wench who was sleeping around. People do not have direct values attached to them that define worthiness of sacrifice (for instance, we can not say that I am worth ten dollars, and you are only worth five dollars, so you should save me should the event arise). That is because that is crazy. That is why this is a crazy thing to say.

To his credit, Taranto has been re-tweeting some of the responses to his comment. This one is my favorite, though you can check out his Twitter feed for more:

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  • Lastango

    All this shows is that, for a serious social observer, tweeting is a poor practice.

    Also, I wonder if Taranto might be feeling relieved:

    “On the Costa Concordia, in the words of a female passenger, ‘There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboat.’”

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ship-336602-titanic-concordia.html

  • Leila

    I think that’s one of the most awful things he could have said. Ever. Hands down. I hope you were worth it? It’s not like they went back for the wallets or their backpacks or their coats. Gee, I hope that iPod was worth your life. Jeezus, like they’re not already shocked and have irrational survivor’s guilt to begin with.

    If he meant to say go forth and honor their sacrifice, that’s one thing. But he didn’t and let’s not kid outselves. To use the past tense “were,” as in, I hope your life leading up to this point was worth a man dying is beyond despicable. djfa;lsdkfjasl;dfj (this is me not swearing in angry internet commentary cause my momma taught me better than that).

  • Noel

    You ever think that this whole ‘backlash’ is exactly what he wanted? I’d never heard of the guy until this popped up in my feed.