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By Annoyed Observer

It’s the exact same story every time a tragedy ensues, the only difference being in the details. It starts off with grim news reports that get plastered at the top of the trending stories all over social media. Then we get the body count, with more people confirmed injured or dead as time goes on. #PrayFor_____ and #ThoughtsAndPrayers trend on Twitter almost immediately. Shortly after, the perpetrator’s photo, life story, race, and possible motivations are glued to the number of lives they destroyed. They remain on the front page of every major newspaper and cable news broadcast for at least the next 72 hours. Everyone and their mother shares why they think the perpetrator really did it, before the facts are even confirmed. A couple of days go by, and as the police investigation uncovers more details of the tragedy, those details get politicized and used to fit a narrative, while the other side pretends to be offended by it, as if it doesn’t do the exact same thing when a tragedy fits their narrative. Rinse and repeat.

Sorry, but it’s true. When a Muslim terrorist shoots up a gay nightclub or blows up innocent teens at an Ariana Grande concert, those on the right immediately jump to sarcastic #NothingToDoWithIslam while they point out violent verses from the Quran about killing infidels, while those on the left use it in all seriousness to point out that #NotAllMuslims are terrorists and how Muslims are the real victims because they will experience Islamophobia afterwards. The right pretends to be disgusted at the left for defending Muslims’ feelings instead of standing up for victims, while the left pretends to be disgusted at the right for being insensitive to Muslims. When a deranged white man shoots up a black church, the left blames people who carry confederate flags, accuses all of white America of white supremacy, and call for widespread gun control, while the right argue against gun control and accuse the left of wanting to get rid of the Second Amendment. All of this outrage leads to more outrage and divisiveness and no solutions.

We have a moral grandstanding problem on both sides, where we both try and paint the other as the worst kinds of people and then argue why our side has the better principles and ideology. Granted this happens all the time, but it’s particularly true during tragedies. This is not to say that there aren’t people who make vile and disrespectful comments online after every mass shooting or terrorist attack, but this is probably not the vast majority of people. When something like a Mandalay Bay or Orlando night club massacre happens, it’s only human nature for people to want to look for answers and solutions. And yes, that means politicizing them. When something like this happens, we all want to prevent a repeat disaster in the future, but both sides just have two completely different ways of going about it, and that’s okay. There’s nothing inherently wrong with politicizing these events as long as it’s done in a respectful manner. Conversations about policy are necessary by both sides, which is best done when emotional arguments are removed from the picture. This is because both sides can draw upon an endless supply of sad stories to fit their narrative, which are then shared in efforts to make their opponents look heartless. We can mourn and we can call for gun control or limits on immigration for solace, but as soon as we vilify the other side into oblivion to virtue signal to people on our side, we eliminate any chance of having these difficult conversations and passing legislation.

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