Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto is trying to explain an “errant” tweet about the worthiness of the three girls whose boyfriends died protecting them in the Aurora theater shooting.
Three young women — Jansen Young, Samantha Yowler and Amanda Lindgren — were at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado last gunman James Holmes entered the theater and began shooting audience members. Young, Yowler, and Lindgren’s boyfriends, Joe Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves, respectively, jumped on top of the three women to shield them from the gunfire. All three died in the shooting.
James Taranto, who writes an opinion column for WSJ called “Best of the Web Today,” took to his Twitter account to express his thoughts on the three men’s sacrifice and the worthiness of the women they died protecting. The response he received most likely was not the one he was looking for, as Twitter users lambasted him for his careless and “tacky” tweet.
Taranto tweeted Tuesday,
Unsurprisingly, Taranto received a lot of backlash for the tweet, and received several tweets calling him “disgusting,” “a real piece of sh*t,” and “a coward.” One Twitter user replied, “Maybe everyone is worthy of a selfless act of sacrifice. Even you, hard as it is to say.”
In his attempt to clarify what he meant, Taranto also tweeted,
That didn’t go over too well either, and users told Taranto they felt sorry for him and that he had “no ear for writing in English.”
Today, Taranto attempted further damage control. In a column titled, “Heroes of Aurora: A mea culpa for an errant tweet,” Taranto wrote,
“We intended this to be thought-provoking, but to judge by the response, very few people received it that way. The vast majority found it offensive and insulting. This column has often argued that a failure of public communication is the fault of the public communicator, and that’s certainly true in this case. What follows is an attempt to answer for this failure with a circumspect accounting of our thoughts.”
Taranto went on to say that the loss of Young, Yowler and Lindgren’s boyfriends is even more profound “because the gift was one of love as well. In instinctively making the ultimate sacrifice, each of these men proved the depth of his devotion. They passed a test to which most men, thankfully, are never put–and then they were gone.”
Taranto ended the piece with a reflection of his own loss and his hope that the three girls will continue to remember their boyfriends, saying,
“People live on after death in the memories of those who loved them. Sometimes when this columnist does something we consider worthwhile, our thoughts turn to our father, who died four years ago: “Dad would be proud.” That is our hope for Young, Yowler and Lindgren: that in the years to come, each of them will have many opportunities to reflect that Jon or Matt or Alex would be proud of her.”
What do you think? Was James Taranto’s tweet in poor taste, or was his point simply misunderstood?