Yesterday morning we learned that Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds had been stabbed in the head and chest by his son, Gus, 24, before Gus shot himself dead in the family home. Deeds was critically injured but made it to a hospital where his condition this morning was upgraded to fair.
And for that, we can be thankful.
However, yesterday afternoon the Washington Post reported that Gus had psychiatric problems and that on Monday a magistrate had ordered an evaluation. But the Deeds family reportedly live in “a very rural area” where “hospitals are few and far between,” so there wasn’t a bed to immediately take the boy.
But that didn’t stop Nevada State Sen. Justin Jones (D-Mayors Against Guns), chief proponent of an anti-gun measure in the 2013 legislative session, from hopping on Twitter to make political hay of the tragedy.
At 12:48 pm, while Sen. Deeds’ life was still hanging in the balance and the motive behind the attempted murder/suicide by his son remained unclear, Jones tweeted:
“When we don’t properly fund mental health, politicians are in danger, literally.”
A family tragedy that had nothing to do with Sen. Deeds being a politician occurs and Jones claims that inadequate funding for mental health problems puts “politicians in danger”? As if everyone suffering from some kind of psychiatric disorder is secretly thinking to themselves, “I gotta kill a politician!”
But as stupid as the tweet about politicians being in danger was, the crass use of this sad tragedy for political advantage was truly tasteless.
Gus Deeds’ body was still warm and Sen. Deeds was still in critical condition – with no one knowing if he was even going to live – and Justin Jones took that opportunity to make a political statement? On Twitter?
Have you no shame, Senator?
When I called Jones on this in a reply to his Twitter post – “Way to politicize a tragedy, Senator” – Bob Fulkerson, longtime liberal political activist up in Reno, rushed to Jones’ defense and responded…
“Entirely appropriate. Lack of mental health$= unspeakable violence. Let’s talk about this, not bury it.”
“Bury it”? With the boy’s body still lying on the floor at the family home? Unbelievable.
As Grant Hewitt of Red Point Strategies noted in a follow-up tweet to Fulkerson…
“There is a time & place, as a father is hospitalized & a family makes arrangements to bury a son (now) is not that time.”
That Jones and Fulkerson apparently couldn’t see that says an awful lot about their character.