Las Vegas, Sympathy and the Liberal Bubble

By now you’ve probably heard the story of Hayley Geftman-Gold, who got busted on Facebook for saying she didn’t feel one bit bad for the victims of Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 people and wouded over 500 when he opened fire on them at a Las Vegas concert on Sunday night.  In case you need a refresher, though, this is what she had to say about the subject:

If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing.  I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.

Even more mind-boggling than her complete lack of sympathy is that Geftman-Gold wasn’t what you would call a fringe lunatic.  Quite the contrary, she was a CBS vice-president and senior legal counsel—at least until the network got wind of her online antics.  To its credit, CBS immediately fired her for violating company standards—and given that this is the same network that employs Stephen Colbert, that’s really saying something.

Now Geftman-Gold has also apologized, issuing the following statement:

Earlier today I posted an indefensible post in a Facebook discussion thread concerning the tragic Las Vegas shooting, a statement I sincerely regret. I am deeply sorry for diminishing the significance of every life affected by Stephen Paddock’s terrorism last night and for the pain my words have inflicted on the loved ones of the victims. My shameful comments do not reflect the beliefs of my former employer, colleagues, family, and friends. Nor do they reflect my actual beliefs — this senseless violence warrants the deepest empathy. I understand and accept all consequences that my words have incurred.

And indeed, she has incurred the consequences for her poor judgement.  She’s lost her job, and I’m guessing that she’ll probably remain radioactive for quite a while.  Who knows if she’ll ever recover?  Of course, the outrage machine will keep running in overdrive against Geftman-Gold, at least until the next distraction comes along—but I’m inclined to take her at her word.  She realizes what she said was wrong and she regrets it.  We should all just forgive and move on.

But that does leave one question, though:  What ever made her feel justified in saying such a thing in the first place?

Sure, being a good liberal might have made her think that those gun-lovin’, pickup-drivin’ country music fans had it coming.  But actually expressing it out loud, on Facebook, for the entire world to see?  I’ve witnessed drunken 3am booty calls that showed more discretion.  How in the hell could a wicked-smart, Columbia educated lawyer think that would be okay under any circumstances?

Probably because in her circles, Geftman-Gold’s opinion isn’t that unusual.

It’s likely that she felt perfectly comfortable expressing her sentiments on Facebook because everyone else she knows and associates with thinks the same way.  In fact, I would venture that the same CBS executives who fired Geftman-Gold probably agreed with her privately, because they live in the same leftist bubble that she does.

And sympathy, it would seem, does not extend past that bubble.

This, unfortunately, is what the increasing tribalism of our politics has done in America—and it’s not just the left that is guilty of it.  Examples from the left, however, tend to be more extreme because the popular culture is more accepting of its own faults, and only tends to call out behavior that is simply too horrible to ignore.  In that respect, Geftman-Gold’s real sin wasn’t so much what she said but that she got caught saying it.

Maybe it’s time we all popped our own bubbles.

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Marc Giller

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