Celtic Riverside – The Online Journal of James Keenan

Get Over Your Selective Outrage

This is not a rant. This is a plea. I am not angry – I thought I was for quite some time, but the more I introspect the more I realise that is not the case. What I feel is desperation, ineffectiveness, helplessness, futility. I depend upon reason to make points, and we have reached a point where we cannot even agree on what reason means.

I want people to live peacefully. That is not happening for a great many people right now. When I try to engage about the issues that prevent them from living peacefully, I have received threats and verbal attacks from people who disagree with my politics. This is not about politics. This is about humanity.

Gun Control

Mass shootings, domestic violence, as a means of suicide, or general street violence – firearms result in thousands of civilian deaths and injuries every year in the United States alone. It might surprise some readers to know that I do not feel legislation will help with these problems. Even where the legislation already exists, we appear to have an enforcement problem.

Short of removing all guns from the country, we have to accept some degree of risk associated with that – and as a country we have decided that to do that. The Second Amendment specifically focuses on our right to possess weapons in the even we should ever need them to fight back against an oppressive government. Fair enough – I am not here to take anyone’s guns.

However, when thousands of people die every year from firearms it would be nice if the pro-gun ownership crowd showed they actually gave a shit about those victims. It would be nice if they did anything other than cling to their guns and scream about how the gun was not at fault.


Abortion is a tragedy that involves terminating a potential life. You know what, I will even cede and call it a life here. Having an abortion is not a decision for anyone to take lightly, and no one advocates a pro-abortion stance. No one is mandating abortions for any person or in any specific circumstance – the opposition advocates that it should be a choice.

There is plenty of outrage about the practice of abortion, but where is the outrage for the women who were raped? Where is the outrage for women who died or suffered medical complications because abortion was not one of the options available to them? Where is the outrage about women compelled to pursue abortion anyway, in extremely unsafe conditions at greater risk to themselves and the foetus?


Where is the outrage about all of the Americans who employ illegal immigrants? Why is all of it directed at the individuals attempting to cross into the United States? Why, pro-lifers, is there not more outrage about the separate of children from families at the border? Thousands of cases of this separation with no indication that it discourages illegal immigration, because the conditions most of those individuals are fleeing are even worse.

Where it the outrage about the continued problems with criminal elements that have sneaked into this country, like MS-13, for which these policies have no affect? The most dangerous aspects of illegal immigration are organised criminal elements who can circumvent all of the obstacles we implement against the traditional immigrant.

Where is the outrage about the circumstances that lead to these problems – circumstances in which the United States, while not exclusively or even necessarily significantly responsible, has played a role? Much of the illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America results from escaping violence, and US involvement in illegal drug trade and political instability in the region contributed to that.


I see plenty of outrage about the career and personal life impacts of the #MeToo movement (and related movements) on the accused men. We lack due process, often condemning the accused men in the court of public opinion, doling out justice in a rage against these beliefs.

But where is the outrage for the generations of women suffering harassment, assault, physical/mental/emotional/sexual violence at the hands of men? People who stood quietly by during all of that who now suddenly feel compelled to take a stand because what is happening to a handful of men seems unjust.


Where is the outrage about women, minorities, people with disabilities, or people with mental health issues being held down and beaten by police; people who pose no immediate threat and greatly outnumbered by officials who are supposed to serve and to protect, employing excessive force? Where it the outrage about police forces using military equipment and tactics against civilian populations?

I see plenty of outrage about black athletes kneeling in peaceful protest of these occurrences though. That protest disrespects the nation, the anthem, the flag, and those who serve – why does that sort of brutality not disrespect everything we stand for as Americans, too?

The Point

I do not give a shit about your politics. If you are a Conservative, if you are a Republican – great. Be those things. I do not give a shit about your religion. If you are a Christian, be a Christian. If you are a Muslim, be a Muslim. If you are an atheist, embrace your secular thought. We need people with different perspectives to make things work.

I absolutely have a problem with people disregarding human life and human rights, especially when so many of them are fellow Americans who profess to be Christians. Who the hell are you to determine which lives have value? All lives are sacred, so abortion should not be an option – but we can separate immigrant children from families because they crossed an invisible line illegally; we can execute adults for crimes that cannot be undone; we can support military action.

Those lives do not have the same value. They are Them. They are lesser people – the ones making life so miserable for Us, right? I am a progressive, a liberal, a multi-culturalist, so who cares about my identity politics.

I promote looking for solutions to gun violence, such as better education and access to mental health care to intercept those who would use guns for malicious purposes before they act – not to punish them after the fact but to try and diffuse these situations from developing in the first place.

I promote sexual education, the availability of contraception, and, in the cases where it becomes necessary, access to safe abortion that maximises the health of and safety to all involved.

I promote evaluating immigration on a case-by-case basis to provide asylum to those who need, to incorporate valuable members of other societies into our American one, and to prevent effectively the influx of the comparable few who mean us harm. I promote one that also holds accountable the Americans who support the aspects of illegal immigration that harm our way of life.

I promote evaluating sexual harassment and assault accusations on a case-by-case basis, that begin with believing the accuser, investigating, and pursuing due process so that we can stop predatory practices against women and the LGTBQ community.

I promote enabling police to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible, including better screening to make sure the people we employ as police officers are the sort of individuals who should be doing that type of work. I promote a police force that works with the community to de-escalate and diffuse situations. I promote anything that does not automatically assume suspicion about people who are not white.

I do not care about your politics, religion, or identity – but if you are the sort of person who would condemn someone else or an entire group of people to anything less than freedom for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, you can go f*** yourself. I am officially out of patience watching others suffer while you selectively outrage about your concerns while casually ignoring threats to human life and dignity because they are not the lives you deem important.

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