I’m not always a fan of Lawrence O’Donnell, but he gets it exactly right in this clip.
The right wing pro-gun cult swung into high gear yesterday to defend the hecklers at that Newtown hearing; practically every wingnut blogger was shouting in unison that there was no “heckling” — the people who interrupted Neil Heslin’s testimony were simply “answering his question.” They’ve actually managed to bully some media people into swallowing this line of BS:
AN APOLOGY: No, those gun supporters didn’t ‘heckle’ Neil Heslin - they just shamed themselves with their disgusting behaviour. My mistake.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 30, 2013
But in a hearing like this, it’s common knowledge that the audience is not supposed to shout at speakers — and when the hecklers shouted “SECOND AMENDMENT” at Heslin, the chairperson admonished them not to interrupt. Watch the longer clip of Heslin’s statement above; he was asking rhetorical questions, not telling these loons it was OK to shout.
The fact is that despite the right wing’s attempt to defend this horrific behavior, it exactly fits the dictionary definition of “heckling:”
heckle |ˈhekəl| verb
1. interrupt (a public speaker) with derisive or aggressive comments
And the state of Connecticut’s rules for hearings like this one also make it very clear that this heckling behavior was out of order:
Decorum: A hearing is an important step in the process of making law, so it is a formal occasion. Please give your courteous attention to other speakers, regardless of their views. Don’t applaud or indicate pleasure or displeasure with anyone’s remarks.
I’m no longer surprised when the right stands up and defends truly awful viewpoints and behavior. In this case they’re defending the heckling of a father who is still grieving for his murdered son, and although it’s not surprising, it definitely is repulsive.