This “news story” is a work of satire. All linked quotes, however, are 100% real.
6 November 2017
AP – Hours after a gunman killed at least 26 church-goers in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and in the wake of a string of national tragedies over previous weeks including the depraved massacre of 58 people by a “lone wolf” gunman in Las Vegas only 35 days earlier and the Puerto Rican landfall of Hurricane Maria just 11 days before that, Americans widely acknowledged on Monday they had entered a new Great American Mourning Episode (GAME) observed by tradition following any such travesty on U.S. soil. Variously held for a period of weeks or months, the GAME features, by mutual agreement of all patriotic American citizens and in respectful observance of the suffering of the victims of the tragedy, a usually unspoken moratorium on any insensitive public discourse related to possible root causes of the disaster or potential methods of preventing similar travesties in the future.
This exceptional American tradition was exemplified particularly well by presidential counselor Kellyanne Conlady immediately following the August landfall of Hurricane Harvey, the first of 4 major hurricanes to ravage the U.S. coastline during this year’s unusually active hurricane season. Just hours after its landfall in Texas, a news reporter callously deviated from the spirit of the GAME by seeking to question Conlady about whether “climate change” might be a contributing factor to the hurricane’s ability to drop a record-smashing more than 4 feet of rain on Houston, whereupon Conlady justifiably responded, “…we’re trying to help the people whose lives are literally underwater, and you want to have a conversation about climate change. I mean, that is—I’m not going to engage in that right now because I work for a president and a vice president and a country that is very focused on helping the millions of affected Texans, and, God forbid, Louisianans.”
EPA administrator Scott Prune expressed a similar patriotic sentiment hours before the state of Florida was slammed by Hurricane Irma, a multi-record-setting hurricane roughly twice the width of that state. When questioned by an indurate reporter about the possible role of “climate change” in stirring up the most savage hurricane season on record, Prune appropriately put the reporter in his place: “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced. …to use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to [the] people in Florida.” Appropriate comments indeed from the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who we must assume had by that time put a pin in all considerations of the Environment in expectation of personally performing manual labor as part of Florida relief efforts.
Hours after the October 1 Las Vegas massacre, White House press secretary Sarah Slanders similarly urged appropriate observation of the GAME. “There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” Slanders solemnly reminded members of the media. “We haven’t had the moment to have a deep dive on the policy part. We have been focused on the fact that we had a severe tragedy in our country and this is a day of mourning, a time of bringing our country together, that has been the focus of the administration this morning.”
These exemplary demonstrations of patriotism epitomized the vital principle of the GAME, that any misguided efforts to identify and discuss the merits of potential policy adjustments to prevent future calamities would only serve as distractions from the proper acknowledgement and consideration of the suffering of fellow Americans.
Indeed, the GAME demands, for all who love America, that terrestrial considerations of practical human action should rather be transcended by prayer, in the form of devout appeals to any of various higher deities to ease the suffering of the afflicted and grant relief from such tragedies in the future. Americans widely admit no documented evidence of any of the major deities obviously meddling significantly in natural events or the collective fortunes of large groups of people for thousands of years. Even in those ancient times, literary evidence suggests interference of deities only in the context of vigorous efforts on the part of a human population to improve its own fortunes. Nevertheless, the documented power wielded by the deities in those times was unquestionably awesome, so the Strategy of Prayer is widely considered a “Hail Mary play” that might eliminate future human tragedies without resorting to the sorts of terrestrial human actions forbidden by proper observation of the GAME.
External observers have questioned the wisdom of the GAME, saying it might delay sorely needed actions that could prevent future horrific events. Foreign analysts have often referenced the apparent incongruity of the GAME with pragmatic American reactions to other types of problems. Aidan O’Sullivan of Limerick, Ireland pointed out, “If’n a baseball cums crashin’ through yisser picture windy, Oi’m juicy sure yer open de door roi away ter see wha’ wee kid did it, even as you’re also mournin’ de loss of yisser windy.” While true, Aidan’s example misses the point of the GAME, which has to do with the sheer size and depth of tragedy that can result only from a category 5 Atlantic hurricane or a crazy loner wielding an AR-15 legally enhanced with an ARMATAC SAW-MAG 150 round dual drum magazine, a Slide Fire bump stock, a Black Rain silencer, and a Vortex Optics Crossfire II Riflescope purchased on Amazon Prime with free overnight shipping.
Immediate, pragmatic action is entirely appropriate for day-to-day setbacks like busted picture windows. A hurricane landfall on a major city or a gunman in an elevated firing position menacing a dense crowd of T-shirt and sandal clad concert-goers with 20 or more military grade firearms, however, is uniquely capable of generating a scale of mayhem – scores of dead and hundreds or thousands of human lives forever altered – that can only be properly observed by strict adherence to the GAME.
Disturbingly, an in-depth investigation by our reporters revealed that a small minority of Americans failed to uniformly observe the GAME. Indeed, in the same year that Americans from Puerto Rico to Texas were struggling to recover from a multi-record-setting string of ferocious hurricanes, Terry Dinan, an economist and environmental policy expert at the Congressional Budget Office, furtively wrote of her suggestions to link scientific knowledge about hurricanes to future public policy. “Hurricane damage in the United States is likely to increase substantially in the coming decades as a result of both climate change and coastal development,” she insensitively opined. “Two primary strategies for limiting such increases are mitigation, which entails reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases, and adaptation, which entails reducing exposure or reducing the vulnerability of exposed property. A coordinated global effort to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions could lessen hurricane damage between now and 2075…” Fortunately, Dr. Dinan wrote her crass comments in the obscure and little-read journal, Ecological Economics, sparing the collective psyches of Americans suffering the effects of 2017’s active hurricane season from the damage that might have been inflicted had the callous suggestions entered the mainstream media.
In private moments, several citizens quietly confessed some trepidation about the limits the GAME might place on Americans’ ability to engage in the collective discourse necessary to develop robust solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing problems. “It had been a full month since the Las Vegas shooting, and I‘d just gotten back to starting to think about whether some type of common-sense gun legislation might help reduce the body count when some nut becomes unhinged and decides to kill a bunch of innocent people in a school or at a concert,” explained Larry Swingvoater of Green Bay, Wisconsin. “Now, another maniac decided to open fire in a church, so of course I can’t think about policy while those poor people are suffering. But what I worry about is, if these hurricanes and mass shootings keep happening so close together, when WILL I think about that stuff? Anyway, I’m back to praying now – maybe that will eventually pay off.”
Others wondered aloud what the solutions from a supernatural deity might look like, should the Strategy of Prayer prove successful. Would future tragedies from climate change ultimately be averted by solutions resembling the “solar technology,” “wind technology,” or “battery technology” rumored to have been developed by human scientists and engineers? Or, might a deity prove capable of providing sustainable bioenergy derived from multitudes of burning bushes? Or, tidal energy afforded by repetitive parting of the earth’s seas? Might an entity akin to the Holy Spirit provide a bullet-proof energy field around the nation’s innocent civilians, enabling Americans to maintain casual public availability of thrilling, adrenaline-pumping battlefield style firearms without risk to young schoolchildren?
A handful of fringe citizens, who made their controversial remarks on condition of anonymity so as not to be identified as GAME-violators, expressed the cynical opinion that the GAME poorly serves American politics and is actually the result of a “cruel and selfish conspiracy” by a few well-funded special interests with outsized influence on U.S. legislative policy. “This is not patriotism, but simply a transparent political delay tactic,” claimed Jon Faiknaim, whose name has been changed in this article at his request. “Every time a hurricane or a gun-toting madman kills a bunch of people, politicians in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and the National Rifle Association call it ‘insensitive’ to talk about policy changes that would solve some of our most urgent public problems but harm the narrow interests of those minority stakeholders. Then, everybody forgets about the problem the moment another issue of critical national interest demands consideration. Like the linguistic etymology of the word, ‘covfefe,’ or how football players arrange their limbs during pre-game performances of the National Anthem. Then, the next time one of these tragedies occurs, the irrational cycle repeats itself.” Fortunately, these cynical expressions of doubt were rare.
On the whole, proper observation of America’s GAME was alive and well Monday thanks, in no small part, to the stellar leadership example of President Donald Tweety, who so inspirationally addressed the nation following the earlier Las Vegas massacre. “I think the only message I can say is that we’re with you 100 percent,” Tweety remarked from the relative safety of his Secret Service perimeter, when asked by a reporter if he had a message for the citizens of Las Vegas. “I said, ‘If you’re ever in Washington, come on over to the Oval Office,’ and they’re all saying, ‘We wanna do it, how do we do it?’ And believe me, I’ll be there for them. But the message that I have is we have a great country and we are there for you, and they’re there for us,” Tweety continued, apparently extending his generous presidential invitation to the citizens of Las Vegas not dead of gunshot wounds.
But our national leader’s statements were most inspirational as he bravely defended the sanctity of the GAME when questioned by an unruly member of the press pool about whether “we have a gun violence problem.”
“We’re not going to talk about that today. We won’t talk about that,” Tweety responded, later adding that a gun policy debate “at some point, perhaps … will come.”