James Taranto’s tweet last night, in which he wrote he hoped the women whose boyfriends took bullets for them in the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre, drew lots of condemnation from the Twitterverse.
Today, he apologized for the “errant” tweet, saying he hoped it would be thought provoking, not insulting:
We got to thinking about these stories last night, and our musings led to an ill-considered tweet: “I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice.”
We intended this to be thought-provoking, but to judge by the response, very few people received it that way. The vast majority found it offensive and insulting. This column has often argued that a failure of public communication is the fault of the public communicator, and that’s certainly true in this case. What follows is an attempt to answer for this failure with a circumspect accounting of our thoughts.
What makes the stories of Jansen Young, Samantha Yowler and Amanda Lindgren especially poignant is that their boyfriends’ dying acts simultaneously dealt them an unfathomable loss and gave them an invaluable gift–a gift of life. Their loss is all the more profound because the gift was one of love as well. In instinctively making the ultimate sacrifice, each of these men proved the depth of his devotion. They passed a test to which most men, thankfully, are never put–and then they were gone.