Let’s start with the plot from the most recent episode of the TNT series Proof, a paranormal drama about researchers attempting by scientific means to prove or disprove the reality of life after death.

In Season 1 Episode 6 “Private Matters” (July 21, 2015) one of the researchers — reminiscent of the 1983 movie Brainstorm — dies while wearing equipment recording his brainwaves and sophisticated computer algorithms record not only life memories but imagery suggesting transmissions from the afterlife. But when the researcher’s grieving widow is brought into the lab to separate memory imagery from possible afterlife imagery she freaks out that her late husband’s brainwave recordings of their life together is violating her privacy and sues to destroy the recordings.

I was immediately reminded of how — in a tabloid campaign reminiscent of The Banner‘s campaign against Howard Roark’s architecture for Enright House in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead or real-world yellow-paper campaigns conducted by Pulitzer or Hearst or Murdoch-owned newspapers — FNC’s Bill O’Reilly has been exploiting the grief from family members of murder-victim Kate Steinle to promote a new law cracking down on serial violators of U.S. immigration law.

O'reilly Factor July 13 2015
Bill O’Reilly interviews Kate Steinle’s parents, James Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan

This vile use of grief as a weapon is nothing new. Inflaming public passion by parading grieving family is business-as-usual for proponents of all sorts of more restrictive statism. After the Empire of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor hysteria about Americans of Japanese ancestry — with nothing other than race linking them to the enemy — led to American citizens’ property being seized while they were imprisoned in American concentration camps.

Every time a perp uses a gun to cause havoc gun-ban advocates parade out victims’ family members and use their tears as weapons to promote their totalitarian civilian-disarmament agenda.

If the perp can be associated with a foreign faction such as in the case of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez who on July 17, 2015 committed a multiple-fatality shooting of Marine and Naval personnel in Chattanooga, TN, military officials will be brought on camera to express their teary-eyed rage.

The agenda is always the same: to take a criminal and his vile acts and — instead of focusing on how the public can arm themselves against future attacks — to inflame public outrage against some larger class of despised outsiders by recruiting the tears of family, friends, and co-workers as weapons stockpiled in the cause of tyranny.

No doubt there were some actual Russians who died at the hand of Ukrainians to justify Stalin’s mass starvation Holodomor and Nazis who were murdered by actual Jews used by Hitler to justify deporting Jews to Dachau and Auschwitz.

Letting one’s grief be the reason one becomes the pawn of master manipulators is understandable. They get you, like any other heartless con man does, when you’re at your most vulnerable.

But those in the media who use grieving to get ratings or, worse, to gain more power for their puppet masters, have no excuse. They are the very devil.

I revisit this topic in my article Weaponizing Grief

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