During any tense situation, let alone an active riot, it is important that any government officials use appropriate tone and make sure that they attempt to deescalate, not intensify, any situation.
Virginia Delegate Buddy Fowler missed that memo with this Facebook post:
Because taunting rioters is a great way to get them to calm down.
Naturally, others were very upset by this post. The story was first picked up by Blue Virginia, which quoted State Senator Donald McEachin (D) as saying:
“I am dismayed and, frankly, disgusted, by Del. Fowler’s posting. I don’t know whether he thinks it is a joke or funny, but what I do know is that it is insensitive, unhelpful and in total disregard for the difficult situation facing the citizens of Baltimore and, honestly, the public safety officers. As Baltimore residents express their frustration and anger over the death of an unarmed citizen and as police struggle to maintain order in these difficult times, Del. Fowler chooses to exacerbate a tense and very difficult situation with his idea of humor, if one can even stoop to call it that.”
Fowler was also criticized by Toni Radler, his “potential” opponent in 2016, who said that Fowler should “do more [than] offer a boilerplate apology.”
Fowler did delete the post and apologize:
“I took the post down. It was not very thoughtful and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it. The situation in Baltimore is difficult and complicated and comments like that don’t help. I hope people understand I didn’t mean anything by it, that it was just a mistake.”
Again, and this is a pet peeve of mine: Don’t apologize to “anyone who was offended.” Apologize. Period. Say you regret your actions, pledge to learn from it, and say it won’t happen again. Apologizing to anyone who is offended is ducking.
Regardless, Delegate Fowler clearly forgot his role here. Government officials have a duty to calm tense situations, not escalate them.
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