#LiberalTips2AvoidRape: The Most Horrible Hashtag of the Week Thus Far, Explained

| Tue Feb. 19, 2013 2:08 PM PST

There's this new hashtag #LiberalTips2AvoidRape that's now on its second day of trending on Twitter: A really, really great expression of our shared humanity, and of the possibilities of feel-good, thoughtful conservative satire... this is not:

For the uninitiated, this isn't an example of right-wingers deciding out-of-the-blue to be insensitive to rape victims. They have their reason, and his name is Joe Salazar, a first-term Democratic state representative in Colorado. On Friday, Salazar spoke on the state House floor in support of House Bill 13-1226, which would eliminate "the authority of a concealed handgun permit holder to possess a concealed handgun on the campus of an institution of high education." In other words, the bill would ban concealed firearms on college campuses in Colorado. Opponents of the proposed legislation maintain that banning concealed carry on campuses would make it harder for students to protect themselves against mass shooters and rapists on school grounds.

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Salazar came down on the side of those who believe that more loaded guns on college campuses is a terrible idea. (This isn't such a radical opinion if you look at the data.) He delivered the following rebuttal on the state House floor:

It's why we have call boxes, it's why we have safe zones, that's why we have the whistles. Because you just don't know who you're gonna be shooting at. And you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around, or if you feel like you're in trouble and when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop... pop a round at somebody.

There's footage of the speech here.

It's pretty clear what Salazar was trying to say: Frightened college kids carrying handguns might result in unintended casualties. You could argue that it was clumsily phrased, but there isn't anything nefarious. The statement was so blah that the Colorado House Republican minority didn't bother to issue a press release about Salazar's statement. At least not until after conservative bloggers, seeking to brand somebody the Democratic Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, commenced their social-media freak-out during the long President's Day weekend.

Salazar was labeled the new poster boy for the "real war on women," and painted as someone who denies women the right to protect themselves against sexual assault. He was portrayed as an out-of-touch, gun-stealing lefty who promoted blowing a whistle over actually fighting off an attack. Many also latched onto Salazar's "you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped," upgraded the meaning to something around the lines of, "women can't ever tell when they're about to get raped/getting raped," and voilà! New Todd Akin.

"It's not 'rape-rape' until a male Dem gives his stamp of approval, you dumb broads," an anonymous staff writer wrote at this website founded by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin. Her site has been at the forefront of the Salazar-related uproar. Dana Loesch, Glenn Beck, Herman Cain's CainTV, folks at Fox News, and many others piled on accordingly.

Anyway, the prime outlet for this conservative frustration quickly became the #LiberalTips2AvoidRape meme. The hashtag was supposedly created on Monday night by a person who goes by the Twitter handle @SooperMexican. If you would like to see examples other than the one posted above, go ahead and click here. It's a look into how conservative activists and writers took a manufactured controversy and used it as a launching pad for a torrent of rape jokes, liberals-are-pansies jokes, and extremely old Ted Kennedy jokes.

Front page image: Chris Griffith/Flickr

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