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


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.

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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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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