This morning CNN.com posted a story about a Syrian cartoonist who was kidnapped, beaten, and threatened. His abductors broke his hands as a warning to stop drawing. He's now in the hospital. The story is here.
The story is horrible and a reminder to anyone reading that "freedom isn't free." What's even more horrifying, though, are the comments. There's the guy who thinks the story is made up. There's the guy who uses his comment to rag on "Shrillery Clinton." I read through dozens of comments and there were very few addressing the actual subject of the story--Ali Ferzat, a brave and idealistic man. Comment after comment spewing rage and bile and toxic ichor. Comparing Obama to Hitler.
(Seriously? Hitler? Really?)
I'm particularly horrified by this display of hate because two days ago, when CNN.com ran a story about a woman in dire financial straits, the story elicited almost 500 comments. Most of them were of the "Poor woman, how can I help? variety, but a lot were ugly. For some reason the one I found most damnable was an accusation that she probably had enough money to support her two-pack-a-day cigarette habit. (Nowhere in the article did it mention that she smoked.)
I know, I shouldn't be surprised by this, but I still am. The utter conviction in these posts is as predictable as the bad spelling and specious arguments. The people who write these posts are registered to vote. And there are more of them than me.