A former child star found himself under attack on Sunday after he managed to impugn the religious beliefs held by millions of Americans in a tweet slamming Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Wil Wheaton responded to the deadly shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Sunday by tweeting: ‘The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of s***.’
He fired off that tweet in response to Speaker Ryan’s boilerplate response to the attack which left 26 dead, in which he stated: ‘Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.’
The 45-year-old star of such films as ‘Stand by Me’ and ‘Flubber’ who more recently has appeared on the television series such as ‘Eureka’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ immediately found himself being criticized by a number of people on social media.
Many of these individuals were remarkably restrained in their responses to Wheaton, with one writing: ‘you’re right but is it really necessary to say? people were killed and you just want to p*** off religious people for the sake of it dude…’
Wheaton soon apologized for his initial tweet.
‘Hey, real and actual people of faith: I hear you. I apologise for insulting you, in my rage at Paul Ryan’s refusal to address gun violence,’ write Wheaton.
‘Your faith is your business, and people like Paul Ryan exploit it while they hide behind words without deeds, and people continue to die.’
He then highlighted his apology tweet by retweeting it on his timeline, explaining: ‘Because I want to be sure sincere people of Faith see this: I spoke in anger, and I apologize to you.’
Wheaton’s misstep seemed to be best explained by one woman who wrote: ‘As much as I love you, some people can only offer prayers. Don’t hate them.’
One follower tweeted that he wished to discuss this comment with Wheaton at his next convention, and when the actor asked if the man was ‘threatening’ him he responded: ‘Of course not little Wil you paranoid twit, but would you make a comment like this in public? It’s completely tone deaf and disgusting.’
And a man who identifies as a ‘worshiper of Jehovah’ in his Twitter bio weighed in by stating: ‘That’s not how prayers work @willw. I suggest you check that attitude. We’re all frustrated. Religious intolerance won’t solve this.
Wheaton’s quick response seemed to quell any ongoing attacks or criticism, with the aim of his initial tweet obvious to even those who took offense with the comment.
Speaker Ryan previously responded to the mass shooting in Las Vegas last month by tweeting: ‘America woke up to heartbreaking news from Las Vegas. We stand united in our shock, our condolences, & our prayers.’
In the wake of the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Ryan wrote: ‘We pray for those brutally attacked in Orlando. While we must learn more about the attacker, the victims & families will not be forgotten.’
And when 14 people were killed seven months earlier in San Bernadino, Ryan said: ‘Please keep the victims of #SanBernadino, California in your prayers.’
The 2015 shooting in Charleston meanwhile was remembered a year later with a moment of silence led by Speaker Ryan in the chamber, during which a number of Democrats stormed out over their annoyance with the refusal by many to change gun laws in America.
That moment of silence came one day after the Orlando massacre.
Those four attacks, in addition to the most recent mass shooting in Texas over the weekend, were all carried out with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
The massacre, which was carried out by Devin Patrick Kelley, is likely to renew questions about how an individual with a history of violence could own even one semi-automatic gun, let alone an arsenal of lethal weaponry.
Kelly had been tossed out of the Air Force several years prior for assaulting his wife and child.
The lone gunman, dressed in black tactical gear and a ballistic vest, drove up to the First Baptist Church and started firing inside.
He kept shooting once he entered, killing or wounding victims ranging in age from five to 72 years, police said in a news conference later that day.
President Donald Trump told reporters the shooting was due to a ‘mental health problem” and wasn’t “a guns situation.’
The gunman was later found dead of a gunshot wound after he fled the scene, though it is still not known if that was a self-inflicted shot or if the domestic terrorist was shot dead by a member of law enforcement.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday that the state’s largest mass shooting in its nearly 200 years history is ‘worsened by the fact that it occurred in a church, a place of worship.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Chris Spargo