A conservative’s attempt at political satire has caused an uproar in Anaheim.
Blogger Matthew Cunningham posted an image to his “Anaheim Blog” last week of a burned teddy bear with a gaping hole in its face next to two lit candles, one of which depicted the Virgen of Guadalupe -- a figure revered among Mexican Americans. The blog post was titled “Senseless Teddy Bear-icide Near Anaheim City Hall.”
Critics pounced on Cunningham in the comments section of the post, calling the image insensitive to Mexican Americans, who have experienced the brunt of a history of police violence that sparked major protests in Anaheim last year.
“Showing your true colors with the Mexi mocking of candlelight vigils,” Gabriel San Roman, a journalist with Orange County Weekly wrote. “Maybe you should come to one sometime, instead.”
Cunningham, who describes himself as a “veteran of Orange County public affairs,” responded with an insult.
“Oh chill out, Gabby,” Cunningham wrote in response. “It’s called humor. I assume some PC idiot would make the comment you made.”
Theresa Smith didn’t find the image funny either. According to Voice of O.C., Smith had held a candlelight vigil for her son Caesar Cruz outside the Anaheim Police Department just the day before Cunningham’s post.
“You’re making fun of me losing a child, having to bury him,” Smith said, according to Voice of O.C. “I’m outraged. I’m absolutely outraged.”
Police shot and killed Cruz in a Wal-Mart parking lot in 2009, after unmarked cars had tailed him based on reports that a parolee had been seen sighted cruising the streets with a handgun. Cruz was not in fact a parolee, but police said they found a handgun in the car after shooting Cruz.
Having realized the post was offending people, Cunningham removed it from his blog and replaced it with an explanation.
This post was intended as satire of the tendency of leftists to claim tragedies of violence as evidence of this or that underlying systemic social injustice, and then to exploit them to push political/policy agendas. I did not have any particular person or incident in mind when I wrote it, and anyone suggesting otherwise is totally mistaken.