Shake hands with the Devil…


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❝ As the room broke for lunch during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a man approached the judge from behind and was able to get his attention. Kavanaugh turned to look at the man, who later identified himself on social media as Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 people killed in the Parkland school shooting in February, as he stuck out his right hand. He appeared to say, “My daughter was murdered at Parkland.”

Kavanaugh gave the man a look but declined to shake his hand. It is not clear whether he heard Guttenberg’s introduction, though the two were standing within a few feet of each other. Another man, who a White House spokesman later said was a security guard, had come to Guttenberg’s side by that point.

❝ The interaction was captured on camera — both in an arresting photograph shot by the Associated Press and multiple video cameras recording from different angles. And it quickly began to circulate on social media, an instant visual artifact trending as a stand-in for a politically complex and emotionally intense moment in American history.

Fred Guttenberg was very clear in the interview I watched. Because this move on someone, whether a public official or an ordinary American within the context of discussions on violence and gun control, is something Fred does often. It’s how he starts a discussion of the tragedy of the murder of his daughter.

It was clear to him, Kavanaugh made his decision in an instant to refuse to shake his hand. That’s OK, I guess. I wouldn’t shake Kavanaugh’s hand. Not certain I could ever get it clean again.