Do you remember the dozens of times that disaster struck a place and the conservative religious crawled out of the woodwork to blame atheists, gays, and liberals? Sure you do! It's a disgusting an unfair practice based on stereotypes rather than facts. It's tribalism triumphant over compassion.
It's happening again and it's happening to us.
Despite what you may think of Mississippi, our state in general and Hattiesburg in particular do not deserve to be destroyed. There is no justice in this tornado or in the chaos it created. Nobody asked for this.
Mississippi is led by fools, no doubt, and they do have a loud, rather rabid fan base. But they don't deserve destruction and death. Most Mississippians are more moderate than you would think. Many are liberals and leftists - in fact, from Hattiesburg on down to the coast is where you'll find the most liberal, educated, laid-back folks we have. Yes, we have a lot of poor, uneducated folks down here but, by and large, they are the products of substandard schools kept that way by the status quo. But uneducated doesn't mean incapable. We haven't given up on each other and many of us work hard to help lift our fellows citizens out of poverty and ignorance.
To say that Mississippians deserved this tornado because we are stupid, conservative, religious, or otherwise deemed unacceptable is to miss the fact that we are diverse and we do have value.
Don't behave like the worst of the conservatives. We deserve your compassion - not your scorn.