Tim Eyman’s decision to use an obscene, repulsive image to illustrate a political attack email against King County Executive Dow Constantine (which I wrote about a few days ago) has drawn outrage and condemnation from many quarters, in addition to further cementing Eyman’s well-deserved reputation as a purveyor of destructive initiatives and practitioner of toxic politics.
But one organization in particular was incensed (and certainly has every reason to be): the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents doctors specializing in children’s medicine. The AAP is a respected organization of medical professionals with chapters in all fifty states, including Washington. Today, the president of the AAP’s Washington chapter, Dr. Margaret E. Hood, sent the following letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine and Governor Jay Inslee.
Dear Executive Constantine:
I am writing to you on behalf of the nearly 1,000 Washington pediatricians who are members of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WCAAP), to express our outrage at the violent image included with a recent email sent by Tim Eyman to his supporters, legislators and the media.
Gun violence is a very real public health threat in our country. Firearm-related deaths remain one of the top three causes of death for American youth, and our state’s youth have not been spared: a child or teen is killed by gunfire every 9 days in Washington State.
In light of these facts, gratuitous use of an image of a woman holding a gun to a child’s head is shocking and abhorrent. As pediatricians whose mission is to ensure the health and well-being of children, we could not let Mr. Eyman’s communication go without remark. In closing we wish to go on record as strongly objecting to such inappropriate public use of this horrible image for ill gain.
Margaret E. Hood, MD, FAAP
President, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Unfortunately, Tim Eyman has no regrets about using the obscene, violent image that Dr. Hood spoke of. KIRO 7 asked if he had any “moral compunction” about using it. Eyman replied, “I didn’t”. He ought to know better — he’s a father.
If Tim Eyman had any decency, he never would have used the image in the first place. If he had any shame, he would have realized immediately that he had exercised poor judgment, and apologized. But he lacks both.
Having worked against Tim’s initiative factory for over twelve years, I’m sorry to say that Tim’s ugly, stinky, and disgusting behavior does not shock me, as it did Dr. Hood and her colleagues. I wish it did. But this is what I’ve come to expect from Tim Eyman. He can turn on the charm in person when he wants to, but more often he acts like a child throwing a temper tantrum and hurling insults. And when he’s behind a computer screen, he acts like a troll. It’s sad.
Eyman clearly has a need for attention. If too much time goes by when he doesn’t appear in the news, he concocts a stunt aimed at getting coverage. There was a period of time when he was dressing up in costume for his media events — he’s appeared as Darth Vader, Buzz Lightyear, a gorilla, and a prison inmate.
I want to stress as much as I can that Eyman is only relevant because he has enablers — people and organizations who give him money, ink, airtime, and pixels.
There are a number of wealthy benefactors who have kept gears of his initiative factory lubricated with money: the late Michael Dunmire, Kemper Freeman, Jr., Great Canadian Gaming and other companies in the gambling industry, the Association of Washington Business, and big oil companies like BP and ConocoPhillips.
The latest Eyman benefactors are Republicans Faye Garneau and Suzie Burke of Seattle, who are under the sorely mistaken impression that Eyman is somebody they can work with and trust. (Eyman is attempting to launch an initiative that would overturn the the $15/hour minimum wage enacted in Seattle and SeaTac.)
But they aren’t the only ones.
Washington’s mass media is complicit, too, for repeatedly and indefensibly giving Tim Eyman a platform to attack our elected leaders from.
To KIRO 7’s credit, they have been willing to talk to us and other Eyman opponents when other reporters couldn’t be bothered, as has C.J. Douglas over at Q13.
But when Eyman circulates something that is obviously story bait and not news, we would all be best served if nobody touched it, not even honorable and professional journalists like KIRO 7’s Essex Porter. Our political discourse is already polluted enough. As Eyman is not willing to behave like an adult, he has no place in the conversation around budgeting, tax reform, or fiscal responsibility.