Grand Rapids murders terrorize, but Jennifer Granholm tweeting about her new Chevy Volt
UPDATE: At 10:06 p.m., Granholm posted a Facebook message with a link to a story about the killings. She said: "Wow -- just got home and saw this. Pray for the families ..."
Call it a crystal clear example of the instant perils of tweeting without looking.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm — seemingly oblivious to the terror gripping Grand Rapids as police hunt for a man suspected of killing seven people in a horrific rampage this afternoon — is tweeting away tonight. And not about the murders.
Normally, that would be typical political fare. Nothing wrong with that.
But right now, it just feels so inappropriate as families grieve and the community copes with this astonishing tragedy.
To be sure, the Grand Rapids media reported at 4:51 p.m. that seven people had been killed. Granholm's four tweets were posted at 6:36, 6:56, 7:55 and 8:04, long after the killings started to dominate news broadcasts, web reports and social media accounts.
It's a basic lesson in the importance of, at least, scanning Twitter and Facebook — instead of just posting your own updates without knowing what's going on. This is especially true for political figures.
Politicians need to treat posting a tweet or Facebook update like sending out a press release. Except, in Granholm's case, the post is immediately delivered to the feeds of 19,312 followers instead of a few dozen reporters.
Whenever possible, know what's going on in the world before jumping into the fray with your own potentially irrelevant statements.
Think I'm being petty? Imagine if this were your community.
UPDATE 10:35 p.m. On the flip side, of course, saying nothing is equally unsettling. Gov. Rick Snyder, who succeeded Granholm in January, was totally silent on Twitter and Facebook as of 10:35. He has not released a statement about the murders, either. UPDATE 12:04 a.m.: Snyder released a statement on Facebook: "My sincere condolences and sympathies go out to the families who lost loved ones in a senseless wave of violence. I commend the brave law enforcement officers, first responders and emergency personnel who worked to protect the community and bring an end to this tragedy. The entire state stands with Grand Rapids and remains committed to helping the victims, families, and community through this tragic situation."
Here are the four tweets Granholm has sent out in the hours since news about the murders started to sweep Michigan.