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A terrible thing happened last week: a bridge collapsed in Washington state, leaving three people stranded in the middle of a river, waiting to be rescued by boat. According to conservative commentator Tony Katz, the terrible thing was not the nation's frail infrastructure. It was that those three wimps were too scared to swim to shore. Katz said on an NRA Internet radio show last week:

Katz: Well one of the guys tells a story about how his shoulder separated, like his shoulder popped out. And his wife was next to him. He popped his own shoulder into place and then got his wife to get out. Now that's a guy fully actualized and knowing that he has to live.

Where this thing dropped seemed to me not to be very far, I mean easy get over to the banks where you can get onto dry land. Some of them waited on their cars for an hour for help to arrive…

What has happened in our entire evolution of the past 30 years that we've gone from guys who were standing on the street jumping into ice water to save a woman and here we have people who are 25 feet from shore, if they weren't injured, couldn't make that swim, or ten people couldn't create a human chain. Or it took an hour to get some kind of boat.

That's right, 30 years of liberalism has turned Americans into water-fearing fraidy cats. Katz cited conservative commenter Dennis Miller's claim that during Hurricane Katrina, stranded people were "up to their knees in water screaming out, where is the government to help me?" That was what's at heart in the liberal fight for gun control — to get people wimpier, to think "you can't do it, only government can," Katz said. "It gets us nowhere, it gets us dead."

Those grand unifying theories of everything always get people into trouble. Katz's theory is just an extension of the old saw that liberals coddle criminals, single moms, and people on welfare. Surely people who fear drowning must fit in there somewhere! As Media Matters' Timothy Johnson points out, the water of the Skagit River was 46 degrees and 18 feet deep. Rescuers took so long because they had to maneuver "tangled bridge wreckage," KTVZ reported. So those people didn't swim because they were wimps, they didn't swim because they didn't have a death wish.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

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