How to Spot an Insincere Apology

Author Stephen King has issued a public apology for saying that the crash of the Amtrak train carrying GOP Congressmen in Virginia which left one man dead was “karma.”

On Wednesday, an Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress and staff collided with a garbage truck, resulting in one fatality and dozens of injuries. Christopher Foley, 28, the passenger in the garbage truck, died from his injuries.

Stephen King’s responses (on Twitter) and subsequent “apologies” consist of the following:

A trainload of Republicans on their way to a pricey retreat hit a garbage truck. My friend Russ calls that karma.

Translation: He’s hiding behind his friend Russ. He’s letting his friend (real or imaginary) take the hit. This means he knows what he’s doing is wrong. It means he knew what he was doing, and he did not care — no matter what he claims later.

Of COURSE sorry the truck driver died.

Translation: If he really were sorry for this dead truck driver, he never would have referred to the whole tragedy as “karma” in the first place. If Stephen King’s loved ones died in an accident, he would not appreciate someone calling the accident karma, even if directed at other victims of the accident. Would you?

And finally:

A rather thoughtless tweet from me concerning the train-truck crash, for which I apologize (if one is necessary). It should be pointed out, too, that those Republican politicians, who can be heartless when they vote, immediately got out to help.


“If one is necessary”. What kind of apology is that? People who are truly sorry don’t say “if one is necessary”. Even people who are NOT truly sorry don’t usually say this.

It’s kind of like saying, “I’m sorry your feelings are hurt.” It’s not the same as saying, “I’m sorry for what I said.” Even if King claimed, “I’m sorry for what I said,” it would ring hollow, because he knew from the get-go he was in the wrong (see above).

Notice how King smuggles in a justification for his original statements, even in the midst of what he claims to be an apology. He withdraws his statement that the accident was karma, meaning a deserved misfortune. Then he turns around and talks about how “heartless” Republicans are for the way they vote. Don’t “heartless” people deserve something bad, according to any definition of justice? He has come full circle. In fact, he never left his original claim.

Morally self-righteous people are never sorry. Psychologically, if not morally, this makes sense. “Morality” refers to a sense of justice. Whether one’s sense of justice is rationally and objectively right or not, psychologically there’s no question that the person feels it.

As a Democratic socialist “progressive” leftist, Stephen King feels overwhelmingly morally justified. That’s why he refers to Republicans who vote against the welfare state (do any of them, really?) as “heartless”. Because according to his mindset, the only way to show generosity is to coerce people to spend money on causes you like, using the force of government.

Stephen King is no sorrier for calling a train crash involving Republicans “karma” than a terrorist is for blowing up a building, a school or a dance bar.

The only difference is that he expects us to believe it.

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