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Staff photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson

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Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson goes on Twitter attack after Orlando shooting

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Columnist David Martin

Delete your account. Isn't that what the kids (and oddly enough, Hillary Clinton) are saying these days?

Hold on real quick. First, let me explain what that means to our non-Twitter readers. When someone posts an off-the-rails tweet (being offensive, factually challenged or outright bonkers), fellow Twitter users will often reply to the author of the tweet, saying "delete your account." And Chris Anderson, I have to hand it to you, your twitter barrage last Sunday — blaming various local and state Republicans for the Orlando terrorist attack — was an astonishing blend of all three: It was offensive, factually challenged and the epitome of bonkers.

Listen, you and I have been friendly acquaintances for some time, a refreshing testament to the fact that two people who agree on very little can still enjoy congenial interactions. I hope that doesn't change. Really. I don't doubt for a minute that you strive to use your seat on Chattanooga's City Council to promote the best interests of your constituents. I've witnessed your hard work, and I admire your passion.

Yet unbridled passion can be problematic, as you've so perfectly demonstrated. Accusing a wide range of prominent conservatives and elected officials, from the governor right down to your council peer, you wrote: "In wake of the Orlando murders, do you regret your hateful attacks on the LGBT community and your incitement of this?"

What in the world, Chris? There is no way to draw a straight line between the policy preferences of conservatives here in Tennessee and that horrible shooting. Instead, it was obvious that you simply saw an opportunity to take a cheap shot at people whose social stances you disdain, and you took it. It was a sucker punch, and it was completely baseless.

Of course it feels good to poke the hornet's nest. I get that. However, if your jabs don't have any substance powering them, they're nothing more than shenanigans. Now let me do you a favor and remind you — since few local Democrats are apparently willing to do so — that shenanigans are below your public post (as well as any you might have your eye on for the future). And while the voices in your well-curated echo chamber are congratulating you for your social media bravado, every time you pull stunts like the one you did on Sunday, it increases the likelihood that your greatest political achievement will be that you're the guy who unseated Manny Rico. A Democratic icon that does not make.

On Tuesday, I was standing in the checkout line at my favorite Brainerd Road package store, purchasing my weekly rations. The line stood still since almost everyone was watching a news story on the television next to the counter. A reporter was interviewing a family member of one of the Orlando victims, and the guy whose sibling was shot dead less than 48 hours previously was begging Americans to focus on love and unity rather than divisiveness and politicking. He said that's what his brother would have wanted. You've done precisely the opposite.

Chris, it's time you offer a public apology for Sunday's outburst. No matter how much you disagree with Bill Haslam, Bo Watson, Larry Grohn and all the others you lashed out at, they are not to blame for Omar Mateen's bloody rampage and they didn't deserve your Twitter assault. While you're at it, you also owe an apology to the families of the Orlando victims for selfishly and shamelessly co-opting their tragedy just so you could score some lowbrow political points.

You're better than that — at least I think.

Contact David Allen Martin at davidallenmartin423@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DMart423.

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