Others who have actually endured a harrowing experience like the Santorums' have also spoken out in their defense, including the Boston Herald's Jessica Eslam
and the Washington Post's Charles Lane (who quite rightly calls for "a little more respect regarding the way people deal with loss, and a little more maturity regarding physical contact with the dead").
One wonders whether Eugene Robinson has children. It is almost impossible to imagine that someone with his own children -- and therefore, presumably, the capacity to imagine the unendurable anguish their deaths would elicit -- is capable of the cold, callous cruelty Robinson has displayed.
The old saw about the First Amendment holds true in Eugene Robinson's case -- having a right to say something doesn't make it right to say. Those who engage in constitutionally protected but ugly speech based on race or other immutable characteristics are rightly tolerated, but also rightly held in contempt by all decent people, because their willingness to make statements so profoundly wounding to their target signals something ugly in their minds and hearts. To me, Robinson is no better than they.
Who knew that Eugene Robinson saw his column as a "license to feel" (everything but compassion for bereaved parents, that is)?