The Western intelligentsia is very, very anxious to make sure that you have a positive view of Islam. Thus we see a steady stream of articles in the mainstream media assuring you that the Qur’an is benign, the U.S. Constitution is Sharia-compliant, and the Islamic State is not Islamic. These articles come in a steady stream, and they have to, because they are asking non-Muslims to disregard what they see every day — Muslims committing violence against non-Muslims and justifying it by referring to Islamic texts — and instead embrace a fictional construct: Islam the religion of peace and tolerance.
This takes a relentless barrage of propaganda, because with every new jihad atrocity, reality threatens to break through. It wasn’t accidental that Hitler’s Reich had an entire Ministry of Propaganda: lying to the public is a full-time job, as the cleverest of propaganda constructs is always threatened by the simple facts. This propaganda not just from the Left (the Huffington Post, Salon, etc.), but also from the Right, or at least the Right-leaning media (Forbes); it seems as if whatever divides Americans politically, they’re all united on one point: Islam is just great, and only bigoted, racist “Islamophobes” think otherwise.
Yet the pains that must be taken to establish this betray the futility of the enterprise. A sampling: establishment academic Juan Cole, a Board member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has been established in court as a front group lobbying for the Islamic regime in Iran, pointed out last Tuesday in The Nation that Rudy Giuliani and Paul Wolfowitz had taken issue with Barack Obama over whether Islamic terrorism was really Islamic, and asserted that this question was “actually about what philosophers call ‘essentialism,’ and, as Giuliani’s and Wolfowitz’s own interventions make clear, it is about absolving the United States for its own role in producing the violent so-called ‘Caliphate’ of Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.”
Oh, really? Yet I readily agree with Cole that Bush’s removal of Saddam Hussein and naive trust that a stable Western-style republic would take its place was ill-considered, as I argued back in March 2003. And the Islamic State filled the vacuum thus created. But this is an entirely separate question from that of whether the Islamic State has anything to do with Islam or not. Whatever Paul Wolfowitz or Rudy Giuliani said or did is simply irrelevant to the question Cole claims to be investigating: if Giuliani and Wolfowitz are right that Islamic jihadis have something to do with Islam, that does nothing whatsoever to absolve the U.S. “for its own role in producing the violent so-called ‘Caliphate’ of Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.”
As for “essentialism,” Cole added:
“Essentialism when applied to human groups is always an error and always a form of bigotry. Zionists bombed the King David Hotel in British Mandate Palestine in 1948, killing dozens of civilians and some British intelligence officials. If a British official had responded then by arguing that ‘everyone knows that Judaism has something to do with what we’re fighting,’ it would be fairly clear what that official thought about Jews in general.”
“Essentialism when applied to human groups” may be “always an error and always a form of bigotry,” but when applied to belief systems it is not. Cole is, perhaps deliberately, conflating Islam and Muslims, and claiming that to speak of what Islam is and is not, which is established by reference to Islamic texts and teachings, is to make a bigoted judgment against all Muslims. Islam in all its forms teaches certain things. Its teachings are knowable. To speak about Muslims acting upon them, when they themselves explain and justify their actions by referring to those actions, is not bigotry, despite the endless charges to the contrary from leftists and Islamic supremacists. It is simply to notice reality.
Cole then embarks upon a labored argument to establish that the Salafi jihadis are a “sect” and a “destructive cult,” charging anyone who disagrees with him with the cardinal sin of “Orientalism,” claiming that “it is now typically forgotten that in the early twentieth century the Ku Klux Klan was a Protestant religious organization or that it came to power in the state of Indiana in the 1920s and comprised 30 percent of native-born white men there. It was a large social movement, with elements of the destructive cult, in the heart of North America. More recent groups such as Jim Jones’s People’s Temple and David Koresh’s Branch Davidians may have begun as high-tension sects, but at a certain point they became destructive cults. The refusal to see ISIL in these terms is just a form of Orientalism, a way of othering the Middle East and marking its culture as inherently threatening.”
Cole here ignores, of course, the fact that the KKK, the People’s Temple and the Branch Davidians represented obvious deviations from Protestant Christianity, and were condemned as such. The Islamic State and jihadists have likewise been condemned by Muslim authorities, but these condemnations have all too often rung hollow: Tahir ul-Qadri’s vaunted 300-page fatwa against terrorism doesn’t even mention the passages of the Qur’an that exhort believers to violence against unbelievers; and the recent “Letter to Baghdadi” from Muslim scholars to the self-styled caliph of the Islamic State endorsed central concepts of jihad doctrine that Western analysts usually think are limited only to “extremists.” Cole likewise ignores the fact that all the traditional schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhahib) teach that the umma has the responsibility to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers. It is not “othering the Middle East” to point this out — it is simply noting the severe limitations of Cole’s analogy.
Ultimately Cole’s argument rests on “essentialism” — that is, the idea that anything really is anything, as opposed to anything else. That this is nonsense, and that Cole knows it’s nonsense, is shown by this very article: Cole assumes that he and his readers both know what the KKK is and the People’s Temple and the Branch Davidians are, but Islam? — a mystery, and you’re a bigoted Orientalist Islamophobe if you think otherwise. In any case, even if one grants that Islam has no essence, nonetheless the Islamic State jihadis claim to be acting in accord with Islam, and make their case based upon an interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah that is well established in Islamic history and theology. The fact that other Muslims have a different understanding of Islam doesn’t negate this.
Even worse, Cole claims that the Islamic State “is put under the sign of religion, but it is in fact a form of nationalism appealing to medieval religious symbols.”
To claim that the Islamic State is a form of nationalism leads inevitably to the question: which nation? And that’s where Cole’s analysis is most absurd: the Islamic State is not nationalistic in any sense. It is neither Iraqi nor Syrian, for it has erased the border between the two. It is, in fact, the most internationalist of movements, with over 20,000 Muslims from all over the world traveling to Iraq and Syria to join it. The only nation that the Islamic State could conceivably be said to be fighting for is the international Muslim nation, the worldwide umma — but Cole can’t acknowledge that, as it would be granting the point he is trying clumsily to rule out.
Even clumsier, however, was Cole’s counterpart on the (relative) Right, Loren Thompson of Forbes. Thompson began his case that the Islamic State is not Islamic by noting that “when you do the math, it appears that the ‘addressable market’ for ISIS ideas is 5% of the global Muslim community, and as of today most of that market isn’t buying.” Yes, and the Bolsheviks were never a majority in Russia, and the National Socialists never won an absolute majority in a German election. But where is the Muslim pushback against this organized, energized vanguard? We have recently seen hundreds of thousands of Muslims demonstrate against cartoons of Muhammad; there have not been any Muslim demonstrations, however, against the Islamic State — much less efforts to teach against its understanding of Islam in Muslim communities.
Thompson’s case went downhill from there. His second point against the Islamic character of the Islamic State was that “non-Muslims have committed similar atrocities.” But of course, the fact that there is “nothing uniquely Islamic” about what the Islamic State does in no way establishes that its behavior isn’t sanctioned and justified by Islamic texts and teachings.
Still digging, Thompson added that
“for many ISIS members, Islam is a pretext. ISIS isn’t the first militant organization that has attracted young men to its cause by claiming to represent a higher calling. Hitler’s early appeal to alienated young males in the beer halls of Munich — the notion of a thousand-year Reich, the need for lebensraum, the scapegoating of Jews, the rejection of cosmopolitan values – was similar to the appeals that ISIS issues today. It appears that every culture produces large numbers of young males who can be mobilized in the pursuit of millenarian philosophies, not because of the specific content of the vision, but because young men yearn for power and status and resources (not to mention mates).”
To follow this logic, one would have to hold that Nazi Germany wasn’t Nazi because some of its followers were disaffected young males who had been mobilized in pursuit of millenarian philosophies. In other words, Forbes, like The Nation, is so intent on establishing that the Islamic State isn’t Islamic that it is straying into absurdity.
Thompson agreed with Cole that the debate over whether the Islamic State is Islamic is “highly partisan,” but this also is inaccurate: most establishment Republicans follow the Obama line that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, which, after all, is just a variation on the Bush line that the Islamic jihadists had twisted and hijacked the Religion of Peace. This is unquestioned dogma in Washington, enforced by iron fist. There are a few blades of grass poking through the concrete here and there: the truth will inevitably defeat all attempts to stifle it. However, expect the media cement mixers to churn out a great deal more cement before the truth finally prevails outright against all this disinformation.
Killing is ugly. A living body is designed to survive; killing opposes its entire purpose. Nothing dies in an artful manner — a body is just damaged until it fails to sustain itself anymore. Put enough holes in something, and it will eventually stop moving, stop functioning. And often a living creature’s last moments are spent in a pointless struggle, twisting and writhing in a vain attempt to continue its existence. I’ve seen it many times. I’ve known it myself.
But that’s just an aesthetic quibble. The ugliness of death aside, I always enjoyed the challenge of being a hitman.
The receptionist was ignoring me. She (I wasn’t familiar with the species — purplish with tentacley things on her head — but she appeared to be the childbearing variety) was talking on the phone in a clearly non-work-related manner while I waited. We were in a spacious lobby with walls and floors of glass and ivory. Everything was curved, not many hard angles where surfaces met. Several bunches of flowers and other potted plants decorated the walls and otherwise empty floor space. I noted one exit to my right and a hallway leading further into the building to my left — so I only had two directions to be wary of.
I knocked on the hard white top of her desk. She finished her call and looked at me with gray eyes. “I’m sorry for the wait, but I don’t think this resort is able to accommodate your species.”
“That’s okay. I’m actually here on business. My name is Rico, and I am here to see Chal Naus.”
“He didn’t say he was expecting anyone, and he doesn’t see anyone without an appointment. And business hours ended half an hour ago.”
“No, he is not expecting me, but I do need to see him personally. And I specifically came after business hours because I wanted to be polite and not interrupt whatever it is he does here.”
Her face tensed. I had no idea what that meant — and didn’t care. “I can’t help you. I think you need to leave.” Her tenor had changed — I think she was threatening me. She wasn’t very good at it. Perhaps I could teach her something.
The job of a hitman is always changing, always invigorating, and it often requires that I perform at my best. Plus, it makes me get out and interact with people — which is good, since I’m basically anti-social. I have trouble seeing that as my fault, though; I rarely encounter an individual worth talking to. Everyone seems so pointless, coasting through drab, rote lives. They have nothing useful to say, nothing useful to do. They just are.
I partly blame civilization for that. It allows people to get through life with so little effort. Take this receptionist. Most animals exist in a daily life-and-death struggle, and if they don’t give it everything they’ve got, they end up with that messy death I just described. The receptionist, on other hand, just had to sit at a desk and smile… and she couldn’t even be bothered to put much effort into that. I can’t imagine why someone would waste her life going to a job she doesn’t care to do. I can’t imagine such a person would have anything to say that might be worth listening to. So I’m anti-social.
But I’m working on it.
Sure, I find pretty much all sentients boring in their normal lives, but that doesn’t mean they lack the potential to be interesting. It’s just a matter of focus. No matter how lazy or unmotivated a person is, if he feels his life is on the line, he will devote every available resource to not being killed. Civilization goes out the door, and pure survival kicks in. When people are that awake and that focused, they intrigue me. So you can say I have a job that brings out the best in people.
“Are you familiar with the Nystrom syndicate? I am here on their behalf, so one way or another I will speak to your boss. In person.”
Her eyes grew wider. I could have guessed at the meaning of that but, again, I didn’t care. “Is he aware you are coming?”
I thought I’d covered that. Sometimes — due to my lack of social skills — I’m not as clear as I think I am. So I tried again. “I’ll make this simple: You tell Chal Naus that I am going to speak to him personally and that I will kill anyone who stands in my way, starting with you.” I didn’t think she was actually going to get in my way, but as I said, people can be quite focused when they feel their lives are on the line. “I’m going to go sit down while I wait for a response.” I smiled politely, wondering what color her species bled; you can never tell by skin color.
I sat down in one of the odd circular chairs across from the desk. The purple, tentacle-headed receptionist was back on the phone, talking much more frantically than she had before. Soon six other creatures entered the lobby: larger tentacle-headed things I assumed were male. I think they were supposed to intimidate me, and the tense faces they wore were probably their angry expressions.
I remained seated and relaxed, arms folded. There is little in body language that is universal between species, but ignoring someone is a good way to assert dominance; it communicates that I do not find an individual or group to be threatening or even worth my time.
A screen appeared on one of the walls. On the screen was the image of another creature of the same species, and admittedly able to judge by only a small sample, he seemed obese. That wasn’t necessarily a weakness — it could be a cultural thing.
“That is Chal Naus,” Dip, my “partner,” chimed in my ear.
Join us again next week for another excerpt from SuperEgo and more provocative essays from Frank J. Fleming and the Liberty Island team.
5. Albino Toddler Kidnapped by Witches (Tanzania)
On Saturday the 14th an 18-month-old albino toddler was kidnapped from a home in Northern Tanzania. According to the father, who was nearby during the attack, two bandits armed with machetes stormed the house, slashed the mother to death, and kidnapped their baby son. Their motive: to use the child’s body parts as part of a witchcraft ritual. Sound fishy? It’s not. Since the year 2000 at least 74 albinos have been murdered in East Africa because, due to the rarity of albinos, their severed limbs are believed to have spiritual powers. Their body parts sell for $600 and an entire albino corpse sells for $75,000. There’s a Tanzanian election in October of this year and political hopefuls often turn to sorcery to give their campaign an edge.
4. Woman Stabs Herself on Valentine’s Day (South Carolina)
On Saturday the 14th 29-year-old Heather Freeman likely realized how lonely she was on Valentine’s Day morning, and devised a plan to draw some attention to herself. She called police with a report of being attacked and sexually assaulted by a Hispanic male who fled the scene. She had stab wounds on her neck, face, and near her vagina to prove it. At the hospital she changed her story and reported the assailant to be her black friend named Phil. The investigating officers’ suspicions were eventually confirmed when Freeman later admitted to making the entire story up and stabbing herself. She’s been charged with filing a false police report.
Since the release of the movie American Sniper a collective interest has surrounded the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the killer of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Now that Routh’s trial is officially underway, his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity provokes a sense of, shall we say, injustice.
Less than 1% of defendants charged with homicide attempt the insanity plea, and about 25% of them are actually successful. This comes out to about 25 murderers annually in the United States who end up in a mental hospital rather than a prison. Nearly half of the residents in mental hospitals are there as a result of a crime conviction, misdemeanors and felonies alike.
So where does Routh fit in to this mix? How does his case compare to some of the most notorious insanity pleas and, based on what we currently know, will he be able to avoid prison?
1. Andrew Goldstein (1999)
Exhibiting behavior consistent with schizophrenia, Andrew Goldstein shoved a woman into the path of an oncoming N train in New York. Prior to this murder he voluntarily attempted to check himself into a mental hospital 13 times, but was put on a waiting list due to overcrowding.
Verdict: Guilty – 25 years to life (he eventually admitted to being consciously aware of his actions)
The 911 call came in Sunday after a car hit Rick Warrick, 38, of Washington, D.C., and his fiancee as they changed a tire on a highway about halfway between Washington and Baltimore. The driver of the car that hit the couple fled. No arrests have been made, and police say they have no description of the car.
Warrick was killed. His fiancee, Julia Pearce, 28, was seriously injured but was in fair condition at Baltimore’s Shock Trauma Center on Thursday.
Warrick’s 13-year-old daughter was in the back seat with her younger brother, and called 911.
During the five-minute call, the dispatcher asks the teen for more details about her location and about what happened. The teen answers many of his questions but struggles at times to remain calm.
At one point, the dispatcher interrupts her.
“OK, let’s stop whining. Let’s stop whining, it’s hard to understand you,” he says.
The dispatcher sounds frustrated when the girl asks him to send help quickly. At one point he asks if there’s someone else he can talk to.
Cross-posted from Vodkapundit, image illustration via shutterstock /
The Ick Factor on the story behind Jeffrey Epstein’s donations to science goes up to 11:
“His interest is in interesting people and interesting ideas,” Lawrence Krauss, an Arizona State University physicist, told Reuters. Krauss directs a program on the origins of life — a program that Epstein has supported. Krauss said he would feel cowardly if he turned away from Epstein, given that he doesn’t know anything about the accusations.
Another professor who has received funds from Epstein and defended him was Robert Trivers, a Rutgers University biologist who received about $40,000 from Epstein to study the link between knee symmetry and sprinting ability. Trivers questioned how bad the charges are, noting that girls mature earlier than used to be the case. “By the time they’re 14 or 15, they’re like grown women were 60 years ago, so I don’t see these acts as so heinous,” he told Reuters.
I hope Trivers doesn’t serve at Rutgers in any sort of teaching position. If he does, I’m sure the parents of his female students would want to be informed of his feelings about sex with girls as young as 14 and 15.
To paraphrase from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, “To defeat your enemy you must know your enemy.” I kept this mantra in mind while compiling this comprehensive list of 10 criminal DO’s and DON’Ts, opening a window into their minds, bringing us one step closer to pinpointing the source of their brilliance.
10. DON’T bother getting a business loan
Twenty-one-year-old Charles Ray Fuller from Texas had dreams of starting his own record company, but he took to heart what he learned from Roman poet Titus Plautus: “You need to spend money to make money.” Because banks are dumb, and rich people do this all the time, Charles filled out a check in his name for $360 billion (yes, billion) and attempted to cash it at a bank in Fort Worth. Not only was he arrested for forgery, he was also in possession of two ounces of marijuana and a .25 caliber handgun.
9. DON’T factor in your victim’s abilities
When selecting a victim for property theft some choose an easy target, while others may choose a wealthy target. A burglar from Milwaukee, however, understood the futility of these details. While giving a private lesson at his studio, Taekwondo master David Kang heard someone rummaging through his office. He soon discovered a burglar who, apparently, didn’t know what Taekwondo was used for. Kang easily subdued the unarmed bandit and held him hostage until police arrived.
I received an email from an academic who was dismayed to learn that a female friend who is a professor believes that all men are rapists. He wrote to ask for my help in how to cope (I have abbreviated and changed some of the wording for privacy) :
I am in an online group of professors and academics and a female professor who I am friends with posted on an internet meme about “Teaching Men Not to Rape.” The gist of this document was something along the lines of :
1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.
2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.
3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.
4. If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.
5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not rape her.
6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.
I linked to articles to try and give her information on the rape statistics and how most men are decent guys but her response was that she gets near men in public and feels that they could overcome her physically.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with this kind of stuff for fathers, fathers who are professors, and folks who would like to be able to take this stuff on at work without risking losing their job? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
My response to this reader was:
You are too kind. You are trying to engage in an intellectual discussion where there is none. These ideas are based on what makes women feel good and give the Uncle Tims of the world a chance to strut their stuff by playing along with the game in the hopes of accolades. I think the disconnect here for you is “how can you engage with such a person?” How do you deal with someone who thinks you and your son are rapists while being a “friend” to you. Whether she is a parent or not matters none. Many nasty people who hate men have sons. The goal here is to let “friends” or colleagues know that their prejudices may have consequences. How do you do that?
It sounds like you tried to use logic but you were not satisfied with the results of her response. One way to fight back is by using their own words against them. How about this:
“I can’t believe someone with your open-mindedness would buy into this propaganda. Your open expression of such views as a professor may make male students feel uncomfortable producing a hostile learning environment for male students. I am sure that 50 years ago there were women who were afraid to be in a crowd of African Americans but we didn’t design our society to accommodate their prejudices. You need to think about whether it is fair or legal to stereotype a whole group of people based on gender.”
She will go onto deny profusely that this is not the case and maybe call you a “rape apologist.” Response? Was Atticus Finch a rape apologist?
Anyway, you get the idea. Use their own progressive ideas against them and often that will shut them down by using a bunch of Title IX rhetoric.
Dear readers, do you have some more tips for our distressed dad on how to deal with a “friend” or colleague who thinks all men are rapists?
I read a story at the checkout counter at Earthfare from Psychology Today on women who stalk and thought it might interest readers. Unfortunately, there is only a portion of the story available online:
The lovesick who cannot eat or sleep are legion. Many go so far as to harass and stalk the lover who spurned them. And more often than one might realize, the stalkers are women.
Patricia*, a graphic designer and visual artist, was married and had a 9-year-old son when she began an affair with a man whom she refers to as Wolf. Lone-spirited and rugged, Wolf lived in a converted tack house on a ranch outside of San Francisco and seemed to be everything her corporate husband was not.
The affair lasted over a year. Wolf pressured her to leave her husband, but she refused. Yet when Wolf told Patricia he didn’t want to see her anymore, she wouldn’t accept it. She would go to the marina where his sailboat was docked and wait for him. She wrote fragments of Edna St. Vincent Millay poems in nail polish on the boat’s beautiful wood: I know what my heart is like / Since your love died. She also stole things from the boat, including a sail. “I became a predator,” she says. “I wanted to catch his scent so I could feel near him.”…
Pursuers may tell themselves that their stalking is a form of love or courtship, Sinclair allows, but that’s “just like how we once talked about a rapist as the guy who is overwhelmed with passion.” Today we have a similar myth about stalking. “People think it’s about being so in love, you’re not able to control yourself,” she explains. “But you’re driven by retaliation and obsession rather than love and idealization. Once you’re aggressive, you’re not idealizing, you’re not in love. All that’s left is the obsession.”
Stalking is mostly seen as a crime against women, and for good reason. According to a 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey, three times more women than men have been stalked. That still means there are plenty of male stalking victims. In fact, one in 19 men have been stalked, and about half reported that their stalkers were female. The definition of criminal stalking varies from state to state, but the three main criteria for the crime are repeated, unwanted, and intrusive behaviors; implicit or explicit threats; and causing fear. The study surveyed self-identified victims and was based on a definition of stalking as behavior that led them to feel very fearful.
The author of this piece, Lisa Phillips, has a book out called Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession in which she describes her own experience as a stalker:
The summer Lisa A. Phillips turned thirty, she fell in love with someone who didn’t return her feelings. She soon became obsessed. She followed him around, called him compulsively, and talked about him endlessly. One desperate morning, after she snuck into his apartment building, he picked up a baseball bat to protect himself and began to dial 911. Her unrequited love had changed her from a sane, conscientious college teacher and radio reporter into someone she barely recognized—someone who was taking her yearning much too far.
In Unrequited, Phillips explores the tremendous force of obsessive love in women’s lives. She argues that it needs to be understood, respected, and channeled for personal growth—….
Really? So when a woman is a predator, her behavior is to be understood, and channeled for personal growth. When a man is a predator, he goes to jail. Even if he is innocent (but suspected) there are often consequences, as the campus rape panic shows all too well. Phillips points out that this stalking behavior in women is quite common. Why is it so acceptable in our society? Why do we allow men to be followed and abused?
Women tend to destroy property when they stalk — what makes this okay? Women destroying men’s property is so popular, there is even a Hardee’s commercial about it. A guy has three girlfriends so they destroy his car, writing “Cheater” on it. Can you imagine a woman dating three guys who vandalize her car and write “Whore” across it? Watch the video and imagine the genders reversed:
On January 17, 58-year-old John Frasier, a homeless man, while asleep on a beach in Ventura, California, was doused with gasoline by three young white men and set on fire. If it weren’t for a random civilian who extinguished the flames with sand, Frasier would have likely perished.
Crimes against the homeless increased 24% from 2012 to 2013, and, of the groups currently protected under hate crime laws (HCL), the homeless have the highest rate of persecution. Most of us would feel a lot better knowing that these three men were captured and left in prison to rot. Unfortunately, the homeless are not actually protected under HCL in the state of California.
Therefore, with a good lawyer the suspects could knock down an attempted murder conviction to 10 years, instead of receiving a hate crime “penalty enhancement” (e.g. the maximum penalty for attempted murder: a life sentence). HCL recognize crimes against a specific gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, but, in 46 states, the homeless are not included.
The National Coalition for the Homeless seeks to expand federal hate crime categorization to include the homeless. But the point of this article is not necessarily aimed at raising awareness for crimes against the homeless – it’s to help clarify the rationale behind HCL. In 1999 the University of California at Davis conducted a four-year study of the psychological effects of hate crimes on the LGBT community. These hate crime survivors showed increased signs of psychological distress, consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, compared to non-bias motivated crime survivors. HCL are not intended to be a form of affirmative action for deterring violence against minorities. They address conduct of a terrorizing nature, like the murder of Arthur Warren in 2000 (a homosexual male who was beaten by two young men, driven outside of town, and run over with a car four times until he died), or, on the lighter side, an incident in 2013 involving 16 Amish individuals who forcibly removed the beards of several other Amish residents.
If a victim is targeted specifically because he or she is a member of a recognized group, this also creates an environment of terror for others who belong to that group. One side-effect of a terrorized environment is its inherent volatility, which increases the likelihood for exaggerated retaliation, like riots.
Some people, like Missouri Congressman Paul Curtman, oppose HCL with the argument that “there is not really such a thing as a hate crime. Crime is crime, right?” In other words, all crimes are motivated by hate, thus HCL give undeserved attention to minority groups. If we subdivided all crime victims into their subsequent group, this argument would appear to hold water. The “bad drivers” group would be singled out for road rage, the “attractive temptress” group would be singled out for rape, the “wealthy business owners” would be singled out for theft, the “sports fanatic” group would be singled out the way Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death after a Dodger-Giants game in 2011.
But this argument assumes that the mere hint of hate-bias will result in an automatic promotion from “normal crime” to “hate crime.” Whites have the highest probability for committing hate crimes, claiming over 50% of the annual total, yet, of the inter-racial white-on-black violent crimes committed in 2005, less than 3% were deemed to be actual hate crimes.
A thorough examination of the evidence is considered in every case before the label of “hate crime” can be officially attached, especially when it comes to First Amendment privileges. Three Supreme Court cases in particular have established precedence in this arena.
- In 1969, Brandenburg v. Ohio protected a KKK leader’s right to preach vengeance against other races during a rally as long as a time element of “clear and present danger” can be established (e.g. because no action was taken immediately after Brandenburg’s speech, he cannot be held accountable).
- In 1992, R.A.V v. City of St Paul protected one’s right to express his or her bigotry in a symbolic manner (i.e. placing a burning cross in the yard of a black family), and, as long as no violent conduct occurs immediately afterwards, this would only qualify as vandalism.
- In 1993, Wisconsin v. Mitchell protected our right to express bigotry, even if one acts on this bigotry in a violent manner, as long as a distinction can be made between the belief and the conduct (e.g. an established bigot can commit inter-racial battery without it necessarily being categorized as a hate crime).
What these cases have in common is that they, either directly or tangentially, deal with a type of speech that our First Amendment does not protect. Along with profanity, obscenities, libelous accusations, and lewdness, so-called “fighting words” are not protected by our Constitution when delivered in a public forum.
Ironically, according to statistics, penalty enhancement is not a significant deterrent. The Hate Crime Sentence Enhancement Act was passed in November of 1993, but these crimes continued to rise for the next two years. Hate crime awareness became a national media campaign in 2000, yet these crimes experienced a major spike in 2001 after the 9-11 attacks. A Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act was reintroduced in Congress in 2005, yet they experienced a swell, and would remain relatively un-phased.
Either the type of person who commits a hate crime is a special type of criminal who is not influenced by harsher consequences, or harsher consequences are not actually a deterrent in general. If the former is true, what’s the point of penalty enhancement?
The point is that hate crime awareness shapes attitudes and values. It’s harder to dehumanize someone with whom you share certain values, and this applies to both the victim and the criminal. Because many of us find it difficult to relate to, or understand, the values of other cultures, other races, those with alternative sexual preferences, or even the homeless, these people are more easily dehumanized. Values aren’t shaped by prisons; they’re shaped by family and peers.
For better or worse, political legislation represents the values of the people we elect into office. If HCL help spread these values beyond the walls of Congress, then maybe these crimes can be avoided altogether by shifting the deterrent into the household, rather than taking our chances with the prison system.
image illustration via shutterstock / Goritza
We had a good time over at my Facebook page and on my Twitter feed (@andrewklavan) this week, running a caption contest on this picture:
Much hilarity ensued, much of it involving pudding pops and Jeffrey Epstein.
But I have to admit, the whole Cosby business saddens me.
When I was a little boy, Cos was the great hero of my life. I had all his comedy records. I had his picture on my wall. I made plans to become a stand-up comedian and made up routines in his style. I got to see him perform live several times. My father even took me to California and arranged for me to shake my idol’s hand: Cosby was on a break from filming the hopscotch opening to his first television special. That same trip, I got to watch him filming an episode of I Spy. It was my favorite show, of course. I never missed an episode.
Cosby became my hero again in my adulthood, when he stood up against the race hustlers and thug excusers and called on black Americans to take responsibility for their own children and their own lives. It’s sad that it requires courage for a black man to do that simple, sensible and helpful thing, but it does. The left — which includes the media — has built its power by dividing us, holding up white men especially as the Emmanuel Goldstein of their four-decade-long Two Minute Hate. If blacks — and women — and gays — ever figure out who the friends of their freedom really are, the left is finished. So Cosby was viciously attacked for his honesty.
Did he drug women and rape them while they were unconscious? God, I hope not. I hope the accusations are part of some kind of leftist conspiracy meant to silence him or punish him for speaking the truth. But we’ll see. If he did it, it was a pretty sick thing to do. Hard for a sane man even to see the pleasure in it. But easy enough to see the pathological cruelty. One can only imagine the mental damage it would do to the victim.
I hope it’s all baloney. But if it is true, I won’t make excuses even for my childhood hero, not as the left did for Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. If it is true, there can be no excuse.
Are you familiar with Waze? It’s a smartphone app, which my wife turned me on to a year or two ago, which crowdsources traffic information. There’s not much use for it here in Monument, Colorado (“Teeming city of tens!”), but I keep it installed for shopping & drinking excursions to Denver, or for road trips to anywhere. It’s well designed, it works in realtime, and I’ve avoided some serious snarls with small kids in car — which by itself elevates Waze to “priceless.” Google, which is pretty smart about these kinds of products, bought the company in 2013 — but it’s handy enough that I don’t mind occasionally letting Google data-mine me about my driving habits.
Of course, users can and do crowdsource information about speed traps, and that has some cops up in arms:
Sheriffs are campaigning to pressure Google Inc. to turn off a feature on its Waze traffic software that warns drivers when police are nearby. They say one of the technology industry’s most popular mobile apps could put officers’ lives in danger from would-be police killers who can find where their targets are parked.
Waze, which Google purchased for $966 million in 2013, is a combination of GPS navigation and social networking. Fifty million users in 200 countries turn to the free service for real-time traffic guidance and warnings about nearby congestion, car accidents, speed traps or traffic cameras, construction zones, potholes, stalled vehicles or unsafe weather conditions.
To Sergio Kopelev, a reserve deputy sheriff in Southern California, Waze is also a stalking app for law enforcement.
There are no known connections between any attack on police and Waze, but law enforcers such as Kopelev are concerned it’s only a matter of time.
Editor’s Note: This is a much longer-than-usual essay than we normally publish, but it’s a very thorough dissection of Marxist ideology well-worth your time. To make it more accessible we’ve decided to experiment with publishing it “Netflix style,” meaning as the streaming internet TV service has developed the practice of releasing whole seasons of its new shows at once, allowing viewers to consumer at their own pace, we’ll publish this first as one long article before serializing its points daily over the next 2 weeks.
1. In its essence Marxism, the core ideology of modern Socialism, is an irrational, utopian and coercive perversion of human equality.
Marxism seeks equality where equality does not exist, demanding legal enforcement of equal social outcomes, including those related to economics, higher education, athletics, religion and human sexuality. This ideology even extends to international relationships whereby no nation is allowed to excessively prosper or achieve greatness, i.e.: all nations must be “equal.” Never mind that when people are free their human nature leads to inequality of outcomes – some are hard-working and some are lazy – some are more intelligent and some are less intelligent – some are stronger and some are weaker – some are tall and some are short. Unequal results occur naturally without force when people possess rightful liberty. Based on their degree of truly Free Enterprise nations similarly divide themselves unequally into various degrees of prosperity or depravity.
A black man who was found guilty of murdering two white teenagers execution-style in a vacant Detroit field defiantly declared “black lives matter” Wednesday before being sentenced to life in prison.
Fredrick Young and Felando Hunter were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for robbing, torturing and murdering Jourdan Bobbish and Jacob Kudla, who had met up with them in July 2012 to buy drugs, a local Fox affiliate reported.
Young shocked the courtroom when he was given the chance to address the victims’ families, but instead apologized to the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
“I’d like to say sorry to the families of Aiyanna Jones, Michael Brown, Eric Garner,” he said. “And I want to apologize to them for not being able to get justice for their loved ones who was murdered in cold blood.
“And in respect for the peaceful protest, I want to say ‘hands up don’t shoot,’” he said, raising his hands in the air. “Black lives matter — that’s it your honor.”
Young’s life mattered — until he chose to become a killer.
Arthur Chu wrote a wandering epithet over at Salon on “bitter nerd” Scott Aaronson’s rant against feminism. Aaronson’s complaints as detailed in Chu’s piece are far from new. As a graduate teaching assistant I had many male students (rather nerdy types) walk out of film theory classes declaring they were “horrible people” and “secret rapists” because they were born male. In the wake of the campus rape lies of 2014, who can blame these guys for believing feminism is conducting its own War Against Men:
This is not a debate about gender roles. It is not about economics or the esoterica of hateful radicals in an ivory tower. This is a war, an ideological campaign to smear all men as moral monsters. It is not a war against “patriarchy” or some imagined evil rich guy. This is a war on men as such – of all races and social classes. It is a war against your brothers, sons, fathers, friends and relatives. And right now, the bad guys and girls are winning.
— s.a.d. anne geddes (@zannekamp) November 19, 2014
“…[H]ow could [Aaronson] be targeted by books written by second-wave feminists when he was a toddler?” Chu asks incredulously. Camille Paglia answers Chu in her book Vamps and Tramps, and most recently in her Time magazine piece on the overblown campus rape epidemic. Second-wave feminists believe themselves to be superior human beings through a pseudo-science that negates biology, psychology and religion in favor of a sterile view of the world as a grand social order which must be maintained and controlled through Marxist politics. To put it rather simply, the second wave threw out biology and psychology and mocked God, making a target of every man like Scott who reads feminist literature only to walk away convinced that he’s an inherent rapist because he was born male. As Paglia explains:
The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.
Paglia details that Marxist feminists “…simplistically project outward onto a mythical ‘patriarchy’ their own inner conflicts and moral ambiguities.” Men have no such external myth on which to blame what Chu calls “internal demons” which is why for men these moral struggles are easily chalked off as “slippery things.” Chu writes
I do know that what could help women… is to find the guys who are doing bad things to her and stop those guys from doing that. That’s why feminism is more focused on women’s issues than men’s, because women’s issues are the things happening out in the world where we can do something about them.
This absurdity is an outgrowth of the second wave’s politicization of male rape. Female rape, highly eroticized in the ’70s, was legitimized by the feminist movement as sexual fantasy only to become an illicit crime when acted out by a male counterpart. Paglia notes, “…the illicit is always highly charged,” which is why the issue of campus rape has become the most highly charged issue of feminism today. This also explains why rape has become the source for such incredible moral ambiguity and why men, the mythical figures onto which the moral ambiguities of the female sex are projected, are increasingly blamed for women’s bad sexual decision-making.
The story of Molly Morris and Corey Mock is nothing new to the campus rape scene. Having met on Tinder, a social media app designed to fulfill hook-up scenarios, Mock pursued classmate Morris, who played hard to get until agreeing to a breakfast date. Morris took Mock up on his invitation to a party, but wound up not arriving until 2 a.m., only to find a bunch of male wrestlers with few female faces in the crowd. Partaking in plenty of booze, Morris implies she was drugged and woke up the next day naked in bed with Mock. She decided not to go to the police because “she was not emotionally ready to enter a criminal justice system that would scrutinize her life and choices.”
Her’s is a pathetic excuse that permits the consequences of her bad decision-making to be projected onto the mythical patriarchy represented by Mock and the criminal justice system. When Morris finally did approach their university’s administration Mock was found innocent, then guilty, then granted a stay and finally expelled from the school in what amounted to a politically motivated public relations debacle. Mock’s side of the story is only given by his father via the comment field at the end. He explicitly details his son’s sexual encounter to make it clear that it was, indeed, consensual. After explaining what happened to his son, he concludes, “Morally and ethically I want to say, don’t have sex until you get married. We all know that would be naive.”
— David Mastio (@DavidMastio) September 23, 2014
Would it? The reality is that abstinence has become the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid being falsely accused of sexual assault. That reality check highlights the long-forgotten intrinsic value of abstinence culture. The moralists who promoted that antiquated agenda understood that the allure of sexuality and the power of sex needed to be contextualized through marriage so societal order could be maintained. When society rejected marriage culture, it implicitly accepted the second-wave feminist alternative. Hence, every man is a rapist and every woman a victim.
Paglia argues that “rape will not be understood until we revive the old concept of the barbaric, the uncivilized.” Likewise, the problem of campus rape – that is, second-wave feminism’s grotesque predilection for falsely accusing male sex partners of assault in an attempt to soothe their own wounded pride and troubled souls – will not cease until moral order, built on a solid biological and psychological understanding of the individual and an acceptance of moral responsibility on the part of both parties, is restored.
I don’t know how to introduce this story, other than with the most profound regret and a woefully insufficient “You know you aren’t supposed to do that, right?” So without further ado:
In a bizarre, but true illustration of that edict, a jealous wife in China, 30-year-old Feng Lung, reported chopped her husband’s penis off with a pair of sharp scissors, not once, but twice, in order to teach him a lesson for his infidelity.
Having found out her husband was cheating on her, the woman sliced off his penis, which was reattached successfully by surgeons in Shangqiu in central China’s Henan province. When she saw her husband had sent a raunchy email to his mistress once again, she severed his member a second time.
Lung is now facing jail after being arrested for causing grievous bodily harm to her husband, 32-year-old, Fan Lung.
The Mirror reports that surgeons were able to reattach the penis, but when the jealous wife found the email on her phone, she reportedly sneaked into his hospital room and cut it off again before throwing it out of a window.
The second cut is the deepest.
Consider the president’s track record. He’s told us that Libya was a triumph, al Qaeda was dead, the war in Iraq was over, the war in Afghanistan was won, relations with Russia have been reset and China is our friend. Given those credentials, it’s fair to conclude that Mr. Obama has about as much to tell us about foreign affairs as the Syfy channel has to say about science.
So where can you find some truly educational television tonight? Here’s some alternative programming that can teach us some important lessons about how to keep America safe.
5. Marco Polo
The Netflix series tells the story of famed adventurer at the court of Kublai Khan. Bloodthirsty, ruthless, cunning barbarian at heart? Yes. Presidential material? No. On the other hand, the great Khan was a strategist who understood the wisdom of China’s greatest military philosopher,
If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer. … If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Compared to a White House that even seems to struggle at parsing friend and foe, this entertainment is refreshing fare.
This New Year’s Eve a South Carolina man returned to a party at his parent’s house and overheard a struggle inside the master bedroom. He kicked down the door to discover his girlfriend being raped by his uncle, William Mattson (52). The image above depicts the pounding the nephew unleashed on his uncle as a result. And when Mattson tried to tell police that the sex was consensual, the nephew attacked him again in front of police officers.
Mattson’s nephew wasn’t technically in danger – his girlfriend was – so would Mattson win a lawsuit if he took his nephew to court for attacking him without justification? There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the notion of “criminal rights.” Perhaps the most famous anecdote involves an intruder burglarizing your house, injuring himself in the process, and then suing you in court. Like most rumors, there is truth and fiction in many of these criminal-rights anecdotes.
Retaliation against a criminal almost always boils down to “self-defense.” According to the law, you are entitled to defend yourself and your property as long as you do not use excessive and/or unreasonable force. In Michigan, in November of 2007, Scott Zielinski sued the store he tried to rob after the owner and some employees chased him out onto the street, caught him, and proceeded to beat him half to death. He was seeking $125,000, but the case was dismissed when the judge required that Zielinski post a $10,000 bond first. He was unable to afford this, otherwise the case might have had credence. However, in England in 2008, a burglar, Daniel McCormick, was actually awarded the equivalent of $250,000 after an angry homeowner scared him off his property and then proceeded to run him down in his BMW and break both of his legs. The rule here is to be weary when self-defense turns into vengeance. Mattson’s nephew’s actions were considered self-defense because he was acting on behalf of the victim, essentially defending her safety.
But the ambiguity doesn’t end at self-defense – there’s still the notion of negligence. An incident in 1982 in California, Bodine vs Enterprise, is likely where this annoying concept of “criminal compensation” originated. Nineteen-year-old Ricky Bodine was on the roof of the Enterprise High School gymnasium, but according to legal documentation it’s unclear what his motive was. Some say he was stealing a flood light, while his friends say he was “redirecting” a light because they were playing basketball — but either way he was trespassing. Bodine took a misstep while on the roof and plunged through a skylight, thus falling to the gymnasium floor and turning himself into a paraplegic. His family tried to sue the school to compensate for the negligent conditions on the roof: the fragile skylight was actually painted black, making it virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the rooftop.
A similar incident occurred in 2011 when New York Senator James Alesi, while house-hunting, entered an unoccupied home that was under construction to get a self-guided tour of the inside. Alesi had to climb a ladder to exit the basement, fell off the ladder, and broke his leg. After filing a personal injury claim against the construction company, word of this case got out and Alesi became a laughingstock. Shortly thereafter a moment of clarity descended upon him and he decided to drop the lawsuit.
There is an apparent contradiction in our laws regarding property protection. In the eyes of the law, defense of yourself and defense of your property are considered the same thing (e.g. you are justified to use force to protect both). But the law also states that life has a greater value than property (e.g. execution is excessive in response to petty theft). Where this contradiction finds its resolution is in a troublesome aspect that few would consider: booby traps.
Booby traps can be dangerous legal territory to tread upon because the homeowner’s imminent safety and the concept of “excessive force” are both in question. A relatively famous case took place back in 1971 in Iowa when Edward Briney set up a trap in the bedroom of an unoccupied farmhouse on his property, which had been looted several times despite the “no trespassing” signs. Five days after the trap was set, Marvin Katko trespassed to “collect” some old bottles and jars that Briney considered antiques, and sprung the trap: a 20-gauge shotgun aimed leg high. The trap worked and Katko had to be hospitalized. He was eventually awarded $30,000 after the court ruled that a shotgun booby trap is excessive force on an unoccupied property.
In 1997, a more recent version of this occurred in Illinois when Larry Harris (37) broke into a tavern where a booby trap awaited him. While climbing through the window, Harris placed his hand on an electrified bar and was electrocuted to death. Harris’ family sued the tavern’s owner over a wrongful-death claim.
Before you dismantle that spring-loaded AK-47 above your porch, let’s establish some perspective on some of these lawsuits. The average wrongful death settlement in America is around $1 million, and Harris’ family received $75,000 (8% of the average). The average personal injury settlement for a paraplegic is around $13 million, and Bodine received $260,000 (5% of the average, scaled against inflation). Criminals appear to receive less than a tenth of the financial sympathy a jury would afford a law-abiding citizen. Another thing to keep in mind is that the financial victories listed in this article represent some of the best examples we have of excessive force and negligence when addressing criminal rights. Most of the lawsuits you hear about involving robbers who sue homeowners because they got shot are laughed out of court.
If our laws do protect criminals, to some degree, are stricter laws the answer if we want to reduce crime in America?
Some countries with very low crimes rates, like Japan and Singapore, boast firm law enforcement procedures. While some countries with higher crime rates, like Cuba and North Korea, also have strict law enforcement practices. And some of the most lenient nations on crime, like Sweden and Canada, actually have some of the lowest crime rates. The statistics may not yield a definitive answer, but in the meantime I hope the reduced compensation (5 -8% of the average settlement) has the attorneys thinking twice before they choose to represent a criminal in civil court.
In 2014, the year before the murder rampages at the Charlie Hebdo offices and the kosher supermarket in Paris, about seven thousand French Jews (out of a community of about half a million) emigrated to Israel.
With Muslim and other antisemitic harassment and violence constantly intensifying in France, that was twice the number of the previous year, and a record high.
Even before this month’s terror attacks, a higher number of French Jewish immigrants to Israel was expected for 2015. Now, after the attacks, a higher number yet is expected, possibly fifteen thousand. There is even talk of the Jews leaving France—mainly for Israel—altogether.
Meanwhile it’s reported that:
An unprecedented 15,000 soldiers and police officers have been mobilized in France to protect potential sites from terrorist attacks, of whom one third have been stationed at Jewish schools and synagogues for 24-hour-a-day supervision.
Five thousand police officers will guard 717 Jewish institutions, in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks that killed 17 people, including four Jews at a Paris kosher supermarket.
And in a speech after the attacks, French prime minister Manuel Valls said:
How is it possible to accept that France…how can it be accepted that we hear on our streets “Death to the Jews”?… How can one accept that French people be murdered simply because they are Jewish?
…We must say to the world: without the Jews of France, France would no longer be France. And that message is one that we all have to deliver strongly and loudly. We did not say it in the past. We did not show our indignation in the past.
On the one hand, one can ask whether sending one’s children to a school that has to be guarded round-the-clock by seven or eight soldiers and police officers is much of a way to live. On the other hand, one could ask, in light of the protective measures and Valls’s words: should France be given another chance, before Jews give up on it?
Medical history is instructive, if for no other reason than that it might help to moderate somewhat the medical profession’s natural inclination to arrogance, hubris and self-importance. But the medical curriculum is now too crowded to teach it to medical students and practicing doctors are too busy with their work and keeping up-to-date to devote any time to it. It is only when they retire that doctors take an interest in it, as a kind of golf of the mind, and by then it is too late: any harm caused by their former hubris has already been done.
Until I read an article in a recent edition of the Lancet, I knew of only one eminent doctor who had been shot by his patient or a patient’s relative: the Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz, who was paralyzed by a bullet in the back. It was he who first developed the frontal lobotomy, though he was also a pioneer of cerebral arteriography. As he was active politically during Salazar’s dictatorship, I am not sure whether his patient shot him for medical or political reasons, or for some combination of the two.
“You can’t spank me, that’s abuse!” was the response of a Florida man’s 12-year-old daughter shortly after he grabbed the paddle (I’m taking some creative license with her quote, but I don’t think I’m far off). So this dad did what was, apparently, a relatively common thing in Florida: he called the police to come supervise the paddling, which ultimately passed their inspection. The incident that occurred on December, 29, 2014, has received an unusual amount of media attention. Perhaps it’s the unwelcome notion of government intervention in parental affairs, or the outrage that so many kids think consequences don’t apply to them. When it comes to spanking, it’s probably time to establish what constitutes a child thinking twice in their bedroom versus a parent thinking twice behind bars.
The legal wording on what is allowed in our country regarding domestic corporal punishment is done on a state-by-state basis, and the descriptions can be as verbose as several paragraphs to as vague as one sentence. Thirty states contain the phrase “reasonable and appropriate” in their laws when referring to the severity of the discipline. Twelve states prohibit “physical harm,” four prohibit “reckless injury,” three prohibit “excessive or serious injury,” and just one state, Delaware, outlaws all forms of corporal punishment (this legislation was passed in 2012). Whether it’s a red state or a blue state, the legislation is basically the same (with the exception of Delaware). The only concrete definitions address whether or not corporal punishment is allowed in schools, for which our country is split roughly 50-50.
Je Suis Charlie. Actually I’m not Charlie. I’m Sarah. But for the purposes of this disquisition, I wanted to indicate that I stand with Charlie Hebdo, the magazine in Paris where people were murdered for drawing cartoons of the prophet Mohammad.
In the wake of this dreadful event, we were treated to a spectacle of frothing at the mouth, whining and screaming – no, not in support, though heaven knows quite a few brave souls rallied to support – about the people who refuse to give in to the head-slicers.
People on Facebook, before the blood stains dried on the floor of the magazine headquarters, were whining about how the “right wing” would take “advantage” of this, and claiming that the magazine “really was very bad” and that they knew what they were risking and therefore had it coming.
Crazier fringes of social media, for instance, my colleagues, either claimed that it is still easier to be a cartoonist in France than a Muslim. (Question for the class: if it’s so difficult to be a Muslim in France, why do they immigrate there? Oh, wait, because it’s more difficult to be a Muslim – or alive – in the majority Muslim countries they came from.) Or that the “right wing” was demanding all Muslims apologize – this from a leading light who then apologized to Muslims for this – or that the right wing was filling Facebook with negativity. This last, the precious flower who claimed this, countered by posting pictures of baby animals.
A particular jewel of preciousness residing in California tweeted the following:
@SofiaSamatar when you live under white supremacy & Islamophobic paranoia, the line between supporting free speech & bolstering hatred is so thin.
I’m not a hundred percent sure what they think white supremacy is, or what race they think the Muslims in France are. However, let me clarify that for them: France is while a bit more xenophobic than the States not in any sense white-supremacist. And the Muslims in France are mostly of Mediterranean origin, that is about the same color I am. Or, you know, the same as Portuguese, Greeks, and Italians who also immigrated to France. I don’t see any of those being driven mad by “white supremacy” and killing cartoonists.
And if this precious flower thinks that the US is a white supremacy regime after electing a black president twice, she might need therapy. Whatever she’s seeing is not reality.
Then there are the people who say that Charlie Hebdo had it coming because they were “nasty” and “disrespectful” to everyone, not just Muslims, that they were a polluting element in society, which “upset” people.
I have for years now decried the nonsense of trigger warnings and people who confused PTSD with “being mildly inconvenienced.” I’m not doubting the existence of PTSD, mind, I’m saying that when you get to trigger warning for “holes” or “spiders” for people READING a text, you’ve gone well beyond sanity.
I suspect half the people who say Charlie Hebdo courted their fate are people who believe they have a right to be protected from unpleasantness.
To them I say: Grow up. (Actually I say something more forthright, Anglo-Saxon and four letter, but PJMedia would cut it out.)
Oh, sure, you’re free to say whatever you want – see, our side recognizes that – but I’m also free to tell you to make the sign of the double emu with an umbrella up in that part of your anatomy where the sun don’t shine.
You don’t have a right to never be offended. You don’t have a right to never be questioned. You certainly don’t have a right to never be made uncomfortable.
This is not only because giving you that right would cause other people to be uncomfortable. No. This is because giving you that right is actively detrimental to civilization.
First of all, people can find offense and things to upset them in just about everything, regardless of content. I recently talked to a young lady whose parents forbid music with a rhythm – even classical music – because they deem that sexual. I know people who consider fiction – all fiction – offensive, because it creates something that doesn’t exist. I know people – and for those who’ve read me and know the most sex in my books is a kiss this will be great fun – who think my books are pornographic. I’ve simultaneously been accused of proselytizing Christianity and of being anti-Christian for the exact same book.
People can find offense wherever. Give the pointing finger the right to decide what anyone can do and no one will do anything. Some people will object to chipping flint, as it violates the rocks of Mother Earth.
Second of all, civilization needs reality checks. Most people like the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo are gadflies. They will attack everyone equally and most of their attacks will be somewhere between fart jokes and armpit noises.
But sometimes the gadflies are needed to point out what’s wrong with things that have gotten entrenched in society to the point no one analyses them anymore. Take Marxism. (Please! I’ll give you a free barf bag as an additional prize!) Most people aren’t aware of the extent to which it has penetrated their thoughts, and it takes a joke juxtaposing, say, equality of results and the town drunk for them to see what is wrong with it.
And sometimes the gadflies expose the amount to which the “reasonable people” are cowards who have allowed themselves to be cowed. Their silly bravery in the face of physical attacks and eventually death stands in contrast to the fear at CNN which immediately banned all non-respectful references to “the prophet” as though there were only one.
They definitely expose the hypocrisy of those who constantly chide others for “victim blaming” but who would blame these most hapless victims who were killed over some lines drawn on paper?
Je suis Charlie, even though this is Sarah – but Charlie is 100% with me on this – we will not shut up, we will not be cowed, we will not kowtow to desert hillbillies who critique art with machine guns.
We will write and say what we want to, and we will defend the right of free speech of everyone else. Even of Ms. “White Supremacy Believer” above, and of CNN.
Even as we think they should do the sign of the double emu with an umbrella up in the part of their anatomy where the sun don’t shine. And THEN open the umbrella.
Je suis Charlie, C’est vrai — mon prénom est Charlie. But for the purposes of this article, my point, as with Sarah’s, is to indicate my support for free expression against the people who want to tell me what to think or what to say.
All of them.
You learn some amazing things on the internet. The War of 1812 was just a dispute over labor and hiring practices. Pico de Gallo was not a conquistadore. Hugo Chavez is not a line of clothing. There was no medieval siege engine called the Battering Lamb. Americans apparently like debt–they keep voting for more of it.
Join SF writer and satirist Michael Z. Williamson for a collection of snark, comments, random typings and alcohol-fueled puns that is worth at least half the cover price.
This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series.
Major Ashlyn Shaw has survived false accusations and a brutal military prison. Now free, she finds her homeworld once again at war with an enemy that will stop at nothing to destroy everything she holds dear. Duty has Ashlyn once again answering the call to serve. She has seen what the enemy is capable of and will do everything she can to prevent it from happening to the home she loves and the people she took an oath to protect.
But something has changed. It goes beyond the fact that the enemy has changed tactics they never wavered from during the previous war. It even goes beyond the fact that there is still a nagging doubt in the back of Ashlyn’s mind that those who betrayed her once before might do so again. No, there is more to the resumption of hostilities, something that seems to point at a new player in the game. But who and what are they playing at?
Will Ashlyn be able to unmask the real enemy before it is too late?
One-Eyed Dragon is a story of medieval Japan, a man retired from war, and the quiet village he set up shop in. When a strange woman comes to him for a tattoo, he reluctantly takes her money, and tries to unravel her mystery. Meanwhile, savage men threaten his newfound peace. Can there be friendship in exile, for a man who is so scarred and cast out?
A lost birthright and unending agony.
On a whim, the rainbow’s child falls to earth, where a cruel adversary takes advantage of her innocence. Can she reclaim her thunder-swept heavens? Must she dwindle and die? This transcendent short story of J.M. Ney-Grimm’s troll-ridden North-lands explores how inner freedom creates outer opportunities.
Earth trumps heaven until ancient music plays.
Gefnen – troll-herald and hound for Koschey the Deathless – hunts life across the moors of the far north.
Not deer, not pheasant, not meat for the table. His master eats choicer fruits. When the piercing scent of youth tingles his senses, Gefnen focuses his chase. The prey – a boy – lacks guardians strong enough to best a troll. Swift triumph awaits.
But other seekers tilt the chances of this game. Spirit of storm, poignant memories of a sea-prince, and something more ancient than memory or the wind shape the looming tumult.
Gefnen hunts victory, but a darker victory hunts him.
My favorite book is A Life God Rewards, by Bruce Wilkinson. In it the author highlights the fact that it isn’t about the money you make or the position you attain, but rather about the people you touch. It is all about service to others. There are many ways individuals can serve others. I served in the US Army for 35 years. Clergy, fire fighters, government officials are all other examples of careers of service, as is law enforcement.
Across our Nation there are over 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers, 12% of which are female. These are American heroes who have sworn to dedicate their lives to serve and protect others. We must appreciate them and never take them for granted.
Our police forces across the Nation put their lives on the line, everyday, to keep us safe. Without them, we would have a lawless society. We would be afraid for our lives, our Families, and our possessions everyday. Even with a dedicated police force, there is still an average of 1.2 million violent crimes per year. Can you imagine what it would be like without dedicated law enforcement personnel?