Saturday, December 5, 2015

Friday National Review Fail: The real victim is Wayne LaPierre?

How to kill Wayne LaPierre if you really hate guns:  You don't. "Face the fury of my elaborate dancing!"
Well, so Charles C. W. (Cringe Worthy) Cooke is suddenly worried about the victims or potential victims of hate speech—that is, not the hate speech of the ISIS websites that now seem to have inspired Sayeed Farook and Tashfeen Malik in their massacre of his workmates, or the very murderous anti-abortion, anti-LGTB Army of God (guys named themselves after Hezbollah?), of whom the Colorado Springs terrorist Robert Dear was a big fan.

He's plainly not worried about this week's assault weapon killings and their victims at all (except to heap scorn on those who publicly doubt that "thoughts and prayers" are the way to make things better)—to him the real victim is National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre, because the New York Daily News is ordering its vast army of anti-gun vigilantes to murder him.

No, really: he draws this parallel between what he calls the "underlying argument" of those who blame hate speech for the Colorado Springs murders:
1) pro-lifers believe abortion to be murder; 2) there have been tens of millions of abortions since 1973; 3) pro-lifers therefore believe that America is hosting a genocide; 4) it is acceptable, if not imperative, to stop genocide; 5) by casting abortion as genocidal, pro-lifers are inspiring vigilantes who think they are doing the right thing
and an argument that might inspire those who wish to do in LaPierre, should there be any such:
that 1) there are too many massacres in America; 2) that this is the product of the proliferation of guns; 3) that Wayne LaPierre opposes doing anything that would reduce that proliferation; 4) that Wayne LaPierre is therefore a terrorist; 5) we fight terrorism; 6) by casting Wayne LaPierre as a terrorist, anti-gun types are inspiring vigilantes who think they are doing the right thing
"Look at this argument I just made up, which would be exactly as dangerous as the real one I modeled it on, if anybody were to use it, and therefore it's all their fault!"

Afraid not. Because to begin with the arguments aren't quite parallel, the second one having an extra premise with no logical source, "therefore LaPierre is a terrorist." While the Daily News did call him a terrorist, they didn't base it on what he "opposes", verbally, but what he actively prevents, as master of the Republican and Blue Dog caucuses, and I don't think they should have said it, not so much because it's hate speech as because it blurs the meaning of "terrorist" out of usefulness.

You might call LaPierre a terrorist because of the way he uses fear to get support for his aims, making people feel they must own assault weapons because they are in constant danger, and making legislators feel he can get them kicked out of office at any minute, but his M.O. is really not at all like that of the garden-variety bomb thrower or assassin.

The Daily News wasn't in fact following any particular logic. It would be better to call him stupid, vicious, and a typical conservative grifter, and this would clarify that he doesn't need to be assassinated but ostracized and possibly jailed (running a tax-free 501(C)3 organization that operates naked profit-making schemes).

And then who are the vigilantes in the concluding line? Who is conspiring to kill old Wayne? Who's the bad guy without a gun, and how exactly is this comically peace-loving character going to fulfill his deadly aims? Blowing cigarette smoke in his face? (Slow, but bound to work sooner or later.) Feeding him undercooked pork chops? Who corresponds to the killers in argument I?

Because the anti-abortion movement isn't just speech but a well-known history of real violence in the United States and Canada:
violence directed towards abortion providers has killed at least eleven people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, a police officer, two people (unclear of their connection), and a clinic escort;[I 1][I 2].... [and] 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, 13 wounded,[11] 100 butyric acid attacks, 373 physical invasions, 41 bombings, 655 anthrax threats,[12] and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers.[I 12] Between 1997 and 1990 77 death threats were made with 250 made between 1991 to 1999 .[11] Attempted murders in the U.S. included:[I 1][I 13][I 14] IN 1985 45% of clinics reported bomb threats, decreasing to 15% in 2000. One fifth of clinics in 2000 experienced some form of extreme activity. [13]
And how many gun rights activists have been hurt? How many NRA branch offices bombed? Any? Ever?

Cookie argues that we should all chill with the meta–hate speech of accusing one another of speaking with hate, because Both Sides might well find themselves accused of Doing It:
Whether it is cops being killed after Black Lives Matter protests, Gabby Giffords being shot after her website featured a map, or the Family Research Council’s being attacked because the SPLC was rude about it, circumspection is always the best course for a free people to take. We must not punish the innocent for vigorously engaging in politics.
There's a very remarkable little error in there, isn't there? It wasn't Rep. Giffords whose website featured a map, as readers will remember, but Governor Palin, with a gunsight symbol identifying Giffords as a target:

Well, not a shooting target,  Palin's fans would remind us; she was raising money to defeat disagreeable, non–freedom-loving congressional candidates, although it's not clear she was entirely serious as far as that goes, either, as the PAC spent just
  • $17,500 on congressional races that year (2010), and
  • $51,500 on political contributions altogether, as opposed to 
  • $275,850 on administrative travel and lodging, 
  • $331,500 on media consulting, 
  • $398,500 on campaign strategy and consulting, and 
  • $926,449 on fundraising mailings and calls, 
suggesting that the central function of the PAC was to pay the governor's hotel bills, and the congressional contributions more analogous to tips for bellhops, housekeepers, bartenders, and other ancillary personnel.

It just looked like a shooting target, with the crosshairs and all. Nothing like a suggestion that somebody should actually be harmed. Sarah would never do anything like that. Except then somebody did shoot Gabrielle Giffords, along with 18 other people, six of whom died, and while there's no realistic argument that the killer ever saw Palin's map, the subsequent event shows how ugly the map was, and how people doing things like that are playing with fire.

Not that any violence should ever be used against Palin either, it shouldn't, or even that she should be censored (like to see her, too, jailed for conservative grift, of course), but she is a bad person, and I'll say that everywhere.

Via popdust.
The attempt to hang the murders of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on the nonviolent #BlackLivesMatter is as false and nasty as it's ever been, of course, as Cookie knows (that's why he carefully doesn't do it, but merely alludes to it—the killings took place "after" protests, not saying there's any relationship there, just happen to mention them both in the same phrase).

Equally shameless is the attempt to blame the Southern Poverty Law Center for the hapless Floyd Lee Corkins, who claimed he had found the address of the hate group Family Research Council on the SPLC website, which is provably not the case; Corkins was clearly sort of aware of SPLC, but attacked the FRC in August 2012 not because of something "rude" that SPLC said about it, but because of its support for the then anti-LGBT Chick-Fil-A restaurants, which the SPLC had never mentioned in connection with FRC at the time (they mentioned the restaurants in connection with Brian Fischer's American Family Association which Corkins did not attack).

I'm pretty sure he had no intention of killing anybody anyhow (even though he did plead guilty to "intent to kill", and did shoot an unarmed security guard in the arm, which was very wrong of him, and I'm not too sorry he got a good long jail sentence—25 years), because he was also carrying 15 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, which he apparently planned to smush in the faces of big guys in the office (which was also very wrong of him), had not the wounded security guard easily overpowered him, but the main point is you can't make any serious connection between this and SPLC at all.

But the attack-by-getting-the-story-backwards on Giffords is beyond bizarre, and pretty contemptible.

And that's the way the Cookie crumbles, this time around.

Update: Helmut argues that the real victim could be Rod Dreher, because people made fun of him for the idea that the first response is to pray.

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