Posted on | August 6, 2012 | 34 Comments
“Both CNN and Fox News cut away when the U.S. Attorney took the stage and launched a lengthy speech which sounded like an Obama campaign speech. . . . Politics never is far behind a mass shooting, unfortunately.”
— William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection
Mainly, I’ve tried to keep my focus on aggregating facts about the Oak Creek shooting as quickly as possible:
- Aug. 5: ‘It’s Pretty Much a Hate Crime’ — Seven Reported Dead in Sikh Temple Shooting UPDATE: Act of ‘Domestic Terrorism’ UPDATE: Liberals Blame Bachmann UPDATE: Report Says Shooter ‘Had Just Broken Up With His Girlfriend’
- Aug. 5: Patch.com Reporter Jessica McBride Gets Scoop on Sikh Temple Shooting Suspect UPDATE: More Details Emerge
- Aug. 6: ‘Who’ Is First of 5 W’s; ‘Why’ Is Last UPDATE: Wade Michael Page … MORE: Reported Discharged From Army in 1998
- Aug. 6: PRESS CONFERENCE: ‘Heroic Actions’ of Police Saved Lives in Oak Creek Shooting UPDATE: Shooter Reportedly Played in Hate-Metal Rock Band ‘End Apathy’
There was a brief period last night, after I saw the Twitchy post about the insane reaction of lefties — “Michele Bachmann did it!” — where I indulged in some sarcasm at the expense of such fools. Even that, however, felt a little cheap and inappropriate, so I tried to dial down the snark. Permit me to point out what I did not do: I did not flinch.
When I first logged on to gather information about this crime, I saw a quote from one of the survivors at the Sikh Temple who called the shooting a “hate crime,” and I made that the title of my post. When the police chief said at the press conference that the shooting was being investigated as “domestic terrorism,” I added that to the title. When the shooter was identified as an Army veteran, I blogged that, and when he was ID’d as a neo-Nazi skinhead, I blogged that, too.
The timid defensiveness of some conservatives — who run away screaming the minute they hear the word “racism” spoken aloud — is the exact opposite of political wisdom. Having been so often and so unfairly accused of “hate,” they have internalized their liberal antagonists’ worldview to such a degree that they pre-emptively fear the smear:
“Oh, let’s denounce the crime, then move on and ignore it, because we might be targeted with a guilt-by-association smear attempting to connect us with this tattooed skinhead freak we never heard of until he killed six people.”
Not only is this reaction gutless — needlessly defensive — but it makes conservatives look like shameless political opportunists: If the guy who killed the Sikhs had been an Occupier or an Islamic jihadi, the right-wing blogosphere would have been raising hell. So when the shooter turns out to be somebody categorized as a right-winger, conservatives are not going to score any points for integrity and courage by whining that this is unfair and then trying to ignore it.
When the Left does this, we automatically notice it, don’t we?
Liberals were all up in arms in September 2009, screaming that the Tea Party had lynched a Census worker in Kentucky, until I drove to Kentucky and started reporting that this suspicion wasn’t justified by facts on the ground. When it eventually turned out that the Census worker had committed suicide and faked it to look like murder, the Left said nary a peep about their earlier misguided accusations about Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann.
Something similar occurred with the Tucson massacre in 2011: The Left jumped up and down pointing the finger at Sarah Palin. Then, when it developed that Jared Loughner was a left-wing dopehead obsessed with the 9/11 Truther conspiracy-theory “documentary” Zeitgeist, the liberal media suddenly lost interest in the political dimension of the shooter’s motive. “Just a random schizo,” the media sniffed, and pretended they never cared about Loughner’s politics.
So if conservatives slink away in silence after the Oak Creek massacre, we’ll look like a bunch of insincere punks. In truth, we have nothing to fear. I’m pretty sure there is nothing in the Republican Party platform that endorses the random shootings of people who wear turbans, so what the hell is all this scaredy-cat defensiveness about?
Anyway, having tried to restrain any urge toward political pontification in previous posts about this incident — waiting, at least, until we had some firm biographical details about the shooter — now I’m willing to relax a bit and see what folks have to say. I’ll update to aggregate commentary elsewhere.
UPDATE: Speaking of guilt-by-association, it has become unfortunately necessary to link to a disreputable publication quoting a disreputable source. The New York Times:
Officials at the Southern Poverty Law Center said they had been tracking Mr. Page for about a decade because of his ties to the white supremacist movement and described him as a “a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.”
They said he played guitar and sang vocals for a band started in 2005 called End Apathy.
“This guy was in the thick of the white supremacist music scene and, in fact, played with some of the best known racist bands in the country,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the center. “The music that comes from these bands is incredibly violent and it talks about murdering Jews, black people, gay people and a whole host of other enemies. It is music that could not be sold over the counter around the country.”
The SPLC, of course, has spent the past 15 years irresponsibly lumping together criminal freaks like this skinhead hate-metal dude with law-abiding conservative political activists. I’m pretty sure that the Sikh religion is as “anti-gay” as some of the family-values groups tarred with the SPLC’s “hate” label.
UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin:
I’ll leave the vulgar politicization of this evil massacre to others. The usual suspects are in full-blown Blame Righty Syndrome mode. They are as ghoulish and galling as the disgusting Westboro publicity hounds.
UPDATE III: In case you forgot, the blame-game drumbeat in September 2009 became so loud and incessant that Michelle Malkin finally confessed: “I killed the Kentucky Census worker — along with every conservative in America.”
UPDATE IV: Bill Quick at Daily Pundit: “At least he didn’t use an evil assault weapon.” Yeah, but you notice that the media makes sure to use the scary-sounding phrase “semi-automatic” every time they refer to his pistols, as if the victims would be slightly less dead if he would have used revolvers or a sawed-off shotgun.
This was one of my pet peeves about the media coverage of the 1999 Columbine massacre: Both Harris and Klebold carried 12-gauge shotguns, and Harris’s pump-action shotgun was the main cause of death in the school’s library. There was no public demand for a shotgun ban, however. Notably, the slaughter at Columbine High took place while the misnamed 1994 “assault weapons ban” was in effect, but this law did nothing to prevent Harris from getting a 9-mm Hi-Point carbine or Klebold from getting an Intratec 9-mm pistol.
Ordinary weapons firing ordinary ammunition — nothing exotic or illegal — and yet the victims were just as dead.
Maybe we should pass a federal law against evil.
UPDATE V: Mollie Hemingway at Ricochet notes that the major media were “somewhat cautious” in their reporting on this shooting, in contrast to the blatant irresponsibility of ABC News in blaming an innocent Tea Party activist for the Tucson massacre.
UPDATE VI: Linked by Bob Belvedere at The Camp of the Saints — thanks!
BTW, did you know that the shooter, Wade Page, was the product of what used to be called “a broken home”? And broken more than once, too. The Associated Press interviewed Page’s ex-stepmother — i.e., his father’s second wife, whom his father has subsequently divorced. That divorce has helped drive the downward mobility of working-class families over the past 40 years is one of the points made by Charles Murray’s most recent book.
However, it’s impossible to cite Murray’s research without being accused of racism — excuse me, RAAAAACISM! — and therefore the problems Murray addresses don’t get fixed.
When some broken and desperate soul commits a heinous crime like this, we aren’t supposed to mention how it relates to the Great Unraveling of our society, which continually gets worse because it is unacceptable to suggest that what is nowadays called “Progress” looks suspiciously like decadence.