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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time for liberals to stop politicizing politically-motivated killings

So I’m reading Brian Beutler over at TPMDC, who says

Back in early April, the Department of Homeland Security released a report warning that the ranks of right wing extremist groups might swell. There was nothing especially controversial about the memo, which was put together under the supervision of a Bush appointee. It was the sort of threat assessment certain government agencies are supposed to provide; and DHS had prepared a similar memo about the threat of left wing extremists just three months beforehand.

But that didn’t stop conservatives and Republicans from turning on the outrage. The story drove cable news coverage for days, and inspired elected officials like Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) to stand before Congress and denounce the report.

“The Homeland Security Secretary [Janet Napolitano],” said Bachmann, “has redefined pro-life gun owning veterans who like smaller government and who believe America should secure our border against invasion from illegal aliens are labeled the domestic right wing extremists.”

Napolitano was ultimately compelled to apologize for the memo. But she probably shouldn’t have since subsequent events have vindicated the original warnings.

Let’s take stock of what’s happened in the months since President Obama was elected just over six months ago, and in the weeks since the DHS story broke. In November, the New York Times reported that “gun owning” Americans—responding to rumors that the incoming administration would confiscate their weapons—had embarked on a shopping binge and were hoarding guns and ammunition. By the time Obama was inaugurated, the climate of fear on the far right had grown hotter. In February, MSN’s moneyblog noted that the surge in sales had led, unsurprisingly, to a surge in gun stock prices.

Then on Sunday May 31 of this year, George Tiller--a Witchita doctor who provided late term abortions--was murdered while attending church services, allegedly by a right wing anti-abortion zealot named Scott Roeder.

And today, a white supremacist, Obama birth certificate conspiracy theorist--and World War II veteran--named James W. von Brunn entered the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with a shotgun and opened fire, killing one guard. . . .

All of this seems to indicate that the DHS report was actually prescient; its critics refuted. Indeed, one of the chief sources of that criticism was Fox News--which led the charge against Napolitano in the media

All quite true, and all the more reason for every card-carrying wingnut to issue a prompt and sincere apology to Janet Napolitano.  But isn’t there something missing here?

Ah, yes.  A shooting in Pittsburgh that had nothing to do with hockey.

Now, I do acknowledge that the above link takes you to an essay by Dave Neiwert, who happens to be a hysterical left-wing blogger of some kind.  If you want more sober and reliable coverage of the Pittsburgh murders, I can direct you to this evenhanded piece by Tommy Christopher, who calmly urged “the liberal blogosphere” to “stop exploiting the Pittsburgh shooting tragedy.” (Likewise, after George Tiller was murdered, Mr. Christopher decried those who would “scapegoat” Bill O’Reilly and Anne Coulter.  “This is an argument of opportunity, and it reeks,” said Mr. Christopher, professional-strength clothespin to nose.)

Well, Mr. Christopher, we did stop exploiting the Pittsburgh shooting tragedy!  Indeed, Richard Poplawski has already been forgotten.  And I should add that even if we did remember the shooting incident involving a far-right lunatic in Pittsburgh, it would have no connection whatsoever with more recent shooting incidents involving far-right lunatics elsewhere.  Besides, some liberal bloggers use the f-word, so we should be concerned about civility across the political spectrum.

Posted by Michael on 06/11 at 08:44 AM
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