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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Just so we don't delude ourselves...

Yesterday I remarked upon the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller. More specifically, I briefly discussed how Conservapedia, among others, reacted to his death. I admit that I am likely more sensitive to outrages performed by my political foes than to the same outrages performed by my political allies,* so when I heard about yet another unfortunate incident on the radio this morning, I felt compelled to also remark upon it. Yesterday a man was arrested in Arkansas for shooting and killing two members of the U.S. Army in a recruiting station. While the motive for his crime has not been referred to specifically as yet, early reports are hinting at it fairly strongly:

Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad -- a 24-year-old Little Rock resident formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe -- faces a first-degree murder charge and 15 counts of engaging in a terrorist act, Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas said. The terrorist counts stem from the shots fired at an occupied building.

While authorities continued to investigate a motive, Thomas said Muhammad is a Muslim convert and, based on preliminary interviews with him, investigators believe there were "political and religious motives" in the shooting.

Military officials initially believed the shooting was a random act, but Thomas said police believe the shooter acted alone "with the specific purpose of targeting military personnel."

I will freely admit that I opposed the war in Iraq and, further, that I have not looked favorably upon the previous administration's casual use of force. That said, I have never, do not now, and will never advocate attacks upon U.S. soldiers as a valid way to show opposition. And that doesn't just mean that I don't think that they should be randomly shot in recruiting stations. That also means that, whether I or anyone else personally agrees with the war, serving members of the military deserve at least the respect and decency that we would accord to any other citizen. Regardless of his motives, I find Mr. Muhammad's actions to be reprehensible. In some abstract way he and I may agree that the war should not have happened, but that's about the extent of our agreement.

And how has Conservapedia reacted to these events? Eh. About how you'd expect:

Or, in plain human speech:

An attack at a U.S. Army/Navy recruiting center leaves one soldier dead and another wounded. Both victims were volunteers at the center. Liberals show little concern about this murder, even though the murderer "likely had 'political and religious motives.'"

No doubt I could wax self-righteous that Conservapedia didn't seem terribly concerned with the "political and religious motives" of Dr. Tiller's murderer yesterday. Instead, however, I think we should all just take this opportunity to recall that there are extremists on both sides, and the good intentions of a majority should not be tarred by the extremism of a comparative few.**

* Truth be known, however, I find rather a lot of left wing causes to be distasteful as well so, hey, I just don't like anybody.

** I don't want to weigh in on the ongoing debate about whether or not right wing organizations are partly culpable for Tiller's murder. I won't say that they don't bear some responsibility- perhaps even a lot- but I think we need to recognize that if we expect the other side to use decent political rhetoric, it is incumbent upon us to do so as well. Or, even more bluntly, being convinced you're right isn't sufficient reason to use any means necessary to achieve your objectives since, realistically, everyone else thinks they're right. Somebody has to be wrong and it may be you- so be a little humble, eh?

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Blogger Jay Livingston said...

Was there an organization -- for example -- that in the manner of Operation Rescue continually called US soldiers "mass murderers" who should be "brought to justice"? Was there a TV commentator the equivalent of O'Reilly who used similar language? Not that I know of. If there were, Conservapedia would surely mention it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 2:39:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

If there were, Conservapedia would surely mention it.It's funny you should make that observation- Conservapedia "mentions" such events on a nearly daily basis. Granted, only someone who was barking mad would agree with their interpretation, but that's hardly the point.

Look, if you push me, I will readily agree that the rhetoric coming out of a number of right wing sources is irresponsibly hate filled and prone to the instigation of violence. My regular posts here likely add weight to that assertion. That said, don't we all remember the ads referring to General Petraeus as "General Betray Us"?

I think they're way bigger assholes than we are, but we aren't entirely free of a certain cloying odor.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 4:02:00 PM  

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