Lies of Omission

I’m fairly sure that anyone here is sufficiently ”plugged in” to current politics enough to have heard about House member Gabby Gifford’s recent plea for further gun restrictions. I’m not sure what your local media is like, but there’s a fair chance that there was even a mention of Sarah Palin or at least some sort of “incitement” behind that shooter’s attack. Given the body count, it’s not too surprising.

Also recently mentioned, though only in passing, is that the guy who shot up the Family Research Council in DC was finally in court.  Honestly, my main memory of that was being on a family trip and wondering why the heck somebody targeting based on “anti-gay bias” would have bags of Chick-fil-A. I can remember a few commentators suggesting that it was some sort of cartoonish attempt at “blending in”– an indication of just how crazy his view of those who disagree is or was. “Hey, Chick-fil-a is ‘anti-gay’ the same way that the FRC is– they don’t support redefining marriage to fit current pop culture appeals. The Family Research Council even denies a man and woman are functionally identical to two guys or two gals, of all the nerve! They’ll never notice me coming in and killing people if I have suitable fast food bags!”   Not someone to take too seriously, even if he did have a gun.

I vaguely remember reading a blog about him choosing the target from the Southern Poverty Law Center, but I think that was from a site that collects examples of the SPLC faking and inflating “hate” for fundraising purposes. As I said, it didn’t stick in my mind, and I already don’t trust the SPLC. I assumed that they’d mentioned the FRC as being against homosexual marriage and the guy had gone from there.

Mostly, the “Giffords shooting” (the six dead victims get less press, since it seems likely she was the focus– if only because her public meeting gave that scum a crowd) sticks in one’s mind so much more because of the horrible range of people killed; from the little girl that was a 9/11 baby and the retired grandparent-types to the federal Judge and the first staffer to die in the line of duty, there was someone incredibly relatable to for everyone. Nobody died in the FRC attack, and Leonardo Johnson was able to overcome the shooter even after being shot in the arm.  No fuss about heroism there, so it must have not been that bad of a shot, or it would’ve hit the news, right? (An aside: You might notice that I don’t name the murderers or attempted murderers. I don’t want to give them that level of recognition. The victims or heroes, though, are a different matter, and it took quite a bit of digging to find Mr. Johnson’s name wasn’t “A. Security Guard.”)

After today, I’m rather disabused of the notion that the Giffords attack was anything but more successful and more hyped: the attempted murderer bought the Chick-fil-A sandwiches to rub in the faces of his dying victims.

Insult to injury.  Fatal injury.  Not as cartoonish, now.

If not for Mollie Hemmingway’s post over at Ricochet, I wouldn’t have even thought about media bias. I’m Catholic– if that doesn’t make you realize how much the media screws up, what on earth will?  It would be easier to find stories about the Church where reporters got it right than where they didn’t.

I’m guessing folks remember the “Blame Sarah Palin Because Her Website Had A Map With Gifford’s Area In A Target” to-do? If not, Mollie goes over it, with links. Although I want you to go read it, the short version is: even though Mrs. Palin didn’t say anything vaguely like “go shoot this bad woman,” and there was no evidence that the Gifford’s shooter had even seen the map or Palin’s facebook page, it was worrying because it might affect an effect on “troubled” people.

Turns out that the FRC was “mentioned” on the SPLC site– it was on a “hate map.” That’s where the thank-God ineffective attempted murderer got his target. From a hate map.  They’re hateful, you see– so it’s good to target them.

Target a house seat: dangerous.

Make a “hate map” of those who oppose you politically on an issue: not worth mentioning. In fact, noticing that the attacker specifically stated he chose the target because of that “hate map” means that you are picking a fight.

As Mollie writes in response to a quote about that little detail “reigniting the culture wars that erupted around the shooting:”

Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean? I mean, you have an actual shooting in the culture war — an actual shooting — and you dismiss this aspect of the story as a “detail” that is “sure to reignite the culture wars”? The gall. The chutzpah. The …. hypocrisy of our media. The story doesn’t mention, by the way, that the shooter had a list with other groups whose names he got from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Cherry on top: a guy goes in to kill people he hates, and has a list of other targets that he hates, and intends to assault the dying further with a symbol of yet another group he hates… and the SPLC doesn’t include that as a “hate incident.”

EDIT: UPDATE:

Mollie also posted it over at her Get Religion! blog.

32 Responses to Lies of Omission

  • If the loon attempting to shoot up the FRC had been a conservative attempting to attack a Leftist institution, media coverage about every aspect of his case would have been non-stop from the initial arrest to today. It would have been a major issue in the campaign with the Democrats and their media cohorts arguing that this demonstrated how Republicans had created an atmosphere of hate that led to the shooting. We no longer have a merely biased media in this country; we have a media that operates almost entirely, and unashamedly, as the propaganda arm of the Left wing of the Democrat party.

  • Pinky says:

    It looks like there’s another shooter story breaking, in LA. A former police officer and (the blogs are saying) a liberal. For the time being, this is something we should be praying about. But it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how the narratlve is delivered.

  • Foxfier says:

    One of our local radio guys moved down there, so he called up and did an interview to plug KFI. All information to follow is from that interview.

    Shoot was in the military–supposedly got some shooting experience that way– and was a police officer, until he was fired for misconduct. He’s murdered the daughter of the guy who represented him at the hearing, her fiance (who may or may not have been another cop) and a second man that was at the same place.
    He’s posted at 20 page “manifesto” on facebook that, to my ears, sounds like he was pushing every button possible to get attention– promotes gun control, W, Tebow, and brain injury.
    As of about 11:30 they’d had a description of his pickup all over everywhere and hadn’t had so much as a report since the night before, even with two different license plates.
    He supposedly has a wide range of guns, including a .50 cal rifle.

    End what I’d heard so far.

    I half-heard at the last newsbreak that he may have tried to steal someone’s boat last night around “a San Diego military base”– which worries me, because we’ve got friends and family that are down in that area, and the bases with the most POBoats nearby would be right next to most of them.

  • Tom Cieszinski says:

    Did the guy, DORNER, did he call up KFI?? This is some odd story:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/07/christopher-jordan-dorner-facebook-pages_n_2639934.html?utm_hp_ref=technology#slide=2076164
    http://news.yahoo.com/scariest-parts-chris-dorner-manifesto-warned-lapd-killings-175227852.html
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57568288-504083/christopher-dorner-update-ex-los-angeles-cops-manifesto-hints-at-racism-as-motive-for-killings/
    You can see from the excerpts, he wrote some of that manifesto and predicted he’d make these killings and those that know me won’t be able to believe it he says.
    http://www.tmz.com/2013/02/07/lapd-cop-killer-christopher-dorner-tim-tebow-charlie-sheen-larry-david/ Stuff he wrote to Tim Tebow, the KFI guys and others.
    It’s intriguing but it’s also a bit like rubbernecking at an auto crash.

  • Tom Cieszinski says:

    ***REMOVED AS PER AUTHOR’S PERMISSION, AS TOO FAR OFF TOPIC***

    Foxfier-as-editor: No hard feelings, just too many directions; I’m horrible about staying on topic as it is.

  • Foxfier says:

    Since today/lastnight’s shooter mentioned two different KFI hosts and (if my guess about the selection of the topics is accurate) has the kind of personality that a host might want to stir things up, I’d say there’s a good chance he’s called in several times.

    I wonder if him being black, being former military (maybe a reservist, since he still had mil stickers on his pickup?) or being a former cop will have a bigger effect on how the story’s spun. Just waiting for this to be use to justify gun control, since he’d previously been in both of the groups that would not be disarmed.

    Not exactly rubber-necking, since it really is a scary situation and thinking about what would I do? is pretty dang important.

    Bet you that Mr. Johnson spent a lot of time thinking about what he’d do if, say, some hothead came in, picked a fight and shot him.

  • Jon says:

    We have to wonder whether we are capable of handling guns anymore these days. We’re not the same people we were sixty years ago or so. We’re becoming increasingly incapable of our institutions and democratic traditions. This is the kind of people we are now, not quite the citizenry the founders had in mind, I’m afraid.

  • “We have to wonder whether we are capable of handling guns anymore these days.”

    And leave only criminals and the State armed? No thank you very much! The Founding Fathers did not idealize the American people of their time. Their writings and their speeches are filled with criticisms of the people and laments as to the lack of public virtue. Random senseless murders were far from unknown in their day. Many of the Founding Fathers thought that the experiment in self rule they had started would not long survive their death. Our freedom is absolutely as precious now as it was when the Founding Fathers crafted the Constitution.

  • Tom Cieszinski says:

    Yes, there are outrageous crimes but how many gun owners never cause trouble? It’s a bit like how many drink beer and never cause trouble, you have your cases of drunk driving and accidents. I’m sure throughout the heartland, you have farmers, etc. no problems ever happen. I’ve heard there may be as many as 80 million gun owners in the US, legal owners. So do they pay for the crimes of Jared Laughner, James Holmes and these others?

  • Jon says:

    I’m so glad you said that. I often idealize our country’s past. Yet I can’t help but feel we’re worse off now than then. I could be mistaken, but we seem so much more dysfunctional, perhaps because we have less space or because we blame the environment more. Any thoughts?

  • Tom Cieszinski says:

    @Jon: Just in my view, I would look more towards a decline in moral values, really does seem like with the pill, abortion where life is not valued, sexual revolution, the country has entered a decline.

  • Jon says:

    Yes, the new morality of the 60′s has not helped. I do feel we’re worse off now and perhaps it’s due to that. I also wonder whether a lack of space leads to less civility.

  • Foxfier says:

    Since, as I mentioned, today’s guy was in not one but two of the groups that would stay armed with disarmed citizens– I’m very much against taking guns from everyone else!

    Over at National Review Online, somebody pointed out that the one study of gun-crimes-per-person comparing police to concealed carry folks found that the rates were about the same. (cops were a little higher, but that may be a bigger chance of being caught/accused)

    Guns are just a tool. They become more dangerous as fewer people have them, because they’re of greater relative power. The Portland mall shooting would have had a much higher bodycount if one guy hadn’t ignored the signs and brought his concealed carry weapon inside, making him able to threaten the murderer.

  • Tom Cieszinski says:

    You could be correct about the lack of space, inner city crime has probably declined and it amazes me that Colorado which is so beautiful and seemingly spacious has had a few of these incidences though the Aurora Theater shooting was done by someone who was not from there.

  • Foxfier says:

    I also wonder whether a lack of space leads to less civility.

    I’d guess it has more to do with the lack of consequences. The 60s promoted both gross violation of basic manners (“Alinsky tactics”) and prevention of punishment for transgressions. (ie, being punched in the nose if you walk up to a woman and proposition her)

    Then, starting in the 80s or so, actual assault by bullies in school was excused– and self-defense punished more harshly than the assault.
    (maybe 70s; I wasn’t around for it, but about ’89 they did try to expel my roughly-six-year-old self for kicking at the over-100-pounds-bigger bully that hauled me off the play equipment for a beating, while he faced…detention, for having “known problems.” Small, rural school, so it had to be pretty well established for it to filter down to us.)

    So now we have a generation where the psychopaths have learned there’s no real risk to their actions…and when they run up against any resistance, it probably feels like a betrayal of the basic order.

    Or, for today’s shooter-on-the-loose, maybe “racism”– very unjust, anyways. They’re reporting he got kicked out of the Navy Reserve officer corps, and I’m wondering what he did that got him kicked out of the police as well….

  • Jon says:

    Hmmn…interesting. Yes, I think people are more prone to aggression and neurotic behavior when less space is available. I wonder if many of these types of crimes involving weapons take place in more heavily populated places generally. For example, New Jersey and Connecticut, two states that are densly populated, rank the highest for neuroticism! New York’s pretty high too.

  • Jon says:

    Foxfier, I totally agree with everything you just said!! But here’s a question: Why was it that in the 80′s bullying was excused and self-defense severely dealt with? Why was that the trend? Where did it originate and what was the thinkin?

  • Foxfier says:

    Jon-
    probably a bunch of different trends, from “fruit of the 60s” (which were fruit of their own predecessors, etc) to those theories about how society is what makes you “act out,” to bias against good masculinity and a belief that all violence is bad, even if it’s in self defense.

    Honestly, if you really believe that “violence never solved anything,” then treating a bully (who does, indeed, have emotional problems by definition) more lightly than an otherwise good kid who offered violence in self defense makes sense.

    I can’t claim to understand the line of thought that would make someone really think that all violence is equal, though.

  • Art Deco says:

    probably a bunch of different trends, from “fruit of the 60s” (which were fruit of their own predecessors, etc) to those theories about how society is what makes you “act out,” to bias against good masculinity and a belief that all violence is bad, even if it’s in self defense.

    1. Self-defense requires independence of spirit, anathema to people who are inclined to make ‘clients’ of everyone.

    2. Self-defense incorporates the assumption that both parties understand the relationship between acts and consequences, and that the will of both parties (instructed by consequences) determines their acts. This is ‘much too simple a view’ and cuts into the act of people who inveigle and manipulate for a living (with professional certifications from faculties of ‘education’, ‘counseling’, social work, and clinical psychology.

    Assuming that mass-entertainment tends to reflect certain notions ambient in the society at large, I offer this:

    There was an episode of The Andy Griffith Show broadcast ca. 1962 which ended with Opie and Andy in an agreeable frame of mind. Opie has a piece of beef over half his face nursing a black eye and Andy is proud his son took the pain and gave a local bully a shiner rather than part with his lunch money. I recall seeing the rerun around a decade later and it was just completely alien to the line figures in authority were shooting you (in suburban Upstate New York ca. 1973). The dysfunctionally feminized, manipulative, and passive-aggressive ways of school administrators, school teachers, and bourgeois mothers of that era (aided and abetted by contemporary mass-entertainment products) simply ignored or wished away the actual social dynamics of the world boys inhabited (and, really, the world anyone inhabited).

  • Art Deco says:

    I will offer this hypothesis also:

    In that era, people in authority (school officials, bourgeois mothers, and, in a different way, clergymen) were on something on a suicide mission. They made themselves into superfluous people to the rest of the world by repairing to platitudes (the clergy) or continually offering ‘guidance’ which did not tally with the lived experience of their charges. The court system compounded the problem by favoring social work over punishment; elected officials had to strip judges of much of their discretion in order to contain that.

  • Pinky says:

    It needs to be noted how much the media have to do with all this. If the guy didn’t know for a fact that he’d get attention, he never would have done this. I remember saying this a few weeks ago – and I wasn’t alone. The attention we give to the last shooter inspires the next shooter.

    Of course, in this case, it’s a little different. The guy is an active threat. It make sense for people to be informed about him. But we’ve got to move toward shutting down the channels of publicity for the disturbed and violent.

    Now, for the completely, completely honest part. I’m sick of being tarred by everyone who disagrees with me politically. I’m sick of being called names. I want Anderson Cooper and the SPLC to have to deal with it for a while. I don’t know if that’s justice or pettiness or a “teaching moment”.

  • J. Christian says:

    Donald,

    It is disheartening to read the idiotic comments at Yahoo and elsewhere cheering on this monster. Whatever flaws the LAPD has, it doesn’t justify murdering innocent people. It makes me uncomfortable to share geography with some of these people. I don’t understand the thought process at all.

    And if you read his “manifesto,” it is manifest that this guy was Officer Looney McNutty. He’s full of contradictory statements and opinions, and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon without even listening to the other side of the story.

    Sometimes Americans sicken me.

  • Jon says:

    Art Deco, you are spot on. From the 50′s onward, representatives of society and culture seemed to feel that the environment was both the cause and solution to every problem and that evil didn’t exist. There was no devil to inspire people individually or collectively, and institutions through social engineering could never do wrong. A tremendous faith in human nature coupled with education prevailed. One can still find this unwarranted optimism in the United Church of Christ as well as among some politicians and many social workers. I think it must have seemed for a little while that progress would endure.

  • Foxfier says:

    @Mary-
    if you say so… I feel like I’m just throwing stuff out there, but I know my perceptions are off from lack of sleep.
    (I should be napping while the girls do, but I just can’t sleep during the day unless I’m sick.)

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