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Posts Tagged ‘Fred Phelps’

The shooting that happened in Arizona last weekend was appalling. Anyone who would wantonly spray a crowd of people with bullets is not worth much consideration as a human. Jared Loughner’s actions are indefensible. He could have perhaps staked a very weak claim to the morality of using force against agents of the state that imposes force against us all every day. It would have been a weak and tenuous claim, a claim that I have rejected from others whenever they have advocated it in my presence. Instead, what he did was turn his gun on a crowd of innocent people. He was just a murderer. I feel deeply sorry for the families of the dead and I hope just as much for the recovery of the injured. For Loughner, I hope he is locked away forever. Executing him would just drag society down to his level.

I was in Canada when the shooting happened, so I was able to avoid the sketchy early reporting. I did get back just in time to catch a lot of leftists (H/T: Andrew) making anĀ  unseemly spectacle out of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party’s supposed culpability in Loughner’s crime. It made me sad to see a respectable blogger like Andrew Sullivan, one of my all-time favorites, jump so quickly to this conclusion. The reality of the matter is that Loughner is an incoherent fool. He is mad as a march hare. What he did was horrible and I hope he is punished severely, but he did not do this as some sort of foot soldier of the Tea Party or because Sarah Palin put a target on a map. He did this because in his crazy mind, government is assaulting language or something like that.

And I can understand why so many leftists leapt to this conclusion. Sarah Palin is a HORRIBLE human being. She has aroused new levels of contempt in me, something that is remarkable given my inborn antipathy for statists. I dislike all of the presidents, but I am confident that were Palin elected, she would quickly find herself battling with FDR and Woodrow Wilson for the title of worst of all-time.

So yes, let us defeat Palin the lying, ignorant, Bible-thumping barbarian. But not in this way. Not in a way that manipulates the deaths of innocent people to reach a political end. If you really think some map graphic on a Sarah Palin website made this nutter kill those people, you have a serious correlation vs. causation problem you need worked out.

As for the overreactions from the agents of Leviathan, join me in vomiting on them all. First there was Rep. Bob Brady D-PA (H/T: Andrew), presumably some sort of vulgar mouth-breather who would just feel more important if he had a taxpayer-funded security detail behind him. Guess what, Bob? No one made you become one of the chief agents of the criminal gang running this country. You had a choice. You chose to become a slave overseer. If you don’t like the risks inherent in the job, then get the hell out. Just now, I saw some dumb shmuck calling for bipartisan seating at the State of the Union address. Good God. The only thing I would like about that sort of useless maneuver is that it might cause some more people to realize that this country is really a one-party (War Party) state. And then there are the worst of the worst, the people calling for limits on speech, the people calling for the Fred Phelps church to be banned from funerals, the people calling for the Fairness Doctrine to return, etc. Just shut up, all of you. I think about half of those people are really just sand-headed kneejerkers of the lowest sort, whilst the other half are hardcore statists who wanted those policies all along and are just using the current tragedy as an excuse.

Best pundit reaction? I’d have to say Radley Balko. He was one of the few people to not let the government off the hook here and remind people that the state initiates force against each of us every day. That was a hard thing for a national pundit to say after this sort of event, so good for him. From my perspective, it’s important to say that Loughner is crazy as a loon and guilty as hell. But don’t let the deranged actions of one murderer become for America what the Port Arthur massacre was/is for Australia–a blank check for kneejerkers and statists to achieve long-held goals in an emotional moment.

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Almost every day, some constituency somewhere, maybe even just some individual person, tries to claim a veto on another person or group’s rights for a “reason” usually rooted in emotion. I’ve noticed many of these cases in North America coming out of the military realm. Do you know how hard the government makes it to get photos of dead soldiers’ caskets being unloaded? There were two stories in the past two days that caught my attention.

The first story is one that’s been percolating for a while: Snyder v. Phelps went before the Supreme Court. Albert Snyder is the father of a dead Marine who is suing Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church (infamous for their “God hates fags” signs) for picketing his son’s funeral. The Westboro people are insane bigots. They believe that almost everything bad in America is some manifestation of God punishing us for homosexuality. They famously picketed Matthew Sheppard’s funeral, too. They are not nice people. I would love to see them teleported deep into outer space some day. But they are here in our country, and as such, they have certain inalienable rights. Most importantly here, they have a right to free speech.

Snyder is a weak man. Somehow, he feels like these loons holding “God hates you” signs at his son’s funeral defamed his memory and caused the family emotional harm. If some quite-literally insane people telling you God hated your son are enough to make you emotionally distressed, maybe you weren’t very secure in loving your son enough to begin with. That’s my speculation. What I know for certain is that Snyder lowered himself to a level even lower than that of the Westboro crazies by seeking the initiation of government’s violence against people who did nothing more than speak.

This is not acceptable. I don’t care if it hurt your feelings. They did not physically hurt you. Your rights were not violated. You need to get over yourself and stop ruining things for everyone else, buddy. If you weren’t wrapping yourself in the flag and going on about soldiers and sacrifice, this case wouldn’t even be in the Supreme Court. Free speech, even for bigots, wins out over your sad heart.

The second case is less well-known and less repulsive. In Canada, a woman called Celine Lizotte, the mother of a son killed in Afghanistan, is demanding that the Quebec Women’s Federation take down an anti-war video that refers to soldiers as “cannon fodder.” I say “less repulsive” because AS YET, Ms. Lizotte is just lobbying publicly for the video to be taken down. She hasn’t tried to get the government involved or made threats herself. So this sort of action is well within her rights.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an action I support. If you don’t like the video, don’t watch it. In the meantime, maybe it will encourage some other mom to keep her son from dying like yours did. Would that be a horrible thing?

I’m tired of this crap. It happens in any number of ways, but this military fetishism is especially noticeable because we have such a military cult in America and, to a much lesser extent, Canada. Just because you put on a uniform doesn’t make you any more human or praiseworthy than the next guy, and it certainly doesn’t give you a veto right over the rights of your fellow citizens. People say soldiers fight and die for our freedom–not that I ever asked anyone to die for me, but that’s beside the point. If you really believe they are dying for our freedom, then that freedom very much includes freedom of speech.

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  • Radley Balko at Reason: covering the dismissal of felony charges against Anthony Graber, the Maryland motorcyclist who recorded a cop on his helmet cam. It’s tremendous news for people who love freedom. Balko poses a great question, though: “Instead, we have public officials who violated the law, who should have known they were violating the law, and who caused significant harm to someone else in the process. So what will be their punishment?”
  • Via Radley Balko at Reason, The Spokesman-Review: Washington State Patrol shoots an unarmed, pregnant woman in a drug raid. At least she is alive. I hope we can find out the shooter’s name and get the bully fired. I don’t care if you think you are following orders. Orders didn’t make you pull the trigger as you aimed a gun at an unarmed, nonviolent, pregnant fellow human being who at worst was engaged in the drug trade.
  • Via Damon Root at Reason, WSJ: previewing two big free speech cases about to come before the Supreme Court. The one that interests me is the case of a dead soldier’s dad who is seeking “emotional distress” damages from the Fred Phelps-Westboro Baptist Church scumbags for picketing his son’s funeral. Fred Phelps is a horrible human, but this response is entirely the wrong one. So long as he and his gang of dunces were not violating your private property rights, they were right to exercise their rights. Stop trying to ruin this country because your feelings got hurt.
  • NYT: the Venezuelan opposition has a pretty decent showing in parliamentary elections. Much as I love to see the Chavista thugs embarrassed even a little bit, I think the opposition miscalculated here. Chavez will never let himself be unseated through the ballot box. Better to avoid his system altogether, see things get worse in the short term and hope for enough people to get angry enough to put the vile fat man against a wall.
  • NYT: Chinese authorities look into a company that collaborates with local governments in putting petitioners in black jails. Color me skeptical on this one. My sense is that the black jail issue got too hot, so the Chinese are now scapegoating this company. Oh, but for the day when Wen Jiabao and his butchers learn what the inside of a cage looks like.
  • NYT: South African authorities shut down businesses for not following minimum wage laws…as the workers inside resist them. What a sad story. A crude devotion to ideology trumps the need of poor people to put food on the table. Leave the people alone, you paternalistic thugs.
  • NYT: Islamic thugs are restricting women’s rights in Chechnya, with what appears to be the full blessing of the republic’s president. I wish Russia would just cut ties with these people. It’s not worth the terrorist attacks and the budget drain to see women forced to wear the headscarf in a Russian Federation of supposedly equal rights before the law.
  • Atlantic Free Press: an inside look at mortar use in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. military. Money quote: “A gunman fired a few cents worth of AK-47 rounds at the U.S. Marines and in response the Marines probably fired $10,000.00 in mortar rounds that all missed their target, yet killed an innocent. This incident could sum up the entire Afghan war and helps explain why American efforts have largely failed.” Our soldiers shouldn’t be put in this position. Bring them home.
  • NYT: remember how India tried to bully Research in Motion into giving them access to encrypted BlackBerry messages? Now they are talking about mobilizing against Skype and Google. Western companies are getting cold feet about doing business in India. Maybe the Big Brother squad will learn a valuable lesson, but I doubt it–it’s not like their jobs are at stake.

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