Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Thoughts on Hate and "Hate Speech" — Part 1

[NOTE: This began as a single post of tangentially-related thoughts on "hate speech" stemming from the incident in Garland, Texas, but grew and evolved until even the term "uber-post" couldn't quite describe it. I've decided to make it into a series of as-yet-unknown length. Bear with me a bit.]

So as everyone who doesn't live under a rock (and probably some who do) has heard, on Sunday, May 4, there was a kerfuffle in Garland, Texas, wherein a couple of self-styled Islamic jihadis from Arizona (of all places) attempted to arm themselves and storm a Free Speech event featuring a "Draw Mohammed" contest, in order to kill all the "offensive" cartoonists for the "crime" of daring to … well … draw Mohammed.

Charlie Foxtrot wrote on it here.

Thanks to the quick actions of a Garland PD officer already on-site, the idiot "jihadis" didn't even make it in the door before being put down by well-placed .45 ACP hollow points. They only managed to shoot an unarmed security officer. In the ankle. And he was released from the hospital the same night.

Pamela Geller (source: NBC News)
Cue the mainstream media, which not only tried its level best to remove the "Islamic jihadi" angle from the story, but then proceeded to attack event organizer Pamela Geller for daring to host such a "provocative"* and "offensive" event, and claimed that she brought the consequences on herself.

Yep. The media, which makes its living on the First Amendment and free speech, blamed the victim for her own attempted murder for — get this — exercising her First Amendment right to free speech and encouraging others to do the same. They're calling it "hate speech" and some (Chris Cuomo in particular) claim "hate speech" is not protected under the First Amendment. Unlike, you know, jihad and Sharia law.

The Irony Fairy was unavailable for comment.

That's the slightly-cynical re-hashing of the events. What follows below the break (because it's fairly lengthy to have it all on the front page) are some thoughts I've had on the topic since. Some of them are not politically-correct, but they need to be said anyway (and that's the beauty of the First Amendment, is it not?).

Pamela Geller (left) debating British Muslim cleric
Anjem Choudary (right) on Sean Hannity
(source: Legal Insurrection)
First, I have to hand it to Pamela Geller. Even with all the hostility from the media, and radical Muslim clerics saying she deserves death and issuing fatwas against her, she's not backing down. You want to talk about "speaking truth to power"? There's not much more personally powerful than a man with a rifle personally threatening to kill you, and she's still speaking truth! That, my friends, is courage, and we'll need more of it in the near future, I'm afraid.

Second — and this part seems to be lost on a lot of the talking heads — there's no evidence Ms. Geller actually drew any cartoons! She was just the organizer of the free speech event. If the problem is that the cartoons are so offensive, they're barking up the wrong tree.

Third, by threatening the event organizer instead of just the cartoonists, this is no longer an attack on "free speech" First Amendment rights; it has expanded into an attack on "free association" and "free assembly" First Amendment rights. The clear goal is to discourage Americans from not only exercising our free speech rights and criticizing/satirizing Islam and the "prophet" Mohammed, but also from gathering in an organized group setting to do the same, lest we make too sweet a soft target for potential jihadi mass-murders.

I recommend reading that Legal Insurrection article linked above and watching the full embedded video. (Money quote from the Muslim cleric: "Pamela, first of all, the word 'khenzeer' [translation: 'pig'] I think is too good for you in the first place. At least the khenzeer worships Allah.") Remember that the cleric in question is British — he's a Westerner, but he's still calling for her death. The article comments are also inspiring, from a courage standpoint (full disclosure: a few are mine, but I won't be citing my own stuff).

LI commenter "jem927" knocks one out of the park:

This question [sic] for those blaming Geller: by saying that it is morally impermissible to express an idea that may provoke violence, are you not also saying that it is morally permissible to threaten violence to deter such expression?
Perhaps not, but that seems to be the crux of the argument.
That, indeed, is the crux of the media's argument and the hinge point of the dilemma. By assigning blame to Ms. Geller for "provoking" the attack on the free speech event, they're claiming that threatening violence in order to silence opposing viewpoints is morally superior to expressing those viewpoints. In other words, that the act of murdering someone whose words offend you is somehow better then allowing them to speak at all.

This, of course, is best summed up in the winning entry of the "Draw Mohammed" contest from cartoonist Bosch Fawstin, which was quickly distributed to the Internets:
(source: Tweet from Tammy Bruce)

And by this Tweet from the artist himself: Dear Lord, save us from the "Progressive" ideology, in which it's "better" for American citizens to be cowed into silence under threat of violent retribution than to be allowed to speak their minds, and in which it's "better" for a woman to be raped and strangled than to explain to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound from her legally-carried self-defense pistol. Amen.

Because I fail to see much difference between those two scenarios.

Stay tuned for Part 2, and stay safe. [UPDATE: Part 2 is up. Link added.]
* - "Provocative", as used in this context, is a blatant misuse of the word, as well. "Provocative" literally means "causing discussion, thought, argument, etc." Yes, the root word is "provoke", but it means to provoke reflection, contemplation, consideration of new ideas and differing points of view. Not to provoke a violent response (as in the ridiculous "fighting words" comparison). Pamela Geller's critics apparently forgot that words mean things, and so are actively trying to change the definition to suit their purpose.

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