Thursday, August 21, 2008

Politically and ideologically motivated violence in modern America: An Answer to Delawareliberal's simplistic, partisan view

Disclaimer One: Long post, and if you do not read to the end you will not know what my point is.

Disclaimer Two: Encouraging and/or committing politically or ideologically motivated violence is wrong; I condemn it no matter who does it. (Oh, yeah, also please try to remember as you read that I'm a Libertarian not a Conservative).

I doubt either disclaimer will do me any good, but what the hell:

It's funny, but in the outrage expressed by my friends at Delawareliberal over the recent stories of deranged whackos killing a prominent Arkansas Democrat and parishioners at the UU church, I have somehow missed their coverage of this event, just two weeks ago.

From the San Francisco Chronicle (4 August 2008):

(08-04) 04:00 PDT Santa Cruz -- The devices used in two firebombings targeting UC Santa Cruz biologists are similar to some used in the past by animal rights activists, investigators said Sunday.

The bombs were so powerful they were like "Molotov cocktails on steroids," said Santa Cruz police Capt. Steve Clark.

One struck the home of assistant biology Professor David Feldheim on Saturday morning, forcing him to flee with his family. The other exploded just a few minutes earlier, gutting a car parked outside the campus home of a second researcher.

Later, Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies went to the home of a third researcher who received a threatening telephone message, but officers found no explosives.

More than 50 investigators, including some from the FBI's regional terrorism task force, are looking into the attacks.

This is not, please note, an isolated incident:

The attacks may mark an escalation in a series of protests against UC researchers that prompted a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to issue a temporary restraining order against three animal rights groups in February.

In January, a Molotov cocktail exploded on a UCLA researcher's porch. A month later, six people in masks tried to force their way into the home of a UC Santa Cruz researcher and hit her husband on the head, police said.

And at UC Berkeley, officials said 24 animal researchers and seven staffers have been harassed in recent months, with some homes and cars vandalized.

Nor is it something that animal rights activists (obvious hate speech conservatives, they) deplore:

A different view was expressed today by Jerry Vlasak, a Los Angeles spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which often posts on its Web site communiques from activists taking credit for attacks. He said the benefit of animal research does not justify its expense or the exploitation of animals.

Vlasak said the bombers likely were not trying to hurt Feldheim, but were instead "trying to send a message to this guy, who won't listen to reason, that if he doesn't stop hurting animals, more drastic measures will be taken ... it's certainly not an initial tactic, but a tactic of last resort."

So, let's see, we have an environmental activist group not only attacking scientists and university professors, but fronting public spokesmen who tell us that fire-bombing is justified as a warning, and if that doesn't work it will be OK to take more drastic measures.

By the way, let's not kid ourselves that this is some sort of isolated example:

In early March 2008 three large homes went up in flames in a Seattle suburb, apparently set by eco-terrorists who left a sign mocking the claims of the builders that the 4,000-plus-square-foot houses were environmentally friendly.

Then there's the case of Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, and his Empire State rampage in 2002:

Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian gunman hailing from militant Islamic circles in Florida, took a gun to the top of the Empire State building in February 1997 and shot seven people there, killing one. His suicide note accused the United States of using Israel as its "instrument" against the Palestinians, but city officials ignored this evidence and instead dismissed Abu Kamal as either "one deranged individual working on his own" (Police Commissioner Howard Safir) or a "man who had many, many enemies in his mind" (Mayor Rudolph Giuliani)....

But three days after the shootings, Kamal's family got a copy of a letter that was found on his body, they said. The letter said he planned the violence as a political statement, his daughter said. "When we wanted to clarify that to the media, nobody listened to us," she said. "His goal was patriotic. He wanted to take revenge from the Americans, the British, the French and the Israelis."

She said the family became certain that he carried out the attack for political reasons after reading his diary. "He wrote that after he raised his children and made sure that his family was all right he decided to avenge in the highest building in America to make sure they get his message," said Linda, who works for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. She said her mom burned the diary, fearing that it would cause the family trouble

Another obvious victim of conservative hate speech who'd been brainwashed by Sean Hannity and Michael Savage to kill liberals.

In March 2008 I reported here about the death of Sanesha Stewart, a transexual in New York City stabbed to death by a man who discovered he wasn't in bed with who--or what--he thought:

A man named Steve McMillian apparently stabbed Sanesha Stewart to death on Saturday morning. Who was she? She lived in the Bronx. She was tall and femme and well-liked by her neighbors. She was a client at the law project where I volunteer, but I never met her myself. Some of my colleagues helped her get her name legally changed more than a year ago. None of the above mattered at all to the news media, which handled this tragedy with the appropriate combination of sensitivity, respect for the victim, and a very cold eye for the man who the police dragged from her apartment, covered in her blood.

Oh no… wait one second and back up. There was no respect and no cold eye, none at all. I must be imagining some completely different universe where young trans women of color aren’t automatically treated like human trash. Where we all live, business as usual is to make a lot of comments about what the murder victim dressed like and looked like, reveal what her name was before she changed it, automatically assume she’s getting paid for sex, and to make excuses for the alleged killer.

And please note: “Cops: Ex-con slays Bronx transsexual ‘hooker’” is not the original headline of this NY Daily News article. The original one was “Fooled john stabbed Bronx tranny,” until pressure from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation got them to change it.

What was truly interesting is that the hate speech that rationalized this particular crime didn't come from Rush Limbaugh, but from a wide variety of HipHop websites, like [I can't give you the link because this particular site is no longer publishing, but there are several additional quotes in my post]:

aw hell naw they called that faggot a beautiful black woman...don't care what body parts u substitute a man will never be a woman and vice versa...but to answer the reaction was nothin ...any man tryin to mock a woman in order to have sex with straight men deserves the consequences...

people have been killed for far less than what this nigga got killed for. He's out there playing around with his gender and going after men that are straight. He should be fully aware that society in general is not accepting of homosexuals much less those that are representing themselves as a different gender than what they're born. He should have known the risks that were involved when you play with someone in such a manner and his death isn't tragic, it was a deserved slaying. He can now obtain fame being the transgendered peoples martyr. He's the crossdressing version of Matthew Shephard.

Of course, the idea of HipHop as exploitive of women and openly advocating their submission, brutalization, rape, humiliation, and murder is not at all a new topic, as Ayanna explains:

Exploitation of women in hip-hop culture has become an accepted part of it for both the artists and audiences alike, and many critics blame the music without looking any deeper. When going to any hip-hop related event, my friends and I normally expect that we will be disrespected verbally and physically, and have to prepare ourselves accordingly. We have to be careful in choosing what clothes to wear, how we carry ourselves and what we say. I have often wondered why it is so acceptable (for men and women) and what the roots of the values expressed in the culture are.

Hip-hop culture, started by black and Latino youth in New York City, (by definition) encompasses rapping (and now singing), deejaying, break-dancing, and graffiti-writing, but has evolved to be much more than that. It is now a lifestyle for many young people mostly between the ages of 13 and 30. It now involves music videos, fashion, language, the club scene, and the general way in which young people interact with one another. Hip-hop culture is widely used in commercials (Coca-Cola, Burger King), fashion advertisements, video games, TV shows, and there is even a hip-hop exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The most powerful and influential part of hip-hop culture has come to be rap music, a form of poetry that is said over musical instrumentation. In recent years rap music has developed a reputation of being brutally honest, violent, and misogynistic.

Much of the music and many videos specifically transmit, promote, and perpetuate negative images of black women. All women, but mostly black women in particular are seen in popular hip-hop culture as sex objects. Almost every hip-hop video that is regularly run today shows many dancing women (usually surrounding one or two men) wearing not much more than bikinis, with the cameras focusing on their body parts. These images are shown to go along with a lot of the explicit lyrics that commonly contain name calling to suggest that women are not worth anything more than money, if that. Women are described as being only good for sexual relations by rappers who describe their life as being that of a pimp. In many popular rap songs men glorify the life of pimps, refer to all women as they think a pimp would to a prostitute, and promote violence against women for 'disobeying.'

Donnie McClurkin, a Black Gospel artist and preacher who has also pointed advocated the elimination of homosexuals, had a supporting role to play in the Barack Obama campaign until late last year, when the Senator finally had to cut him loose--sort of a precursor of the Reverend Wright affair:

Protesters from the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement, lead by Bruce Coverse, front, march silently outside the Township Auditorium, in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007 during a gospel concert promoting the Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. Donnie McClurkin, a Grammy-winning singer whose role in a Barack Obama campaign event riled gay activists served as master of ceremonies of a gospel concert promoting Obama.

Mr. McClurkin is the preacher who had said he was gay but was “cured” through prayer and tonight he was the star act in a parade of star acts, which included the Mighty Clouds.

His inclusion had drawn public criticism from gay activists who wanted Mr. Obama to cancel his appearance. Mr. Obama did not, but issued a statement a few days ago saying he strongly disagrees with Mr. McClurkin’s views and that he has tried to address what he called the homophobia among some black voters.

Tonight there was a small vigil of about 15 or 20 gays and lesbians, who stood quietly across the street as people filed into a big auditorium here for the last of three campaign-sponsored concerts (and the only one to feature Mr. McClurkin). The whole controversy might have been forgotten in the swell of gospel sound except Mr. McClurkin turned the final half hour of the three-hour concert into a revival meeting about the lightning rod he has become for the Obama campaign.

He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: “Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings,” he cried.

“God delivered me from homosexuality,” he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: “God is the only way.” The crowd sang and clapped along in full support.

Maybe this doesn't sound quite so bad--until you look at McClurkin's other statements (I'll just give you one, you can click through for the rest):

The gloves are off and if there's going to be a war, there's going to be a war. But it will be a war with a purpose? I'm not in the mood to play with those [homosexuals] who are trying to kill our children.

Ah, another obvious anti-gay, anti-liberal hate speech rant by conservative talk radio, right?

Or how about honor killings that are going on throughout not just the Middle East, but also right here in America:

From the New York Post:

On July 6, 2008, police say, a Pakistani named Chaudhry Rashid strangled his 25-year-old daughter San- deela Kanwal with a Bungee cord in her bedroom because she wanted to end her arranged marriage. This "honor killing" came not in Pakistan, but in Jonesboro, Ga. - a suburb 16 miles outside Atlanta.

At his arraignment, Rashid said through an Urdu interpreter that he was "not in the state of mind to talk because of the death of his daughter," but stated "I have done nothing wrong."

This is not the same as declaring innocence. His attorney, Tammy Long, explained, "My client is going through a difficult time. As you can imagine, he is distraught." Apparently, it takes a stronger man to murder his daughter without sentiment.

There are quieter forms of hate speech and hate crimes (as much I as hate those terms). Consider, for example, Planned Parenthood (founded by Margaret Sanger, whose overtly racist and eliminationist views have long been glossed over by popular historians) and that organization's willingness to accept donations explicitly intended to promote more abortions among African-American women, as chronicled by Becky, The Girl in Short Shorts:

Even though Planned Parenthood celebrated Black History Month with a special feature on their web site, their commitment to the well-being of the black community is questionable, at best.

Recently this guy, posing as a potential donor, gave a call to Planned Parenthood. He was told he could specify that the donation would be used to underwrite the abortion of black babies.

It was not a freak thing.

In another phone conversation Autumn Kersey, Director of Development at the Idaho Planned Parenthood office, says: "Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that you wanted your gift be used to help an African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that gift was earmarked specifically for that purpose." Listen to Audio.

The caller then says, "Good, because I really face trouble with affirmative action and I don't want my kids being disadvantaged, you know, against black kids. I just had a baby. I want to put it in his name, you know."

Autumn answers, "Mmmm, absolutely. ... Always, always."

The caller goes on to say: "You know, we just think, the less black kids out there, the better."

And Autumn replies: "Understandable, understandable.”

The Klan and lynching is so nineteenth century--when we have Planned Parenthood and abortion.

Of course, none of these examples have as much impact on the minds of deranged people as conservative hate speech, as evidenced by these three truly sick examples:

Limbaugh Ridiculed Plight Of Afghan Women. “The event, co-hosted at the W New York Hotel by Glamour magazine and the Feminist Majority Foundation, attracted such A-list women as Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Melissa Etheridge, Marlo Thomas, Glamour editor in chief Bonnie Fuller and Rush Limbaugh, who bombed at the podium, especially with such jokes as, ‘Why don’t we focus on what Afghan women can do? They can cook, bear children and pray. As I recall, that was fine for our grandmothers.’” (Mitchell Fink With Lauren Rubin, “Liza Wants To Be A Hit, Just Not A Huge One,” New York Daily News, October 20, 1999)

Hannity Jokes That “For $25″ Janet Reno Will “Come To Your Table And Do A Lap Dance.” “Sean Hannity, the comic whose stale material cracks ‘em up at the White House and who (he says) works out of there when he’s in town, retailed a howler at Miss Reno’s expense at the recent dinner of the White House Press Photographers Association. ‘The Democratic National Committee is coming up with a novel way to raise money,’ he said. ‘For $50,000 you can get a waltz with the first lady. For $25,000, you can dance a tango with Tipper. And for $25, the attorney general will come to your table and do a lap dance.’” (Wesley Pruden, “A Curious Gallantry At The White House,” Washington Times, March 28, 1999)

Michael Savage Jokes About Senators Hillary Clinton & Barbara Boxer. “Well, if Dick Cheney were here, I’m sure he’d tell you all to go f*ck yourselves. In the interview about that, he said, [impersonating Dick Cheney] ‘ah, it made me feel good. Ah, I don’t regret it, it was just a little misreported, not that I did say ‘Go f*ck yourself,’ but what wasn’t reported was some of the other stuff I said. I told Barbara Boxer to eat me, I told Hillary Clinton to sit on this and spin, it’s about time someone said that to her.’” (“Michael Savage: God Spoke”, New Video Group, 2007, 11:53)

Oh, wait, oops. That wasn't Limbaugh, Hannity, or Savage--all three incidents were the work of current liberal Democratic Senatorial candidate Al Franken.

There's an important point here. We live in an increasingly violent world, with rhetoric and actions on all sides that has become heated, intemperate, and outright calls for or condones violence. My liberal friends at Delawareliberal and in other places [Orcinus, who is definitely not my friend] insist on seeing a very simple equation:

Conservatives created hate speech and hate radio together in a hate industry.

This hate speech is unique in poisoning our airwaves and our discourse and in making it OK for weak-willed people to go out and hunt down or kill liberals.

[Secretly, because they're OK with this, that's why they support the Second Amendment, so that the wackos will have plenty of access to guns to do the job.]

Only liberal (and, excuse me, Progressive) Democrats are standing up to this vile campaign of hate, by pushing common-sense gun control legislation and the Fairness Doctrine, which will properly chastise those dread conservatives and make the country safer for liberal and progressive American citizens.

Because only conservative Republicans preach hate or rationalize violence against those with whom they disagree.

I said it at the top of the post and I will say it again: Libertarians--especially this Libertarian--do not condone either political violence of the exhortation to commit it. We follow the Non-Aggression Principle and renounce the use of force or fraud to achieve our political ends.

Conservatives who participate in dehumanizing liberals, gays, immigrants, et al are vile, scum-suckers.

Abortion clinic bombers are religious nuts.

Eco-terrorists are dangerous criminals, and those who support the use of violence for political ends in the animal rights or environmental movement are--oh, yeah--vile scum-suckers.

As are HipHop artists who glorify the abasement of, and violence toward, women; or Gospel singers willing to make war on homosexuals as murderers of our children--no matter which Democratic presidential candidate they support.

Or Palestinian extremists...

Or Muslim nuts who kill their own children in America to preserve their twisted sense of honor....

Or officials at Planned Parenthood willing to accept donations earmarked to prevent the birth of Black babies....

Or politician/humorists whose demeaning sexual orientation and gender-based references should have forever ruled them out from running for national office.

Yet I think the biggest problem in America along this line would have to be the well-read people who obviously know all this goes on, but persist in presenting a comic-book, partisan interpretation that the only real exhortations to violence come from their political opponents, and do so to score points for their preferred candidate and chip away at my individual liberties.

Nobody ever said it would be easy to live in a constitutional republic based on individual liberty. Both before and since the American Revolution, guess what, the United States has always been a violent place, and our politics have always been charged with violent rhetoric on all sides.

What's the answer to a still free and less violent society?

Hell, if I had that answer, I'd be running for President.

I do know this: ignoring the extent to which this sort of rhetoric and violent action pervades all sides of our society in a blatant attempt to look responsible while scoring political points is not the right answer.


Mike W. said...

If we blame both sides for the violence we'll never figure out what the root causes of said violence are. If we aren't willing to make an honest attempt to analyze and determine the underlying causes then we certainly can't begin to actually solve the problem.

As I've said on DE Liberal several times, I don't care what the political affiliations of these murderers are. If you murder innocent people you are human scum, regardless of political ideology.

Duffy said...

Bravo! Bravissimo!

LJP said...

Looks like we're entering a civil war soon.

Well then I wonder if you consider what happened in Chile in 1973 is 'libertarian paradise'? I know it has nothing to do with the subject but just wondering (cynically...)

Steven H. Newton said...

I don't consider Chile to have been paradise under any conditions. Chile in 1973 in particular is no lab for libertarianism to be compared to the US because numerous cultural and economic factors that have absolutely nothing to do with political ideology.

LJP said...

Such as... ?

I dunno. I think it had everything to do with ideology. But then I'm not a historian.

I do not understand how 'libertarians' can openly support someone like Bush, I can tell you that much...

Steven H. Newton said...


Eventually I can do a post on Chile and explain it.

Which Libertarians support Bush? Aside from Eric Dondero and a few far-right Libertarians I know of no Libertarians who support Bush.

Certainly you can't suspect that I do if you have read anything on this site.

Hube said...

I second Duffy's comment.

LJP said...

I just would like to know why Chile wound up being repressive. On a side note it seems whatever 'good' Pinochet did seems to be overshadowed by his brutal history (at least in Chile itself...)

I'm just a bit wary of the label 'libertarian'. It seems that those on the far right abuse the term so much it seems meaningless. I know one so-called 'libertarian' tried to explain his support for Bush on Conservative

Steven H. Newton said...

I'm just a bit wary of the label 'libertarian'. It seems that those on the far right abuse the term so much it seems meaningless. I know one so-called 'libertarian' tried to explain his support for Bush on Conservative

My initial suggestion is that you start perusing the archives here (which I don't think you have done). One of my colleagues (Brian) has written a tremendous amount about Latin America.

There are lots of flavors of Libertarians, just like there are lots of flavors of liberals, or Democrats, or Atheists, or Christians.

Consider this please: making you wary of labels is why people think them up, then use them to stereotype people.

LJP said...

Well I have looked elsewhere on your blog. I definitely agree with you concerning that whole airport security mess! Will look further...