Did you see Ironman 3? I know it was a while back, but there’s a certain relevance. In the movie, Tony Stark, angry over the injury of his friend in a terrorist attack, sends the terrorists a very public message, via a crowd of reporters. The message? You are cowards, come get me, here’s my home address, I’ll leave the door unlocked … Did you see that part? Be honest, now, how many of you thought it was a good idea? More to the point, how many of you were naive enough to think there WOULDN’T be a terrorist attack in response, on Tony’s beautiful Malibu home?

If it had just been Tony’s life at stake, it might have been cool: the Terrorists show up, take their shot, and Ironman kicks their asses as we all agree they deserve!

Except it wasn’t just Tony’s life at stake. His newfound love, Pepper, also lives in the house – and, in the aftermath, with his armor damaged, his house destroyed, and his girlfriend on the run, the total epic stupidity of his act comes crashing down on Tony’s head. It’s why his first act afterward is to call Pepper and apologize. Why? Because you don’t INVITE murderers to come after innocent people!!!

I’m talking about the ‘Texas Shooting Incident’, now, of course – because, if all you heard was that there was an art show, and terrorists showed up and shot the place up, you didn’t hear the whole story!

It was a carefully orchestrated event, staged for maximum political effect. It just doesn’t get more effective than dead bodies, of course, especially if those dead bodies belong to extremists, rather than the people who arranged the whole thing!

Here’s what happened:  some political extremists decided to underline their patriotism – their belief in Freedom of Expression – by expressing themselves in the most offensive way they could find, in the eyes of the faithful of Islam.  Not just terrorists, mind you, but the millions upon millions of peaceful adherents to Islam – people who ask only to worship as they see fit, which is, of course, one of the other freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment! In their eyes, it is offensive in the extreme to depict the Prophet Mohammed, let alone depict him in insulting caricature, or cartoon form …

The people who set up the event knew that. Pretty much everyone who pays attention to the news knows that:  it was explained at length after the Charlie Hebdo attack in France. If you didn’t hear about that one, a French satirical magazine, which several times posted cartoons of Mohammed, ridiculing fundamentalists and extremists. They’d been attacked before, but this time, two gunmen forced their way into the Paris offices of the magazine and started shooting. By the time they were done, 12 were dead, and 11 wounded. Sound similar to the attack in Texas?

It wasn’t. Charlie Hedbo was lampooning Islam, but the most hateful aspects of the most hateful subset of Islam – kind of like most people in the US point at the Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK as the most hateful subsets of Christianity! Charlie Hedbo was actually exercising their freedom of speech, making statements against hate groups – and, yes, maybe they went farther than they should.

They didn’t deserve to die for speaking their minds.

The Texas Incident? Utterly different. Here you had a group deliberately posting images that they knew would taunt the entire Islamic faith – and when the event began, it began with SWAT already on the scene, and behind a screen of local law enforcement!

How is that different? Charlie Hedbo published their magazine without asking for, or receiving, any special protection. Their cartoons had already been shown in court to ridicule extremists, rather than Islam, or it’s faithful. Tony Stark issued his challenge in anger and THEN remembered Pepper was at home …

In Texas, Pamela Geller challenged a terrorist attack by deliberately defaming the most revered figure in Islam after God (What’s the big deal? Imagine a bunch of people set up a gallery of defamatory cartoons of Jesus Christ). And she made sure to do it AFTER she had a screen of police around her gallery. If you don’t see the cowardice in that, let’s try a slightly different image:  imagine Pamela Geller posting police officers in the surf of a popular beach, where people were swimming – and then chumming it to call the sharks!

The ones most likely to die? The Police, the bathers, and, of course, the sharks. Not Pamela.

Bear in mind that, apart from KNOWING she was inviting murderer’s to hit the place, she had NO idea HOW they’d hit it! In the past, Islamic Extremists have been really into explosives … would it have been ok if the two shooters hadn’t been packing firearms, but C4? On a busy street in Garland, Texas? Admittedly, the hateful idiots inside are free to risk their lives – but who authorized them to put police in harm’s way? Who said it was OK for them to call a murder-squad to town without cordoning off the block? Would it have been ok if they’d done this and even ONE citizen who WASN’T being as hateful as possible had gotten killed?

I don’t give a shit about the two gunmen. The FBI had long had an interest in at least one, and it’s very likely that both would have chosen to act in violence eventually. The point is, the event, it’s organizers, and Ms. Geller, are about as anti-Islam as you can get – not anti-terrorist, or anti-extremist, but anti-Islamist:  her blog, and her publicly quoted statements ARE aimed at the entire religion, and her claim of freedom of expression is as much a mockery as any demonstration by the Westboro Baptists!

Plenty of people, including her detractors, say she has a right to say what she wants … I disagree. I’m a former USAF Officer. I’ve read the constitution that people like her flaunt in their defense. I’ve fought for it. People do NOT have a right to say anything they please:  stand up in a public place and shout something defaming about someone, anyone. If your words can be proven to be false, and, more so, if it can be shown in court that you KNEW they were false, you’ve committed the crime of slander … write those defaming comments down and publish them, and you’ve committed the crime of libel

Has Pamela Geller committed either of these crimes? No. She, and a huge majority of the Far Right have learned, as has Fox News, that you can imply anything you want and be protected by the law – as long as you aren’t stating it to be factual. You can hold day-long bitch sessions on TV, spouting one foul implication after another, and engaging in any sort of name-calling you like – because that’s covered as “valid political commentary”. All you have to do is avoid the legal definitions of slander and libel – which I hold up simply as examples of speech which is not protected under US Law. Those laws protect a person’s right to his untarnished name and reputation (rights that are not protected by the constitution, but we went ahead and built them into the law, anyway.)  Here we have a person claiming that Islamists shouldn’t be allowed to practice their religion – a right that is protected by the very same clause of the constitution Pammy keeps holding up as her defense … except the Islamists haven’t infringed her rights. The way I see it, Pam’s right to say what she pleases should end when her words would infringe another’s rights! Sadly, the courts don’t agree with me – but I hope the day is coming when they will.

There are some other crimes based on speech that seem to have relevance to this issue. Take subornation, inciting, or conspiracy … it’s a crime to urge a person to commit a crime, that’s subornation; it’s a crime to urge a whole group of people to commit a crime, that’s incitement; it’s a crime to plan a crime, that’s conspiracy; and it’s a very specific crime to plan, incite, or suborn, an overthrow of the government – that one’s called sedition – (the act itself is called treason. )

Pam and her buddies are dancing remarkably close to the edges of some of those crimes – and hiding behind the letter of the law.  That’s fine. Our laws must be upheld, and she has the right to hide behind them.

But it’s fucking cowardly.


~ by dourscot on May 5, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: