13 June 2009

Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, Pot.

There's been a huge kerfufle on conservative and libertarian boards about the dichotomy between the coverage of the murder of an abortion doctor and the murder of a soldier at a recruiting station. I tried addressing this on APS, but decided it would make a good blog post.

To make sure we're all working off the same page here: we have one crime (A) committed by a member of the uber-right, who murdered someone he felt was killing innocents*. In the other crime, we have another murder (B), committed by a jailhouse Islamic convert, opening fire on a recruiting station (killing one and wounding another). Everyone with me so far? Good.

So... two serious crimes, both high profile, and both happening fairly close together in timeframe. One (A), the President has gone on record condemning, and calling for a major conspiracy investigation on. The other (B), our Teleprompter-In-Chief merely called "regrettable". This dichotomy, of course, has the Right up in arms. But there are things to think about here.

First off (and the one that got me right away): the crimes have one major difference between them. One, the victims were soldiers: not a major constituency of the Left. The other, the victim was heavily involved in a "cause" that the TOTUS has gone to extraordinary lengths to back (look up Obama's record on abortion). So we have one crime the Left can decry, and one they would feel ambivalent about (if not outright condone). Yes, it's terrible, but it's also life. But let's look at it from the other direction for a second...

Many on the Right have expressed the feeling that, although they wouldn't have pulled the trigger themselves, the abortion doc's killing was just "a murderer being murdered". While they haven't gone so far as to say the shooter should get off, you can get a feeling of a certain tacit approval from some.

I hate to be the one to point it out, but the shooter in the recruiting station case COULD make a similar claim for his actions: "I was just trying to protect innocent Muslims from American agression".

In crime A, we had someone with strong convictions against a legal activity take the life of someone involved in that activity. Oh, wait: the same COULD be said for B. Hmmm...

Here's an idea: how about we look at the crime committed, ignore the possible motives (beyond checking for self-defense) behind it, and actually condemn the murderers as such? Drop the rhetoric of "terroristic** acts", and simply punish the criminals for the actual crime they committed (without having to go into panty-shitting hysteria)?

One other difference between the crimes: with the soldiers' attacker, I haven't heard of anyone else being implicated. At the same time, the doc's killer has said that there will be more killing, implying that there are more people out there willing to take the life of an abortion doctor. Given that, I guess I can understand a conspiracy investigation...

*NOT going into the debate on abortion here: not now, not ever.

** I have to giggle at the fact that spellcheck tags "terroristic" as a mispelling. Says something, doesn't it?

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