I’m fairly sure that anyone here is sufficiently ”plugged in” to current politics enough to have heard about House member Gabby Gifford’s recent plea for further gun restrictions. I’m not sure what your local media is like, but there’s a fair chance that there was even a mention of Sarah Palin or at least some sort of “incitement” behind that shooter’s attack. Given the body count, it’s not too surprising.
Also recently mentioned, though only in passing, is that the guy who shot up the Family Research Council in DC. Honestly, my main memory of that was being on a family trip and wondering why the heck somebody targeting based on “anti-gay bias” would have bags of Chick-fil-A. I can remember a few commentators suggesting that it was some sort of cartoonish attempt at “blending in”– an indication of just how crazy his view of those who disagree is or was. “Hey, Chick-fil-a is ‘anti-gay’ the same way that the FRC is– they don’t support redefining marriage to fit current pop culture appeals. The Family Research Council even denies a man and woman are functionally identical to two guys or two gals, of all the nerve! They’ll never notice me coming in and killing people if I have suitable fast food bags!” Not someone to take too seriously, even if he <I>did</i> have a gun.
I vaguely remember reading a blog about him choosing the target from the Southern Poverty Law Center, but I think that was from a site that collects examples of the SPLC faking and inflating “hate” for fundraising purposes. As I said, it didn’t stick in my mind, and I already don’t trust the SPLC. I assumed that they’d mentioned the FRC as being against homosexual marriage and the guy had gone from there.
Mostly, the “Giffords shooting” (the six dead victims get less press, since it seems likely she was the focus– if only because her public meeting gave that scum a crowd) sticks in one’s mind so much more because of the horrible range of people killed; from the little girl that was a 9/11 baby and the retired grandparent-types to the federal Judge and the first staffer to die in the line of duty, there was someone incredibly relatable to for everyone. Nobody died in the FRC attack, and Leonardo Johnson was able to overcome the shooter even after being shot in the arm. No fuss about heroism there, so it must have not been that bad of a shot, or it would’ve hit the news, right? (An aside: You might notice that I don’t name the murderers or attempted murderers. I don’t want to give them that level of recognition. The victims or heroes, though, are a different matter, and it took quite a bit of digging to find Mr. Johnson’s name wasn’t “A. Security Guard.”)
After today, I’m rather disabused of the notion that the Giffords attack was anything but more successful and more hyped: the attempted murderer bought the Chick-fil-A sandwiches to rub in the faces of his dying victims.
Insult to injury. Fatal injury. Not as cartoonish, now.
If not for Mollie Hemmingway’s post over at Ricochet, I wouldn’t have even thought about media bias. I’m Catholic– if that doesn’t make you realize how much the media screws up, what on earth will? It would be easier to find stories about the Church where reporters got it right than where they didn’t. I’m sure other traditional religion followers, or even folks who simply are part of uncommon fandoms or do something as “strange” as know more about a gun than what end the bullet comes out can relate…. The news screws things up, a lot.
I’m guessing folks will remember the “Blame Sarah Palin Because Her Website Had A Map With Gifford’s Area In A Target” to-do? If not, Mollie goes over it, with links. Although I want you to go read it, the short version is: even though Mrs. Palin didn’t say anything vaguely like ”go shoot this bad woman,” and there was no evidence that the Gifford’s shooter had even seen the map or Palin’s facebook page, it was worrying because it might affect an effect on “troubled” people.
Turns out that the FRC was ”mentioned” on the SPLC site– it was on a “hate map.” That’s where the thank-God ineffective attempted murderer got his target. From a hate map. They’re hateful, you see– so it’s good to target them.
Target a house seat: dangerous.
Make a “hate map” of those who oppose you politically on an issue: not worth mentioning. In fact, noticing that the attacker specifically stated he chose the target because of that “hate map” means that you are picking a fight.
As Mollie writes in response to a quote about that little detail “reigniting the culture wars that erupted around the shooting:”
Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean? I mean, you have an actual shooting in the culture war – an actual shooting – and you dismiss this aspect of the story as a “detail” that is “sure to reignite the culture wars”? The gall. The chutzpah. The …. hypocrisy of our media. The story doesn’t mention, by the way, that the shooter had a list with other groups whose names he got from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Cherry on top: a guy goes in to kill people he hates, and has a list of other targets that he hates, and intends to assault the dying further with a symbol of yet another group he hates… and the SPLC doesn’t include that as a “hate incident.”