14 July 2016

Targets

Now Dallas is the sight of a series of shootings. One fool with a rifle killed five officers before they killed him. There is a lot to say about this horrible week, and much that should not be said.

One of the things I think I am learning is that Twitter can be fun and entertaining, but like rifles, in the wrong hands it can be tool of evil. Illinois has many daughters and sons to be proud of, this is the home of Lincoln, Douglas, John Peter Altgeld, Jane Addams, Ellen Starr, Bp, Philander Chase, Cyrus McCormick, and many others. It is also to our shame the home of Joe Walsh.

Former Congressman Walsh, we do rectify our mistakes in Illinois, so he is a former Congressman, has a talk show. It is amazing to me that so many failures, left and right wing, land up with talk shows. Walsh's show is not on my listening list, so I cannot tell you much about it.Ah but by the magic of Twitter, I can tell somethings about his actions.

After the 5 murders in Dallas, before the other recent shootings aimed at working cops, many of us wanted to express our respect and appreciation for the thousands of honest and fair police in our nation, and our horror at the evil in Dallas. Groups ranging from Black Lives Matter to the Senate Majority expressed their sorrow, anger and concern for the families of the killed and support for the families and the wounded officers. Flowers and teddy bears, the common symbols of our love and mourning began to pile up at the Dallas Police headquarters, Go Fund Me efforts to support the victims proliferated. At the same time, similar memorials and Go Fund Me efforts for the two men killed in Minnesota and Louisiana were continuing to draw support. Both Euro-Americans and Afro-Americans were contributing to both.

Into our already existing horror, Joe Walsh saw fit to insert his racist Tweet. Calling the Black Lives Matter group, "punks" and disrespecting President Obama, he wrote, "This is war." He blatantly called for a race war, and with, "Watch out Obama" he identified a target. As might be predicted, his Tweet drew a firestorm like swirl of angry posts in the short time it took Twitter managers to remove it, and it was quickly copied and preserved in other places by those who didn't want him to be able to claim he was misquoted.

Those of us who prefer to emphasize that he is a former congressman are not surprised that he is defending the Tweet. He claims he was not calling for race war or assassination. I suppose if I were looking at a couple felony indictments, I too would claim my cowardly, racist posts were benign.

Three things I think I have learned:
  1. The swift angered reaction from Euro-Americans suggests some of us are finally learning to understand white racism exists and is evil.
  2. Free speech and the marketplace of ideas work. It was only a few minutes before Twitter clients were alerting both Twitter management and both Illinois and Federal law enforcement to the post.
  3. No one can accuse WLS management of courage. Walsh still has his job.
We are all learning that our common tongue is littered with with code words. "Persecution" now means to fundamentalist/evangelicals, the denial of white privilege. "Watch out" when combined with, "This is war" is a targeting instruction worthy of ISIL.

We are perhaps learning that we have over militarized law enforcement. Given the circumstances, I find it difficult to criticise the decision to use deadly force against the murderer. Five police lives were five too many, and risking others would have been unconscionable. I do however find the fact that the battlefield remote bomb was available to the police disturbing. But not its use! That is appropriate given the circumstances, and I along with many horrified Americans have only support, prayers, and tears to offer.

In contrast to the justified use of force in Dallas, the killings in Minnesota and Louisiana loom large and ugly. We need more police like the professionals in Dallas who ran towards the shooter, and fewer who make up threats after they kill black men.

If there is one thing we do not need in this mix of anger and pain, it is the vitriol and in my reading, stupidity seen in posts like Joe Walsh offers. Illinois has done over the decades so much better.

FWIW

4 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JCF said...

A troll...but not just any troll. Identify troll's user ID, and report to the Secret Service. THEN delete&block.

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

This comments has a few minor corrections, but is otherwise the same as the one deleted by me.
I very seldom delete a comment. It is my view that while legal, "free speech" applies only to government and not to blog owners, the widest expression of opinions leads to the most refinement and sharing of concepts and even, occasionally, beliefs. None-the-less, I have blanked out the comment above because it was a blatant violation of my few comment rules.

First it was not "within musket shot of the topic." I wrote about my reactions to the Dallas murders. I wrote not one word about gun control, not one word about restricting in any way, citizen access to firearms. The comment did as JCE wrote, troll. It was in no way related to the article I wrote.

Second it (falsely) attempted to label me with opinions and actions. I suppose a blog owner has to expect some of that, but given the blatant failure to pay even marginal attention to article, if not academically ad hominem, (I think it was) at the very least was on the border.

Finally, while I do not think the disjointed, ungrammatical rant constituted a threat against Mr. Obama or anyone else, I read it more as a curse, it again was at best in very bad taste.

So, the comment violates my rules and has been taken down. Fair warning, I shall do exactly the same thing to any follow on comments by the author.


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