05
May
15

deliberate provocation

635662872197388737-EPA-USA-GEERT-WILDERS-KEYNOTE

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Yesterday morning, a reader from France alerted me to two incidents which took place in a Dallas suburb on Sunday night: a “free speech” event—a cartoon contest and exhibition of depictions of the Prophet Mohammed—and the concomitant shooting of two gunmen who had been enticed to travel from Arizona to disrupt the event.

There is a trite saying that the guarantee of free speech does not entitle one to shout “fire!” in a crowded movie theatre. While this instance provides proof that “free speech” can indeed provoke an inappropriate reaction from some wackos out there, it really doesn’t do anything to promote the mutual respect and forbearance required of all people in a society for free speech to exist.

Consider first of all where this event took place. Dallas will always be remembered as the intemperate place where JFK was gunned down. Whether you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was “lone gunman” or “patsy,” it is hard to imagine any more fitting place than Dallas for the assassination to have happened. The Dallas “cartoon contest” attracted 200-300 participants, depending on who you ask.

Now consider whether cartoons of the Prophet are a worthy subject for marking a “free speech” line in the sand? Sure, people in a free society should be allowed to pen a cartoon of anybody, but who gives a damn? Does the world really need to be “illuminated” by your shallow scribbles? Why don’t you tackle some really substantive subject matter, like why the Judeo/Christian/Islamic religions inspire so much discord and hatred? Staging a Muhammad cartoon contest is like waving a red cloth at a bull. Invite Geert Wilders (the right-wing Dutch politician) as your keynote speaker, and it’s a BIG red cloth.

The contest was hosted by the New York-based “American Freedom Defense Initiative” (AFDI), which put up a $10,000 award for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad, plus $50,000 for security. Described by some as a hate group, AFDI has among other activities sponsored anti-Islamic advertising campaigns in transit systems across the country. Pamela Geller, AFDI president, defended the event on Monday: “In a pluralistic society you have offensive speech, you have ideas, you have an exchange of ideas. You don’t shut down a discussion because ‘I’m offended.'”

Yeah right. A discussion. More like a turkey shoot.

Luckily, no one but an unarmed security guard was hurt any worse than being shot in the ankle. The two shooters, who had placed themselves in harm’s way, were shot dead by the police who were all geared up and expecting trouble. I’m sorry anyone had to die, but in this instance, the gene pool was at least cleaned out a little. The shooters fell for the provocation. It was stupidity worthy of an episode on Trailer Park Boys.

elton-simpson-1_thumbOne of the dead shooters is identified as Elton Simpson, an Arizona man who was previously the subject of a terror investigation. He’s from Phoenix and television stations there are reporting the second shooter was Simpson’s roommate, Nadir Soofi. The two men attended the Islamic Center of North Phoenix together. According to the blog Zero Hedge, the shooters had claimed they were aligned with ISIS, which is now claiming responsibility.

The $60,000 AFDI expense was the equivalent of offering a $30,000 per-head bounty on dumb asses. I didn’t know they were worth that much. But it just doesn’t seem right. Culling the mentally-deficient went out long ago with the Nazis.

Today we elect our idiots President.

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3 Responses to “deliberate provocation”


  1. 1 anonymouse
    May 5, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Maybe it was a provocative idea to have this little cartoon festival, whether in Texas or anywhere else, but perhaps no more provocative than a three-day public trampling of the American flag on a public college campus and then having the woman/veteran who saved the flag arrested for criminal trespass (Valdosta), wiping feces on a religious statue or painting at a major metropolitan museum and calling it art (New York), or marching in a gay rights parade dressed as a Catholic priest or nun engaged in deviant sexual acts just to elicit a horrified response from Christian conservatives (San Francisco, Miami, Washington). In America, people do a lot of stupid, hurtful, and shameful things in the name of exercising their “rights”.

  2. 2 dandailey
    May 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I just saw this article and thought you’d be interested:

    Why Pam Geller’s Muslim-baiting stunt in Garland was a big fat flop
    by Peter Weber, The Week
    May 7, 2015

    It is unseemly to speak ill of the dead, but Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were useful idiots.

    The two men—who drove to Garland, Texas, from their apartment in Phoenix to shoot up a contest where the $10,000 prize went to a cartoonist deemed to have drawn the best mocking picture of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed—were the only Muslims who rose to the provocation of Pamela Geller and her organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

    Geller is trumpeting Sunday’s foiled attack as a victory for herself, and “truth and freedom.” It was neither. It was a victory for the Garland police force, and especially for the unidentified traffic cop who heroically shot dead two heavily armed, well-armored gunmen with a .45 caliber Glock pistol. For Geller’s group, the event was a flop.

    The only reason to rent a giant convention center for a cartoon-drawing contest is publicity. If the subject of the contest is an image deemed blasphemous by large segments of a major world religion, well then you can add provocation to the list of motives. That fits with Geller: Muslim-baiting and publicity-chasing are sort of her things.

    The Dallas area’s sizable Muslim community reacted using the same strategy my mother advises when confronted with inflammatory idiocy: They ignored her. There were no protesters outside Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center, no angry op-eds, no griping to the national news media, no trying to tap into the well-oiled outrage machine. Nobody outside of the Dallas Metroplex would have ever heard of the contest if not for Simpson, 31, and Soofi, 34.

    By haplessly dying, Simpson and Soofi deprived Geller of what she most wants, which is for us to be afraid of Muslims, like she is.

    The murderous assault on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo sparked a heated discussion on the merits of free speech versus “hate speech,” but not even Charlie Hebdo wants any part in Geller’s “harsh” and “anti-Islamic movement,” as Charlie Hebdo cartoonists Jean-Baptiste Thoret and Gerard Biard explained to Charlie Rose on Monday:

    The Charlie Hebdo attack convinced France to enact a new surveillance law that curbs the liberté and arguably the fraternité parts of the French motto. What will the Garland attack change? Probably nothing — though if I were in charge of renting out space in convention centers, or sending police to guard events, I would probably be less inclined now to book any gathering sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

    Geller and her allies have the constitutional right to draw cartoons of whomever they want, or to pay other people to—just as the National Socialist Party of America had the right to march through the heavily Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie in 1977 wearing swastika armbands. Or as artist Andres Serrano had the right to photograph a crucifix immersed in a jar of his urine and call it art (though, it should be noted, hammer-wielding Christian protesters in France vandalized Serrano’s “Piss Christ” in 2011, rendering it “beyond repair”).

    You famously don’t have the right to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, and Geller didn’t. She tried to light a fire, and instead it rained. The Council on American-Islamic Relations isn’t responsible for every Muslim in America any more than the Anti-Defamation League is responsible for Geller, or Geller is for every anti-Muslim attack in America (like the one in a suburb next to Garland on Monday). But CAIR has found the right reaction to Muslim-baiting stunts: Nothing.

    It would be nice if all Muslims ignored Geller and her ally Robert Spencer. Few will be more pleased than Geller when they don’t.


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