Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times: Garland Shooting Happened at “Anti-Islam” Event

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 pm

An L.A. Times headline reads:

Outside Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, 2 gunmen are killed and guard is shot

But R.S. McCain notes that the headline did not always read this way. Indeed, dozens, maybe even hundreds of people throughout Southern California who still subscribe to this rag were treated to this headline when they picked up the paper from their driveway yesterday:

The focus, for the L.A. Times, is the “anti-Islam” (actually anti-Islamic fanatic) nature of the gathering, and not the tremendous danger to free speech that such a shooting entails. And that’s the wrong focus. (It’s wrong even though it’s the position taken by NYT reporters and MSNBC and Vox and the L.A. Times. Weird, huh?)

There seems to be a debate between, on one hand, 1) the anti-Geller/Spencer/Wilders types, and on the other hand, 2) a group consisting of both a) pro-Geller/Spencer/Wilders types and b) people who worry about the effects on speech of fanatics claiming a heckler’s veto by virtue of killing anyone whose speech they don’t like.

You can put me firmly in the latter camp, and although I am more of a “2b” type of guy, it doesn’t really matter today whether I’m an “a” or a “b.” What matters is that I am a 2.

I’ve been trying for a while to think of a good analogy, and I just can’t. Here’s the best I can do: if a group went around saying that they were going to kidnap and torture and kill anyone who picked their nose in public, and then they actually kidnapped and tortured and killed a 6-year-old nose-picker, my first reaction would not be to distance myself from the nose-pickers. (Not even if the nose-picker were 46 years old instead of six.) In fact, I might start picking my nose in public with one hand while flipping them off with the other. To take such an action would not reflect a philosophical renunciation of Kleenex as the best way to dispose of mucus crust, but rather a desire to stand alongside those threatened or hurt for ridiculous reasons.

Kind of like this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 6.29.14 PM
Above: the prophet Mohammed depicted in art

Which is not to compare Geller/Spencer/Wilders to nose-pickers, obviously, but just to say that even if you concede for the sake of argument that their speech is off-putting, it doesn’t matter. My point is that even if you find Pam Geller or Robert Spencer or Geert Wilders distasteful, and/or you would never engage in the kind of rhetoric that they espouse, that is really irrelevant to the question of our need to denounce those who would kill them for their speech.

I don’t think it means you have to praise Geller & Co. or agree with them, by the way. Although I think it’s not improper to admire the courage they are showing, regardless of how you feel about their beliefs or their speech.

UPDATE: As often happens, Eugene Volokh says what I was thinking, but says it better, in a post about speech as defiance. He also embeds the winning entry in Geller’s event, which captures the spirit beautifully. I would embed it here, but I is a-skeered.

Just kidding. Here you go.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 8.18.03 PM

57 Responses to “L.A. Times: Garland Shooting Happened at “Anti-Islam” Event”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. “One supports free speech by supporting those who speak freely.”
    – Ace

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  3. The left (LAT, organ of the left) have a lot in common with radical Islam, not the least of which is a visceral hatred of the United States of America and much of the West.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  4. This is what freedom of speech is all about!

    la timer (ed01fc)

  5. Just another example of leftist mendacity. They will never, ever, take the side of decency and honor, as they simply lack the capacity. It’s not a mental illness, it’s a deliberate and ugly choice. It’s beyond hope that they’ll ever return to being true liberals. And it will only get worse.

    Beasts of England (e765da)

  6. Southern California Parakeets on Strike! “L.A. Times unfit to sh*t on”, squawks union leader Petey.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  7. How twisted does your mind have to be to even think that way. It’s a special skill alright.

    Gazzer (c1d25a)

  8. it’s groveling as if the attempts against the Library tower, and LAX never happened, the Times is nearly as bad, with their former Wendy Davis desk chief (how do you end up with that job)

    narciso (ee1f88)

  9. It was an anti-Islam event. It was protected by our Constitution, and no one had the right to get violent.
    But it wasn’t an anti-Jihadist event, it was an “offend a Muslim” event.

    I’m happy to denounce the violence and am glad they were the ones who lost the confrontation.

    But I will stick to what I’ve said before, that with rights come responsibilities, and when everyone focuses on claiming their rights instead of exercising their responsibilities there will be strife.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  10. This is one of those, “They came for the Jews, and I didn’t say anything because I’m not a Jew,” moments.

    We shall all hang together, or we’ll hang separately.

    Maybe y’all think I’m being a drama queen when I say we’re out of hills to die on. Fresh out of hills.

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  11. The (fake but accurate) headline at (CBS) Marketwatch: 2 killed at Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas

    They had a Muhammad cartoon contest and killed a couple of people for the hell of it.

    Dave (in MA) (bf6d32)

  12. One thing that people often forget, or ignore, is that images of Muhammad are just the beginning, the camel’s nose under the tent if you will.

    Islamic culture actually forbids all representative art.

    gahrie (12cc0f)

  13. actually no, that’s the salafi interpretation:

    narciso (ee1f88)

  14. True, narciso. A trip to Damascus would prove that fact.

    Your Personal Art Historian
    …because everyone needs a personal art historian

    Great Mosque of Damascus

    …t’s been suggested that the basis for mosque architecture is the house of the Prophet Mohammad, which is described as a walled enclosure containing a courtyard and a covered section. In Damascus, the architect borrowed elements of the basilica while creating an enclosed building with a great courtyard and a series of aisles made of reused marble columns supporting the roof, and facing the direction of prayer. The direction of prayer is marked by mihrabs in the qibla wall. (A mihrab is a niche that marks the direction of prayer.) There are four mihrabs, added at different times. (Later mosques will rarely have more than one mihrab.) The Great Mosque of Damascus is an entirely new kind of building, built on a grand scale. Over subsequent centuries, mosque architecture will develop into many variations, taking on shapes that are familiar to the local region, but the basic idea of a sizable prayer hall facing Mecca with an adjoining courtyard will remain the same.

    As on the Dome of the Rock, mosaics were used to decorate the Great Mosque of Damascus, in this case, on the exterior. The mosaics were done by local Byzantine craftsmen – the Byzantines were known for the amazing quality of their mosaic, the most expensive of which contain gold leaf, causing them to reflect the light and take on a glittering, golden appearance easily associated with the divine. At the Great Mosque of Damascus, the mosaics depict trees, gardens, fountains, and palaces, but no people or living beings. (A detail of one of these stretches across the top of this page.) They may be a depiction of paradise, which in the Koran is described as a garden. Although the mosaics were created by Byzantine Christian artisans, it is only the medium (mosaic) which is Byzantine, not the content. The content was designed to be suitable for a mosque. It is notable how Islamic religious art from its earliest expression here on the Great Mosque of Damascus and on the Dome of the Rock was distinctly separate from Christian art. Although the religion was only half a century old, the injunction against representation of living things was already observed. In most later religious buildings (this is not true of secular buildings), it will be more strictly observed, and plants and trees will be either omitted or made less natural and abstracted into the beautiful patterns which are one of the hallmarks of Islamic art…

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  15. Very well expressed post. I also like Ace’s treatment, which just gets down to how we should refuse to cooperate when someone is using terrorism to thwart free speech. It might be easier for some to understand if they compare the cartoons to a sit-in. Yes, it’s going to provoke and upset some people, in this case people who think your speech must be silenced with violence. That is the problem the cartoons are a demonstration against.

    Islamic culture actually forbids all representative art.

    It depends. There are fanatics who are fanatic about being fanatical. If they win on this, they will find something more restrictive to demand via threats. It almost seems like a contest to be as fanatical as possible. To the point of hijacking planes full of innocent women and children and flying them into huge buildings full of innocent people at work.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of Muslims, and have been, who don’t have a problem with the art Patterico posted. There are Muslims who draw Muhammed. There are, of course, peaceful and very American Muslims who let their wives drive cars and otherwise be full people, don’t hang gays, don’t try to use terrorism to make a point, etc. Some of them condemned this attack. Those folks are often oppressed by the fanatical folks. And thanks to how media works, I fear that more and more, the fanatics are getting to define what Islam truly is. It is exactly like Westboro getting to decide what Christianity is.

    With that in mind, of course it is not an offensive protest against Christianity to express things in a way that would make Westboro Baptist extremely offended and angry. I can see a gay couple or even an athiest without freaking out, and of course I’d be irritated if every time there was a gay couple someone said it was an anti-christian event. The media doesn’t realize that when it conflates cartoons protesting terrorism with ‘anti-islam’ it is defining Islam worse than Gellar would. Part of the problem is that they are failing to see, or ignoring, what the cartoons are really expressing (which is a defiant protest of violence against freedom).

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  16. That probably wasn’t the best example. The Great Mosque is significant because it does depict creation. It doesn’t show people, though. But I have art, in books, from the period of the crusades that does.

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  17. key word…

    But I will stick to what I’ve said before, that with rights come responsibilities, and when everyone focuses on claiming their rights instead of exercising their responsibilities there will be strife.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  18. Exactly. Here’s the guy who built the Taj Mahal, getting ready to marry his son off.

    kishnevi (91d5c6)

  19. Islam will not be punished. It is the punishment.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  20. And here is no less than the Big M meeting Gabe for tge first time, as imagined c. 1425

    kishnevi (adea75)

  21. MD not in Philly,

    I’m not sure I agree with you. Offense for the sake of offense discredits the speaker, but that’s different from offense that comes from speaking the truth. If it comes down to choosing between offense and truth, and sometimes it does, then I think Christians should speak the truth.

    Perhaps you see Geller’s art exhibit as intended solely to offend but I see it as trying to show how radicalized Islam has become, because some Muslims are willing to kill over art.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  22. This post is why I always trust Patterico.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  23. I totally support the contest, but I do agree it was kind of dumb. But protecting offensive or dumb speech is exactly what the First Amendment is supposed to do.

    If it were me–and it would not be me, because I am not as brave as Geller–I would have put on an exhibit of Mohammed depictions throughout the centuries. Nice paintings, old political cartoons like David Low’s. Nothing satiric at all.

    Would have knocked the jihadis for a loop.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  24. Someone may have shared the link and in my haste I didn’t see it, but this is a thing of beauty…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  25. 24.This post is why I always trust Patterico.

    True. It is an excellent post.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  26. UPDATE: As often happens, Eugene Volokh says what I was thinking, but says it better, in a post about speech as defiance. He also embeds the winning entry in Geller’s event, which captures the spirit beautifully. I would embed it here, but I is a-skeered.

    Just kidding. Here you go.

    Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 8.18.03 PM

    Patterico (9c670f)

  27. ==Offense for the sake of offense discredits the speaker, but that’s different from offense that comes from speaking the truth==

    Heh, DRJ, the comments from those who take the time to post on Patterico’s site on a variety of threads and issues are all over the map. And every single one of us believes we are “speaking the truth”.

    elissa (bf46d6)

  28. A micro-aggression can get you booted from a university or a job.

    With that as the benchmark, shooting macro-aggressors like Geller doesn’t seem like such a stretch.

    ThOR (a52560)

  29. We could all be wrong, elissa.

    But it is because I think I’m speaking the truth that I speak my mind.

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  30. The focus, for the L.A. Times, is the “anti-Islam” (actually anti-Islamic fanatic) nature of the gathering,

    I’ve noticed through the years that certain news events or public figures — on occasion — will be described in basically similar terms by both right-leaning media organizations and left-leaning ones. For example, envision the headline of “George Bush Hits New Low in Gallup Poll.” The thrust of that will not draw suspicion from me if it’s reported by the Washington Times versus the Washington Post. But if the exact same headline, on the exact same subject (and statistics) were in the “lefty” Post, I’d be suspicious of what motivated it.

    The group supported by Pamela Geller is anti-Islam, and that’s the simple truth. There’s nothing wrong with such sentiment. No more wrong than it would be to describe a gathering of people angry at and defending the victims of, say, Bill Cosby as “anti-rape.”

    A religion founded by bloodthirsty, vengeful Mohammed should trigger “anti” reactions in sensible, decent, sane people.

    Mark (607f93)

  31. Well, duh, Steve. That’s what I just said, isn’t it?

    elissa (bf46d6)

  32. The l.a. times
    A pedophiles dream

    mg (31009b)


    Ok so the $45K gatling gun is out of the question.


    Really, what worth having can be?

    Just kidding.

    The Devil’s Brigade – The Canadians Arrive

    I like Canadians.

    At RIMPAC a few years back they were sinking an outdated US warship. Which I always hate, as somebody loved her.

    The Canadians dipped their colors.

    This is a a salute you can return, but you don’t normally initiate as it’s symbolic of surrender. But the target was no threat.

    Damn Canadians!

    The sinking of USS CUSHING (DD 985)

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  34. 33. Well, duh, Steve. That’s what I just said, isn’t it?
    elissa (bf46d6) — 5/5/2015 @ 9:12 pm

    Did I mention I got kicked in the head by a mule when I was a kid?

    I used to shovel out Charlie O’s stable.

    My claim to fame.

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  35. A man is at a bar and every time he orders a drink he tells the bartender “And send one down to Donkey at the end of the bar.” pointing at a slightly scruffy man. He does this for 3 or 4 drinks then pays his tab and leaves.
    The barkeep goes over to Donkey and says, “Nice of him to buy you drinks, but why does he call you Donkey?”
    And he replied, “Eeyore, eeyore Ee always calls me that…”

    Gazzer (c1d25a)

  36. I don’t “surprise” the equidae anymore.

    Hoo boy.

    I can’t prove the correlation/causation thing but when I’m slow on the uptake I use it as an excuse.

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  37. From the ISIS memo,
    Our intention was to show how easy we give our lives for the Sake of Allah.

    Sorry, I’m a bit slow on the uptake, as is Steve57 sometimes, can you show us again please?

    Gazzer (c1d25a)

  38. Every time I read of ISIS gimp warriors sacrificing themselves, I haz a sad.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  39. In fact, I might start picking my nose in public with one hand while flipping them off with the other

    You should pick your nose with one finger and flick them off with the same finger… in their general direction.

    IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  40. I think it’s more accurate to say the mule kicked at me.

    If the mule had landed, I wouldn’t be here.

    Nice horsey. I want you to know exactly where I am so we don’t have any more misunderstandings.

    Nice horsey. I’m behind you.

    Nice horsey.

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  41. These kinds of things don’t always happen to the other guy.

    Thing was, I wasn’t being a jerk. I was just trying to do my job.

    But horses and mules aren’t machines. Lesson learned.

    Steve57 (818fa4)

  42. Thank you for reminding me why I dropped my subscription a decade ago. I think they are now down to a quarter of the people over 50, an age that rises one year per year.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  43. i’m not really blown away by the winner

    happyfeet (831175)

  44. happyfeets, the winner’s not responsible for blowing people away.

    That’s the job of the police officer at the front entrance.

    Russ from Winterset (d684a4)

  45. The real islamaphobes are those condemning the contest because it was provocative –

    Nothing associated with islam is compatible with progressive values, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-free speech, murder of innocents (not withstanding the murder of the innocent unborn),

    The concept of Co-Exist is simply a submission to allah.

    Are the progressives too scared to defend what they really believe?

    joe (debac0)

  46. yes yes good shootin tex

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  47. I’m not a theologian, elissa, but in that case I think that should all be good speech to Christians. The distinction I’m making is whether the intent is to offend or whether the intent is to inform, educate, and speak what the speaker views as the truth. There is absolute truth but one reason we need to discuss topics is we need human and divine guidance to find it.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  48. Thank you for this post, Patterico. Trust me, I have heard all the “they had it coming” arguments on campus. Yet these are the same people who think a person they view as maligned can say or do whatever they like (take “slut walks,” for example).

    I think the underlying philosophy is cowardice, and I also think it is cultural elitism.

    Example. If you were to draw offensive cartoons about Mormons, why, the Mormons might bring you a hot dish and pray for you. If you make jokes about observant Christians as “gap toothed hicks,” why, those observant Christians will pretty much pray for you.

    But if you say offensive things about Islam or Muslims, you are eeevvviiiillll. So if the Muslims call for death, why, you shouldn’t have stirred them up.

    You see, I think the Left actually believes that the West *is* better, and those poor benighted savages elsewhere just can’t control themselves. So don’t upset them.


    I actually like the cartoon you posted. It’s not at all offensive. And it would have been easy in that crowd to go for the super offensive stuff.

    I’ve already posted too much, but I became a free speech absolutist because of Greg Lukianoff of FIRE. When Ward Churchill wrote that nasty essay after 9/11, I was furious. I wanted him fired. Driven out of town on a rail. GL schooled me kindly and logically: the solution to speech with which you do not agree is MORE speech, not less.

    Obviously, I don’t necessarily like that approach at a party or in my living room. But we need it as a culture.

    Sorry for the sermon. Again, Patterico, a truly fabulous post.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  49. “Let’s remember that the only people today who are threatening violence against others for expressing political views are radical Muslims. That happens to be the reality. You don’t have Jews trying to threaten Farrakhan. You don’t have Christians trying to use violence against people who use anti-Christian rhetoric.”

    – Alan Dershowitz

    Does it matter if the intent was to offend? It highlights a group that is willing to suppress speach that it doesn’t like by killing people. Christians have been accused of wanting to control people’s lives, yet here is an organization that actually does want to control thought and lives and the outrage is focused on the speech. The left is saying that Muslims are infantile and we must cowtow to their ever request because they don’t have control over themselves and will go on a murderous rage at the drop of a hat. Therefore we must walk around on eggshells lest they blow up.

    The problem isn’t the speech, no matter how offensive it is, the problem is the reaction.

    Like the gaystopo, not only must you tolerate them, you must participate. Where the gaystopo will ruin your life, the Muslim will end your life. You must speak respectfully of every aspect of their religion on the threat of death.

    Tanny O'Haley (c674c7)

  50. Tanny,

    I agree with you from a secular, government standpoint. It’s easy to support well-intentioned speech but it’s the offensive speech we need to be sure is protected as a nation. On the other hand, my discussion of offense, intent, and truth was an effort to respond from a Christian standpoint to MD in Philly’s comment.

    DRJ (e80d46)

  51. I agree completely with your comment to MD in Philly, DRJ

    I PICKED UP ON “intent to offend” because the phrase fit the article title and the LAT and other MSM articles and broadcasts.

    Tanny O'Haley (c674c7)

  52. @iowahawkblog: You can sense the anguish among most of the media that Pamela Gellar wasn’t assassinated last night.

    Tanny O'Haley (c674c7)

  53. @iowahawkblog: Feel free to call speech you don’t like “hate speech.” Just don’t feel free to shut it down.

    Tanny O'Haley (c674c7)

  54. happyfeets, the winner’s not responsible for blowing people away.

    That’s the job of the police officer at the front entrance.

    Russ from Winterset (d684a4) — 5/6/2015 @ 5:14 am


    carlitos (c24ed5)

  55. Looking at the winning entry it appears that Muhammad is depicted as left-handed. Just how the drawing worked out, or intentional? I’d like to think the latter.

    Chris (7cbedb)

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