Will Munny: It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have.
The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming…
Will Munny: We all got it coming, Kid.
- Unforgiven, 1992
Update at the end of the post.
So, a guy walks into a crowd and starts killing people…
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
Oh, you have. Well, yeah, I guess it’s been done to death by now, hasn’t it?
Honestly, you have to wonder if nowadays the news media just keeps a generic boilerplate for American gun violence:
<Insert Location>, <insert time/day>, a young <white/black/Latino/Asian/other ethnic minority> <man/woman (it could happen)> wearing <all black/tactical gear/fatigues/body armor> stormed into <his former place of work/his ex-wife’s place of work/a mall/a school/a movie theater/other crowded public venue> and started shooting people with <(liberal audience) a fully automatic assault rifle/(conservative audience)semi-automatic AR-15 Chinese-made clone>. Witnesses say that the <(liberal audience)gunman/(conservative audience) terrorist> was shouting <”Obama is the Anti-Christ!”/”Allah Akbar!”> as he methodically moved from room to room shooting <(circle all that apply): co-workers/family members/ethnic minorities/gay people/former bosses/children/teachers/government employees>. <Police/Forensic Experts/Random people on the street> say that the gunman had enough ammunition and high capacity <(if reporter actually knows anything about guns)magazines/(knows nothing)clips> to <kill dozens/render New York a lifeless wasteland>. After killing <insert number> and wounding <insert number>, the gunman <was shot dead by police/turned his weapon upon himself/
taken down by a heroic good guy with with a concealed carry permit/captured alive but is now in a coma from his injuries>. A <(liberal audience)rambling letter/(conservative audience)manifesto> found on the gunman’s body declared his hatred for <the mind destroying evil of Monsanto and Big Oil/the gay agenda FEMA death camps of the New World Order>. Friends and family say he was <a nice quiet guy with mental problems/a murderous raving lunatic with mental problems). <Roger Powderburn from the National Man-Gun Love Association/Sally Tofuburger from Mad American Mothers Against Mass Murdering Machine-Guns!> called for <mowr guns!/mowr gun control!>. Powerburn was quoted as calling the women of MAMAMMMG gun grabbing <Nazis>. Tofuburger called the men of NNGLA child murdering <Nazis>. <Talk radio pundit> immediately declared the shooting to be <a staged event/false flag operation> by <”crisis actors”/the nefarious machinations of cats/Illuminati/FEMA/Barack Obama/Dick Cheney/Nazis/All of the above). In response to the increasing gun violence, the US House of Representatives voted for the <42nd/49th/101st/etc> time to repeal Obamacare.
Ten (fifteen? twenty? I dunno, I lose track) mass shootings back, I wrote The Seven Stages of Gun Violence.
In that essay I said:
Mass killings are still big news. I have no idea how much longer this will be so, Americans quickly grow bored with sequels. Unless the next act of mass murder is done by a guy in a Bruce Willis costume shooting a chain-gun from the back of a crashing stealth fighter in the middle of Times Square, I suspect that eventually we’ll just stop watching.
I don’t know that we’re entirely bored with gun violence just yet, but we Americans are certainly suffering from gun violence ennui.
In Los Angeles, last Friday, a young white male wearing fatigues stormed into Terminal 3 of LAX Airport and started killing people with a semi-automatic civilian version of the AR-15 assault rifle. Witnesses say the the gunman asked people “Hey! Are you TSA?” as he methodically moved through the crowd shooting at security agents. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the gunman had enough ammunition to “have literally killed everyone in that terminal.” After shooting a TSA agent dead and wounding two other security personnel, the gunman was himself shot multiple times by police and taken into custody. The gunman is currently in the intensive care unit of a local LA hospital and unable to talk to police due to his extensive injuries. A rambling manifesto found on the gunman declared his suspicion of the government in general and the TSA in particular and mentioned fears of a New World Order. Friends and family say that he’d always been a nice guy but they’d grown worried in recent weeks over his sudden raving lunacy and they were concerned that he might be suffering from mental problems. Gun advocates led by the National Rifle Association blamed restrictive gun laws and called for the arming of TSA agents. Gun control advocates called for stronger measures to restrict widespread access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Alex Jones speculated that this latest shooting is part of a false flag operation by the United Nations to take away American sovereignty in preparation for the New World Order in advance of an invasion by alien reptiles from Zeta Reticuli. A spokesman for the US House of Representatives condemned the attack and spoke at length about congress’ ongoing inquiry into the manifold failures during the rollout of President Obama’s signature Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act…
By Sunday, headlines for the shooting had dropped below the front page fold.
By Monday, news of the shooting had fallen off the front page entirely – despite the fact that there was yet another incident of gun violence that evening at a mall in Paramus, New Jersey.
By Tuesday, the LAX Airport shooting didn’t appear on any of the major news media feeds – a direct measure of public interest, or lack thereof (though late Tuesday afternoon, the media did mention the memorial service for slain TSA agent, Gerardo Hernandez). And there was yet another mass shooting at a barbershop in Detroit and another one in Mississippi.
By today, Wednesday, the big new feeds are full of speculation about Twitter’s IPO and Chris Christie’s landslide victory in New Jersey and the shooting has become mostly forgotten history.
Even the usual conspiracy mongers are mostly quiet, though the paranoia-porn fetish site Infowars posted an article about the unfair persecution of those folks who trade freely in unhinged gibbering psychosis – charmingly, it only took two comments under the article for the Hussein Obama Hatin’ New World Order conspiracy nuts to point out that the LAX shooter’s name, Ciancia, contains the three letter abbreviation for the Central Intelligence Agency. Not once, but twice.
the Progressive steaming pile-- do they think nobody would ever notice or have the guts to point out his name?? or are they just that arrogant?? --
if the shooter is connected to the Government they die right then and there ---while the patsy icon shooters always survive so the media can refer to their status instead of discussing real news
meanwhile a kid carrying a toy gun is riddled with bullets -- or a man with a knife in his own front yard is executed--
Because apparently Obama’s One World Illuminati Bilderberg Space-Reptile Magic-Negro Government secretly rules the world from their hidden lair beneath the Denver Airport while constructing clandestine FEMA Death Camps and monkeying with our healthcare, but just somehow isn’t creative enough to name their suicide agents “Smith” or “Johnson” or even “Mohammed.”
No, apparently the only name Obama could come up with for his CIA false flag agent provocateur was, uh, “CIA ‘n CIA.”
You want to actually feel your brain cells dying? Go read the rest of the 500+ comments under the article on Infowars, the above commenter is one of the saner ones – maybe he’s getting free meds through Obamacare.
Question: If the law mandates that we put warning labels on cigarettes, booze, and HipHop albums, why isn’t conservative talk radio required to be labeled in a similar fashion?
Before the blood was even dry at Sandy Hook, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre blamed the violence on video games and Hollywood,
"There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows violence against its own people."
LaPierre went on to call out specific Xbox and PlayStation games such as Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat.
So why isn’t LaPierre this morning condemning conservative talk radio (and his own NRA for that matter) for their unending hysteria fueled conspiracy theories, their repeated strident calls for “Second Amendment Solutions,” and their constant urging of armed uprising against the democratically elected government of the United States? After all, wasn’t the LAX shooter carrying their literature and ideas?
Wayne? Hello? Anything?
No, I thought not.
For the most part, other than among the Alien Reptile Armada waiting behind the moon for Obama’s signal, interest in the LAX shooting dropped off within a day or so.
Now, obviously I can’t prove that this is the far end of the curve I predicted when I penned The Seven Stages Of Gun Violence. We’ll need a couple more public shootings to be sure. Maybe one more elementary school, one more congresswoman shot in the head, one more movie theater, a couple more mass shootings on military bases, to be sure I mean.
So, at the current rate of gun violence and public shootings, figure what? A month, month and a half?
Cynical? Who me?
I could be wrong of course.
In fact, I probably am.
Likely the rapid decline in interest pertains just to this particular incident.
After all, the gunman was targeting a government organization despised by both the Left and the Right.
Sure, the gunman opened fire in a crowded airport, but he only targeted the people that we all hate, right?
And besides, it’s not like the they didn’t have it coming, right?
The only government agency more hated than the Transportation Security Administration is the Internal Revenue Service – and even that’s open to debate.
Since the first day of operation, November 19th, 2001, the TSA has been routinely compared to the Nazis.
Glenn Beck has directly stated that he believes that the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration are the shock troops of some secret army answerable only to Barack Obama. A large number of his followers apparently regard this idea as a given. Wading through the various theories on how exactly Obama plans to have this unarmed “army” take over America when they can’t even defend themselves from a single gunman is an exercise in raving unhinged spittle-flecked insanity – i.e. just another day in the comments section of The Blaze and at Infowars.
Anne Coulter declared airport screenings “Hitler’s last revenge” – because apparently der Fuehrer was deeply concerned that terrorists might hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings in America 70 years after his own death.
Beck, Coulter, Limbaugh, Jones, Savage, and conservative talk radio et al wield the Nazi label with wild abandon, conveniently forgetting that they themselves loudly demanded airtight security with regards to public transportation after the horrific events of September 11th, 2001 and in response to every single airline security issue since – from the Shoe-bomber to the Underwear Bomber to imagined boogymen like exploding Islamic breast implants and Improvised Explosive Sikh Turbans.
Back in 2010, a Libertarian Party candidate for New Jersey governor, one Murray Sabrin, penned a piece for the Economic Policy Journal titled “We Are All German Jews Now." Because, obviously, the next step is for Obama and the TSA to start herding airport passengers into cattle cars on the way to Texas gas chambers. And if you think think that kind of hysterical libertarian fear mongering is past us, get a load of Rachel Burger, writer for the Feminist Libertarian site, Thoughts On Liberty.
Burger writes of Gerardo Hernandez, the slain TSA agent:
[…] Hernandez died in a terrible reminder of how horrible people can be, but that does not mean he was guiltless.
Burger goes on to say that the LAX shooter, Ciancia, didn’t have a beef with the travelling public or innocent civilians, only agents of the hated TSA. Which in Burger’s mind means that Hernandez was a legitimate target and that he got what was coming to him:
Paul Ciancia was a sick and violent murderer, and Gerardo I. Hernandez, the slain TSA agent, was an actor on behalf of the American government that is denying rights to its people.
Least you think I’m reading too much into that, Burger specifically restates and clarifies her reasoning in the comments under the article. She specifically says Hernandez had it coming:
Saying Hernandez was not guiltless and that he had it coming/deserved to get shot are two very different ideas, and I only subscribe to the former.
(Edit: I’ve been accused of misrepresenting Ms. Burger’s position. Addendum at the end of the post, see below)
Burger justifies this ridiculous and despicable worldview by dredging up the Nazis,
As a Jew, I am consistently reminded of the Nuremberg Trials. Those who slaughtered the Jews in the Holocaust were “just following orders,” but that did not mean that they were any less accountable. Just following orders, just doing the job that they signed up for, did not excuse their actions. Of course, the Nuremberg Trials specifically addressed war crimes, but I think that the idea of just following orders extends beyond that. Being an ethical person requires critical thinking about everyday actions, whether commanded or not.
Hernandez signed up to the TSA, an organization devoted to “protect” travelers from terrorists. He could have had very good reasons to do so: he could have believed in the mission and needed to support his family (and on not very much, I might add). He was not a decision maker—he was an everyday guy doing his job. Hernandez, when infringing on Fourth Amendment rights, was “only following orders.” He might have been a good guy at home, but he was not entirely innocent in this situation. Doing without introspection does not absolve evil deeds.
Too bad, as a Jew and all, Burger doesn’t have a better grasp of the fact that those on trial at Nuremberg were there not only because they “were just following orders” but also because they were the type of people who justified murder and violence by stereotyping groups of people they hated and with the logic of “Jawol, it vas a terrible thing, but … vell, you know, ze Juden had it coming.”
Burger tosses in a caveat, a quick get-out-of-jail-free card, by saying that she doesn’t condone what Ciancia did. Violence, Burger says, is never the answer, however…
And there’s always that however, isn’t there?
[…]Infringing on life and liberty can come at a high cost, and that includes death. Ciancia did not object to the TSA in the right way, but he did have every right to feel disdain for their agency […]
How, exactly, the TSA in general and Hernandez specifically, were “infringing on Ciancia’s life and liberty Burger leaves as an exercise for the reader. Last I checked, TSA agents were confined to screening airline passengers in airports, not dragging ethnic minorities from their homes in the middle of the night and shipping them off to death camps.
Maybe it’s just me.
She concludes with this bit of dazzling logic:
The answer is not stricter gun laws or mental health screenings, the answer is a smaller state.
The answer, my shiny electronic friends, is not laws that keep weapons out of the hands of crazy people, it’s less government.
The logic apparently being that if there wasn’t any TSA, there wouldn’t be any TSA to hate and kill.
Sort of like, if there aren’t any Jews … well, you can do the rest of the math for yourself, remember to divide by Hitler and factor the result by the square of a logical fallacy times the Second Amendment.
Burger’s bio says, “When Chuck Norris needs advice, he comes to Rachel Burger.”
That might indeed explain Norris’ behavior during the last election, but I digress.
The comments under Burger’s article are informative. Many, including Burger’s own friends, vehemently disagree with her premise.
But many others piled on:
[…] Agencies like the TSA (or law enforcement, or the "private" corrections industry, etc.) are increasingly becoming employment holding facilities for otherwise-unemployable Americans who are largely unable or unwilling to reflect on the ethical ramifications of their nine-to-five.
It never occurs to any of these commenters, or Burger herself, or the talk radio pundits, that ethics aren’t an absolute. That, in point of fact, the only people who attempt to codify ethics into rigid black and white terms, into my way or the highway, into you’re either with us or against us, are folks like, well, Hitler. It never occurs to any of these libertarian patriots that liberty, freedom, means that other people are going to choose differently than you. If you require men like Gerardo Hernandez to work only at jobs that meet your definition of ethical or risk a well deserved death then I’m not sure exactly which political system you’re referring to but it’s for damned sure not liberty. And where, exactly does this end? Where does the twisted reasoning of “they have it coming” end? What other undesirables have it coming? Oh, yes, Ms. Burger, do let us go down that road, let’s follow it all the way to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen – as long as you’re speaking as a Jew and all.
It never occurs to any of these commenters, or Burger herself, or the talk radio pundits, or those that so utterly hate and despise men like Gerardo Hernandez, they they are engaged in the exact same stereotyping and bigotry they claim to hate, the exact same form of stereotyping and bigotry that leads directly to the very purges people like Burger claim to fear. When you justify “they have it coming” with reasoning such as “otherwise-unemployable Americans who are largely unable or unwilling to reflect on the ethical ramifications” without any shred of supporting proof for your position, then that’s exactly what you’re doing. They seem utterly incapable of seeing their own staggering hypocrisy and they write off men like Hernandez and his fellow agents along with law enforcement, the military, and other selected government workers, as dim witted Morlocks incapable of getting either a “real” job or of examining their own lives in the kind of ethical detail Burger reserves for herself. So, of course, those people just have it coming. Of course they do.
It never occurs to any of these commenters, or Burger herself, or the talk radio pundits, or those that so utterly hate and despise men like Gerardo Hernandez, that perhaps those members of the military, of the Transportation Security Administration, of Homeland Security, of law enforcement, have examined the ethical ramifications of their chosen profession. In detail. That they wrestle with the ethics of their profession every single day as they set about doing their best to prevent another 9-11, another Pearl Harbor, another mass shooting, another dead American. Perhaps they see it as unethical to allow another airplane to be turned into a weapon of mass murder, to allow another innocent to die at the hands of insanity. Perhaps they see themselves as standing between their homes and war’s desolation. Perhaps they see it as their duty to protect their friends, their families, their country, and the very people who hate and openly despise them and who compare them to Nazis each and every day.
So, a guy walks into a crowd and starts killing people…
I don’t know what the answers are, but I do know this: blaming the victims is exactly, exactly, what the Nazis themselves did.
And there’s absolutely nothing funny about that punch line.
Readers, both in the comments and in some truly obnoxious email, have accused me of misrepresenting Rachel Burger’s ideas.
Allow me to clarify:
Burger makes it clear in the context of the overall article, including its title, that she does very clearly believe that as a member of the hated TSA Hernandez did indeed have it coming.
Now, it’s true that she did not say that he “had it coming.”
In fact she denies that’s what she said or meant – this being the point of contention.
She’s just plain full of it.
And so are her apologists.
They’re just playing at semantics.
Allow me an illustration, one applicable to a self-declared feminist-libertarian like Burger:
This woman, she’s a decent person at home, at work. But she’s attractive and she dresses in a manner that shows it off. She likes to go clubbing on the weekends. She likes to dance provocatively, but she goes home by herself. Men say she’s nothing but a cock tease. One night she has a bit too much to drink, she staggers out to the dark parking lot alone … and is attacked and violently raped. The rapist is sick and violent, we can all agree to that, right? But, see, the woman, she’s not guiltless in this matter. If she hadn’t gone out wearing a short skirt and low cut blouse, if she wasn’t attractive, if she wasn’t a tease, if she hadn’t been drinking, if she hadn’t walked out to her car alone, if she’d had a male as a protector like any decent moral woman – if she hadn’t been engaged in evil deeds – well, she wouldn’t have gotten violated. The woman certainly didn’t deserve to get raped, but, she was sort of asking for it, wasn’t she? If she hadn’t made the choices she did, she wouldn’t have gotten raped, would she?
How about it?
Are you going to let me off the hook on that bullshit? Are you really?
Wait, I didn’t tell you what she did. I said she was a decent person at home and at work, but what if she was a lawyer? One that specialized in defending the mob or former Concentration Camp SS guards or maybe child rapists? What if she was an exotic dancer and she spent all week half-naked wrapped around a pole for money? How about if she’s a doctor? One that works for the Virginia Attorney General? One that believes and publically states that any woman who wants an abortion should be subjected to a forced inter-vaginal ultrasound as a condition for the procedure? Would that change your mind? Would you think she maybe had rape coming then?
Would you let me off the hook if I made her into an employee of some hated profession?
Would you really let me off the hook if I tried to say, well, hey, you know, I’m not saying she deserved it, but you can kind of understand how she might have had it coming and all…
Do you think that a self-declared feminist libertarian would let me off the hook on that bullshit?
If I protest that, hey! Whoa! Hang on, let me repeat I didn’t say she deserved it. I’m just saying that if you’re a member of a sick society, if you behave in a certain manner, if you work for certain people, there’s going to be consequences. If I say that, if I use that to defend my position, are you really going to argue that I’m not blaming the victim? Are you really going to argue that I didn’t in fact specifically imply that she had it coming – whether or not I used those exact words? Really?
Because that’s exactly, exactly, what Burger is saying regarding the death of Gerardo Hernandez.
Her essay makes absolutely no sense otherwise.
It’s the core message of Burger’s entire article: Hernandez made himself a target because he chose to work for the TSA.
The TSA is the new Gestapo. The TSA are just like the Nazis – and Burger as a Jew knows what she’s talking about when it comes to Nazis, doesn’t she? She makes that quite clear when she attempts to argue from a position of authority, i.e. by specifying her particular religion and how it gives her perspective on the Nuremberg war crimes trials at the end of WWII. The people who work for TSA are incapable of understanding the ethics of their actions. Therefore, if you work for the TSA you’re guilty of being a Nazi by association – this is the specific unambiguous conclusion of Burger’s very first statement:
Hernandez died in a terrible reminder of how horrible people can be, but that does not mean he was guiltless.
Burger specifically says that even if you’re “just following orders” you’re no less accountable.
He might have been a good guy at home, but he was not entirely innocent in this situation. Doing without introspection does not absolve evil deeds
Evil deeds. Accountable. No less guilty.
Ciancia only targeted the TSA. Because the TSA is engaged in evil. Hernandez wouldn’t have gotten killed if he didn’t work for TSA.
He might not have deserved it per se, but by default he sure had it coming.
Whether Burger and her supporters want to admit it or not, that, right there, is the message of her essay.
Murder, rape, they just go to show you how horrible people can be, but that doesn’t mean the victims are guiltless. Right?
Hernandez had it coming.
Just like the woman who got raped had it coming.
Burger’s apologists want me to let her off on the former statement, but would (I hope) never let me off on the second.
Burger can deny her meaning all she likes, but she’s just arguing semantics.
In her most recent comments, Burger says, “In fact, the word "Nazi" does not appear once in my post…”
Talk about complete and utter disingenuous bullshit.
As a Jew, I am consistently reminded of the Nuremberg Trials. Those who slaughtered the Jews in the Holocaust were “just following orders,” but that did not mean that they were any less accountable
If Burger is not talking about Nazis, as a Jew who exactly is she talking about?
As a writer, Burger fails at both logic and integrity so utterly that it boggles the mind.
Addendum 1: Every time I write one of these, I hope it's the last. But it never is, there's always another massacre. Always.
The Seven Stages of Gun Violence
The Bang Bang Crazy Series:
Part 1, What we need, see, are more guns, big fucking guns
Part 2, Gun violence isn't the exception in America, it's who we are
Part 3, Sandy Hook, the NRA, and a gun in every school
Part 4, More dead kids and why we have laws
Part 5, Gun control and a polite society
Part 6, The Christopher Donner rampage, they needed killin'
Part 7, Still more dead kids and let's print our own guns!
Part 8, Let's try blaming the victim, shall we?
Part 9, Armed soldiers on post, sure, nothing to go wrong there.
Part 10, Big Damned Heroes!
Part 11, Two in the Bush
What do we do about it? How do we change our culture of gun violence? Bang Bang Sanity
Addendum 2: As noted elsewhere, I’ve been around guns my entire life. My dad taught me to shoot when I was a kid – in fact the very first gun I ever fired was my dad’s prized black powder .75 caliber smooth bore Civil War trench piece when I was about four years old. I still own my very first gun, bought from Meyer’s Thrifty Acres in Jenison, Michigan, for me by my dad when I was fourteen years old – a lever action Winchester 30-30. I got my first deer with that gun. I grew up shooting, at home, in the Boy Scouts, hunting, target shooting, plinking, with friends and with family. Thirty years ago I joined the military and spent my entire life there. I know more than a little about guns. I’m a graduate of the Smith & Wesson Rangemaster Academy, the nation’s premier firearms instructor school. I’m a certified armorer and gunsmith. I’ve attended pretty much every boarding officer and gun school the military has. I hold both the Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medals. I’ve taught small arms and combat arms to both military and civilians for nearly thirty years now. I’ve fired damned near everything the US military owns, from the old .38 revolver to a US Navy Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser’s 5” main battery – and everything in between. I can still field strip a Colt .45 M-1911 pistol and put it back together in under a minute, blindfolded – I happen to own several of them, along with numerous other semi-auto pistols and a number of revolvers. I used to shoot professionally and in competition. I helped to design, test, field, and fire in combat US Military weapons systems. I’ve spent my entire life in places where gun usage is extremely, extremely, common. I have a Concealed Carry Permit. I’m an Alaskan and I typically carry a gun in the wilds of Alaska on a regular basis. I am neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, a gun is a tool, nothing more. If you feel that I’m ignorant of guns, or that I’m anti-gun, or unAmerican, well, you’re welcome to speak your piece – just so long as you can live with what comes after.