You know the horrific story: three teenagers in some place in Oklahoma gunned down an Australian student on a baseball scholarship “for the fun of it”. Yesterday, prosecutors charged two of the teens with first-degree murder, and the third teen was charged with being an accessory to first-degree murder. With any luck, they’ll be kept in something resembling the Château d’If, never able to see the light of day.
Commentators everywhere have been looking for an angle here to spark a new debate, and on Fox News, they have no time for such paltry things as substantiated claims. Fox News contributor Keith Ablow, during an appearance on the show to discuss the tragedy, mused that there are three real reasons for why the three teenagers killed Christopher Lane: America’s disrespect for life, Facebook, and late-term abortions:
We have people on SecondLife.com simply adopting new identities and so we have a culture that is cheapening life, real life. And if in general, if you can’t outlaw third trimester abortions in every state, then you have part of the answer to why people don’t take life that seriously [...] Facebook is the final common pathway for those people who are acting out in life and some of the people who are there are acting out their sexuality, other people are acting out how happy they are by posting all of these ridiculous pictures, where one is competing against the other to seem more content. But Facebook has become ground zero in the battle to either maintain our identities or to let them go into the web and these three became non people with no feelings for others and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were big users of Facebook and other things Internet-related.
Here’s the video:
And ThinkProgress has a good run-down of the other crazy things Ablow has said on Fox News:
Ablow, who is part of the network’s A-Team, has a long history of wild and unsubstantiated claims. He has previously said that enthusiasm of Anthony Weiner’s sexting partners can be blamed on feminists, access to contraception, and gender equality in the military, suggested that same-sex parents of transgender youth need “psychological evaluations” and charged that working moms are “anti-gender” and “despise the parts of themselves” drawn to motherhood.
I’m not sure what’s worse: a man facing no consequence for taking an innocent life, or the fact that so many are positively gloating about it. I’m really not sure.
A lot of shame to go around tonight, I think.
Updated: 3:30 AM PT
To suggest that it is simply in the nature of black communities to take to violence and criminality when faced with blatant injustice is categorically irredeemable, and as racist a claim I’ve heard in a very long time. A young child is dead; there is nothing to do now except mourn his loss, protest this obvious injustice, and realize that while our criminal justice system has many benefits, it occasionally fails us. There is nothing to do except thank the Martin family (who had the power to incite riots, but stressed peace and reflection instead), and stand in solidarity with them.
I didn’t expect George Zimmerman to be found guilty of second-degree murder. Two people know what happened that night, and one of them is dead. Without substantial evidence, he was always going to escape the murder charge. But manslaughter? To give him a pass on that is mind-boggling. In what universe is a grown man with a firearm who provokes a confrontation and later kills the person with whom he did so, not at least responsible for basic negligence and stupidity?
It’s not every day that old Donald Rumsfeld gets absolutely torn a new one in an interview. Basically, the interview with Kai Ryssdal was to promote his latest book, “Rumsfeld’s Rules”, which hilariously tries to suggest that he still has lessons to share regarding politics and business. The entire interview can be found here. Listening to him squirm when asked how the lessons of his book are in stark contrast to his actions during his life was quite a lot of fun.
One such “rule” he notes in his book is that history will be far kinder to himself and President Bush for, you know, committing war crimes and invading Iraq and Afghanistan:
“I think that history over time will probably be a better judge than you or I, but I’ve been struck by the amount of criticism that the Bush administration has received and President Bush personally and the attempts to assign blame to him and I think it’s probably not going to sort out that way.”
He says President Bush’s decision to enter Iraq is “something that over time will be better understood.”
Anyway, if you’re inclined to read his book, then by all means do so. But take it for what it’s worth – a hysterically hypocritical attempt for one of the more evil war criminals in recent history to seem more like an average guy who had to do extraordinary things. For heavens sake, don’t glean lessons from scum like Rummy.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
The New York Times describes the sad, horrible video above:
This graphic video posted online shows 20 members of one family, including nine children, said to have been killed by government forces in al-Bayda, a village in the Baniyas district. Rebels said the government killed at least 322 Sunnis in Baniyas last week, and hundreds are missing. This video shows dead women and children in a darkened room. One woman’s body is surrounded by five children, while another woman’s head slumps back, a baby on her shoulder. The cameraman repeats, “Oh God, oh God.”
There’s another video making the rounds today, but because it’s so incredibly horrifying and graphic, i’ll just make reference to it here so you can decide whether or not you feel up to watching it. For those of you who wish to skip it, the video shows one of the rebel commanders – the other side of the conflict that the GOP wants us to arm and support – eating the heart of his enemy. You read that correctly. Human Rights Watch describes it more fully:
Meandering around the blogosphere this morning, I came across this video of Andrew Sullivan, conservative blogger and one BaddiesBoogie reads frequently, discussing his previous condemnation of himself over his support for the Iraq war.
I’ve spent some time going over the costs of the war in previous posts, both psychologically and in reality. I’ve lamented the many atrocities perpetuated by our country during the entirety of the conflict; the tens of thousands murdered, tortured, battered; the hundreds of thousands displaced, wounded, scarred; the lingering, unalterable effects of post traumatic stress disorder on tens of thousands of our own troops – causing military suicides to be at their highest point in our history. But Andrew’s video raises another point that I’ve yet to consider: personal guilt.
I was 15 when we invaded Iraq. Like most my age, and apparently older than me, I was swayed by my government that what we were embarking on was both necessary and righteous. I believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I believed that Iraq was in part responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and were trying to perpetuate another attack. I believed in the forceful imposition of democracy in a place I regarded as hostile, broken and chaotic.
I believed those things because I was 15, and I didn’t know any better. I trusted those entrusted to act on my behalf and on the behalf of my family and neighbor: my government. So here’s what I take from Andrew’s point about guilt and blood on his hands: he damn well should feel guilty and he damn well does have blood on his hands. They all do.
All those cognizant and learned enough to know the difference between what the government espoused and what was actually taking place should feel guilty that they didn’t know, with absolute certainty, that the war was both illegal and unnecessary. I don’t say this to be vitriolic, I say this because accountability and shame are powerful tools that can save an entire society from legitimizing future actions predicated on fear and lies. The blood will wash off their hands, eventually. And i’m hopeful that my country that I love so much will remember for the rest of her history that the blood was once there, so that from now on, all hands can be kept clean.