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June 02, 2009

Two lives

Scsarahp0602 Gov. Sarah Palin draws an important, and largely overlooked, connection:

The stories of two very different lives with similar fates crossed through the media's hands yesterday — both equally important but one lacked the proper attention. The death of 67-year old George Tiller was unacceptable, but equally disgusting was another death that police believe was politically and religiously motivated as well.

William Long died yesterday. The 23-year old Army Recruiter was gunned down by a fanatic; another fellow soldier was wounded in the ambush. The soldiers had just completed their basic training and were talking to potential recruits, just as my son, Track, once did.

Whatever titles we give these murderers, both deserve our attention. Violence like that is no way to solve a political dispute nor a religious one. And the fanatics on all sides do great disservice when they confuse dissention with rage and death.

(Image © AP)

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More from Jeffrey Goldberg of "The Atlantic": http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/06/a_conspiracy_of_euphemism.php


I'm with you folks (yes, even with Sarah Palin--never thought I'd say that) on this. It is obvious that the soldiers were shot by an Islamic zealot, just as Tiller was gunned down by a Christian zealot. It is also unavoidable that the uncompromising belief systems of both men led them to murder. One was fed hatred by hyper-religious Islamic propagandists. The other was prodded into action by hyper-religious folks like Randall Terry and the propagandists of Fox News and right-wing talk radio.


Andy, I feel like jumping between you and the attack squadron that's assembling...

Are you saying that neither murderer is responsible, or at least that the inciters are complicit?

And, are you saying that there's a distinction between "hyper-religious" Christianity and other kinds? You seem to contradict that, in the same sentence, lumping Randall Terry in with right-wing media propagandists.

Finally, it's straightforward to show that Christianity is incompatible with zealotry. (Jesus even had a Zealot disciple, who had to eat with Matthew the tax collector, rather than killing him.) Is it similarly straightforward to do that with Islam?

Nice to see you and Governor Palin arm-in-arm, though. ;-)


Attack squads? On this blog? Surley not, but thanks for the cover, Lee.
And yes, I am drawing an equivalency between the kind of rhetoric on the far-right of Christianity and the far-right of Islam. As we see, the results are horrifically similar. That's my take, and this week has only reinforced my view.

As for Terry, his joy at Tiller's death was obvious in his statement. (Which he followed up by stating his preferences in beer and chicken wings, in case any of the reporters wanted to treat him. Classy.)


Hm. Well, Andy, I tried. But since your response was so incomplete, I'll need to step aside and let someone ask you for the URLs of the right-wing Islamic blogs where you've complained about their leaders and their media.

I do worry, a bit, about your state of cognitive dissonance, since Gina and others here are regular viewers of Fox plus listeners to conservative radio, and yet condemn the murder of Dr. Tiller. What is it that prevents all the Christians at The Point from shooting up their nearest Planned Parenthood site? Gotta be something... certainly not a lack of guns...

Mike D'Virgilio

Propagandists of Fox News and right-wing talk radio? Oh please. You sound like a walking cliche. What are people with opinions on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, The LA Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, et al? Prodded into action? To kill? By whom? Reckless slander, but typical of our not so friendly friends on the left.

Benjamin Ady

Interesting that the supposedly "Christian" murderer has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault, while the supposedly "Muslim" murderer has been charged with first degree murder and 15 counts of terroristic threatening.

One wonders to what extent Sarah Palin is convinced that violence is no way to solve a political dispute? Is widescale institutionalized violence ok, in her book, for the purpose of settling political disputes--just not individualized, less institutionalized violence?

Jason Taylor

"Is widescale institutionalized violence ok, in her book, for the purpose of settling political disputes--just not individualized, less institutionalized violence?"

Yes. That is why the government is called the government. Just like it is eat your own food without paying for it and not to eat the grocery store's.

Benjamin Ady


you lost me on the simile.

Are you sure? I suppose you are answering for yourself, and not necessarily for Palin.

Is it a matter of efficacy? Are you saying violence "works", to whatever extent, in the former situation, but not in the latter? Examples? Counterexamples? Arguments as to the number/quality of the former being greater than the number/quality of the latter? (Of course I suppose before we can do that, we have to figure out what we mean by "works" in this context.)

jason taylor

The point is that some actions are lawful to some people and unlawful to others. You can make love to your wife and not with her sister. You can take your own car out for a drive on the spur of the moment and not a strangers. You can eat your chicken but not your brother. Because all of these actions have moral differences that come from the differences not the simmilarities.

And the legally constituted authorities have the right to use force in appropriate situations simply because that is part and parcel of being such. If you think that "institutionalized violence" is "not ok" then you are simply an anarchist. And in any case I doubt your objection to "institutionalized violence" is going be of much help to you next April 15.

As for efficacy, that is a matter of what the goal is.

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