Not a Direction in Which We Wish to Head

Growing up in the ’80s, with all of the romanticizing of the ’60s that was fashionable, then, I thought it pleasantly discordant to hear George Harrison describe his disappointment in the Beatles’ visit to Haight-Ashbury, where the big scene consisted of “a bunch of spotty teenagers” (or something close thereto). Less pleasant was learning, some years later (under circumstances that I don’t recall), just how tumultuous and violent the era really was.
I hope and pray, therefore, that the back-to-back shootings this week — both with political undertones — are an aberrant coincidence and not a sign of times to come. Details from Monday’s atrocity:

Police say the incident occurred around 10:15 a.m. at a U.S. Army Navy Career Center inside the Ashley Square Shopping Center at 9112 North Rodney Parham Road. According to Lt. Terry Hastings with the Little Rock Police Department, two enlisted soldiers standing outside the office were hit when a suspect drove up in a black SUV and began shooting. …
At the Monday-afternoon briefing, Thomas said investigators believe [shooter Abdul Hakim Mujahid] Muhammad acted alone, and likely carried “political and religious motives.” Thomas said the gunman targeted the military but was not believed to be part of a broader scheme.

So, for the second day in a row, we must offer prayers for the deceased and his family, the recovery of the injured, the liberation of the killer’s soul from evil, and rebalancing of our society lest the descent continues.

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Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

So, just to be clear… are you saying that the shootings of the two enlisted men are morally equivalent to the shooting of Dr. Tiller?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Yes-if they were shot because of some”crusade” on the part of the shooter.
Murdering someone in an ambush is the same kind of act if it’s done to make a point,regardless of the victim.
Why is Tiller’s life more important than the recruiters?
I just don’t understand you.
I wonder if you had a problem with the voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party,or you agree with Eric Holder letting them slide.
I don’t necessarily equate the murder of a drug dealer or other gangster by a rival with the murder of a child or a robbery victim,but terroristic killings are terroristic killings,period.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Yeah, Thomas, I’ve got to agree that I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. What ought to make the difference between the killings? Should U.S. servicemen and women consider themselves targets on the streets of America?

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

Joe,
You say:
“Why is Tiller’s life more important than the recruiters? I just don’t understand you.”
Yes. You are quite correct that you don’t understand me. I did not, nor would I every say that “Tiller’s life is more important than the recruiters” and I have no idea why you would attribute such a statement to me. It’s totally absurd for you to do so.
Nor do I have any idea why you would bring up Holder and the BPP in this context. Perhaps you should read what is written and not read things INTO what is written?

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

Justin,
You say:
“Should U.S. servicemen and women consider themselves targets on the streets of America?”
Huh. Who said that? Like Joe, you are looking for things that aren’t there and attributing to me things I have never said and would never say. I’m very offended, but I’ll set that aside and ask whether we could please just stick to what is actually said….and asked?
I asked if you found the two acts to be morally equivalent. I wanted to know what you really thought. I hope you’ll answer still: was the shooting of Tiller morally equivalent to the shooting of the servicemen?
Here’s my reason for asking:
In this post, you condemn the shootings of the servicemen. I wholly concur (and once again, nothing in my original question gave you any reason to think otherwise).
While you also condemned the killing of Tiller in another post, in your second sentence you noted that “Satan guided Tiller”. A reasonable reader might conclude that you were taking back with one hand what you gave with the other, and that your condemnation of Tiller’s killer was not sincere, or at least that it was less sincere than your condemnation of those who shot at the servicemen.
I’ll note that the leader of an Iowa anti-abortion group, to whom Tiller’s alleged killer submitted his writing, said that ” “To call this a crime is too simplistic”. I wonder if you agree?
Again, I will ask: in your view is Tiller’s killer ismorally equivalent (or possibly worse, since he caused death) to the shooters of the servicemen?

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

PS: Sometimes, question is just a question.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Thomas-in case you aren’t aware,one of the servicemen,a 24 year old,died. I don’t like what Tiller was doing,but I doubt thet I’d want to have anything to do with his alleged killer,Scott Roeder, a member of a violent militia group calling itself the Freemen. You brought up moral equivalence,not me. I brought up the NBPP because I detect very little criticism of non White racist hoodlums by White liberals. I’ll give you a reason that I’m pissed off over this issue of moral equivalence: A few years back,I watched an interview with Sister Helen Prejean,the nun played by Susan Sarandon.She is an anti death penalty activist.The good sister,upon being asked if she wouldn’t consider the death penalty for a child killer,allowed as how she could consider it if not for the fact that it opened the door to all sorts of death penalty offenses.She complained that under Federal law,it was now a death penalty offense to murder a “poultry inspector” with a little sneer.What a scumbag she revealed herself to be in that one statement. Let’s see,according to her a public servant pprotecting the health of many people is not worth as much as the lowlife rapist-murderer she cried her crocodile tears for. Not long after,three meat inspectors were murdered in cold blood by a sausage maker in California.I only wish this pretentious do-gooder nun could have been made to sit in a room with the families of the slain inspectors and given her rationale against the death penalty.The killer did get it,but died of natural causes while on appeal. There’s a real double standard with liberals. Trying to blame a windbag like O’Reilly for the acts of a man with a history of a tendency towards terrorist violence is peurile. It is being tried by the leftists around here… Read more »

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

“in case you aren’t aware,one of the servicemen,a 24 year old,died”
No, I was not aware. I’m sorry to hear it.
“You brought up moral equivalence,not me.”
I asked Justin whether he thought they were morally equivalent. I did not ask you. I obviously don’t mind you commenting, but I do very much mind the obnoxious and totally unjustified suggestion that I thought Tiller’s life was somehow “more important” (your words) than that of the servicemen.
I hope you’ll understand that, while that comment still stands, I really don’t see any good reason to discuss this further with you, no matter how “pissed off” you are about questions of moral equivalence.

Will
12 years ago

“PS: Sometimes, question is just a question.”
Thomas,
Having read some of your previous material, I presume you are sincere in your beliefs. However, we (as conservatives) are quite used to having our words miscontrued and deliberately misquoted, so I think it’s only natural to show a little skepticism as to motive when asked such pointed questions.
Personally, I think every life is precious and of equal worth in God’s eyes. Whether that also equates to a moral equality, I don’t know. I don’t think it is up to any individual human being to judge another individual’s morality, for the purpose of meting out punishment. Dr. Tiller did some pretty heinous things while he was here. He may have even been delusional enough to think he was doing a good thing. However, as bad as that was, even he deserved due process of law, and not to be the target of a vigilante. Whoever did this certainly did not do the pro-life movement any favor.
In regard to the shootings of the military recruiters, I just wish the media would be nearly as outraged about it, and devote as much ink and time to that story, but that would require them to leave their liberal biases behind.
President Reagan once said something which sums up my view about life pretty well. This is from his 1988 speech at Moscow State University:
“Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is infinitely precious, that every one of us put in this world has been put there for a reason and has something to offer.”

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Thomas,
I see. You’re offended that multiple people read an insinuation in your unexplained question because you were really just asking out of a reasonable doubt about my sincerity vis Tiller. Rich.
To answer: Satan guides us all, from time to time, with varying success of various duration. We humans all do evil, but none of us are evil, intrinsically; murder never succeeds in killing Satan, only in killing a human being. Murder is murder.
Sometimes it happens that a human being’s psyche is so corrupted that a society must kill to protect itself, but such acts ought not to be taken lightly, and ought to entail a predictable process that inclines toward alternatives. Abortion would have to be made illegal in order to determine whether the likes of Tiller are such corrupted souls, and even then, it’s difficult to see why alternatives (such as incarceration) wouldn’t suffice to protect society.

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

{Satan guides us all, from time to time, with varying success of various duration.}
There was a comedian in the tumultuous time you mentioned whose tag line was “The devil made me do it”. Somehow I don’t think you are joking.

DavidC
DavidC
12 years ago

Considering that, just yesterday, Justin was explictly (and wrongfully) accused of defending the doctor’s murder, I thought the responses were reasonable given the phrasing of the question.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Prof.Schmeling’s arguments here are open to challenge by anyone reading the blog.It’s not a political science class at RIC where he can silence criticism of his opinions merely by being in charge of the class.Let’s face it-the possibility of a low grade can probably intimidate quite a few students even if it’s not mentioned.
Oh yeah,thanks prof-your remark about not minding me commenting is a beauty-I find what you mind to be very,very low on the list of things that matter to me.
The fact is your comment about Tiller can’t be read any other way.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
12 years ago

Joe,
Your notion that my question to Justin: “are you saying that the shootings of the two enlisted men are morally equivalent to the shooting of Dr. Tiller?” should be read as an assertion that I value Tiller’s life more than the recruiters’ was unwarranted. I was asking whether Justin regarded the two as morally equivalent. That’s it. I thought he did not, because of the comments about the voice of Satan and that “evil begets evil”. He has made it clear that he thinks “murder is murder”.
Telling you that your (now willful) misinterpretation is wrong is not trying to ‘silence’ you.
You have no idea what goes on in my classes, and therefore no basis for your insinuation. It’s also totally irrelevant to this discussion. But I’d be happy please give me a call and I’ll be happy to let you sit in for a day so you can judge for yourself. Until then, I hope you’ll avoid casting unjustified aspersions on my professionalism.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

You are correct-I’ve never seen you teach a class,but it isn’t uncommon for what I mentioned to occur,and you know that.If you allow free interchange of ideas within the context of the subject with no retaliation,then good for you.I’m not being sarcastic.I had a neighbor who heads a department at Brown-I’ll leave the description at that-and he told me he considered it his duty to indoctrinate his students with his way of thinking.I couldn’t understand how he thought that was education.My daughter teaches at a university and I know she doesn’t believe in forcing her views on others.
In my own college experience many years ago that didn’t go on either.It’s my generation,the baby boomers,who’ve perverted the college classrooms so badly.
Whether you believe me or not,I think the killings were equally bad.I didn’t spend 26 years in law enforcement to condone ambush murders over some principle or another.Maybe if the parent of a murdered child took out the killer,I’d see it differently.Actually,I would condone it.And I’m not ashamed to say that.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

Joe, can you at least let me start a blog of my own before you get obsessed with me any further?
As for that thug who murdered two members of our armed forces, he probably watched all those folks on TV praising the doc’s killing, and decided that the practice of terrorism by Americans against other Americans is something our nation will tolerate. That is the message he took away (and I fear others will, too).
We’re learning to live like the ordinary citizens of Jerusalem or Fallujah.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Where I grew up,people got 86’d routinely for such good reasons as cheating in a pool game or failing to produce a dime upon request,or not having a match for a cigarette-these are all killings I recall vividly from when I was a little kid.
It wasn’t Fallujah,but it wasn’t Barrington either.
What I never saw were killings over “political”causes.

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