San Bernardino Shooting

Ultimate Victim Blaming? NY Daily News Col Compares San Berdoo Killer w Victim

Words are words and bullets are bullets. You'd expect journalists to understand that.

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The New York Daily News caused outrage with its front page after the San Bernardino shooting. "God Isn't Fixing This," blared the paper, mocking a series of tweets offering prayers to the dead from leading Republicans.

Now Daily News columnist Linda Stasi has written a column titled "San Bernardino bloodbath born of bigots," in which she compares the Facebook invective of one of the dead to the rhetoric and actions of the husband and wife who killed him. Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, was a "Messianic Jew," who are cultural or ethnic Jews who convert to Christianity. His Facebook page is here.

Here's Stasi summation of Thalasinos' world view:

The killers deserve every disgusting adjective thrown at them. And more.

But the victim is also inaccurately being eulogized as a kind and loving religious man.

Thalasinos was an anti-government, anti-Islam, pro-NRA, rabidly anti-Planned Parenthood kinda guy, who posted that it would be "Freaking Awesome" if hateful Ann Coulter was named head of Homeland Security. He asked, "IS 1. EVERY POLITICIAN IS BOUGHT AND PAID FOR? 2. EVERY POLITICIAN IS A MORON? 3. EVERY POLITICIAN IS RACIST AGAINST JEWS?" He also posted screeds like, "You can stick your Muslim Million Man march up your asses," and how "Hashem" should blow up Iran.

His Facebook page warns that "Without HEALTHY PREGNANT WOMAN (Democrats) would have NO SOURCE of BABIES to SACRIFICE and SELL!"

We have freedom of speech but even so, a city worker should refrain from such public bigotry. Municipal workers have been fired for spewing and posting racial and sexual slurs.

Full column here.

Stasi is getting an earful from all over the place and on a very obvious level, she deserves it. WTF, really?

This sort of observation is not simply poorly timed but grossly wrong in its basic conception: Speech is speech and bulets are bullets. That's not a difficult distinction to maintain and given the willingness of high-level politicians (such as Hillary Clinton, who publicly blamed the Benghazi attack that ended with the death of a U.S. ambassador on a ridiculous YouTube video) and college administrators and activists everywhere to police every jot and tittle of micro-aggressive punctutation, it's never been more important to maintain.

More on the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, here.

Related: "How Responsible is the (Pro-Life or Black Lives Matter) Movement for (the Planned Parenthood Shooting or Cop Killings)?"

As an antidote to Stasi's hot take—really more of a steaming pile, to be honest—take a few minutes to check out this Reason interview with Jonathan Rauch, who over two decades ago wrote Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, which provided a road map to what we now call political correctness. Of particular note, I think, given recent developments, is Rauch's valorizing of Frank Kameny, a federal employee in the '50s and '60s whose job was threatened because of his sexual orientation. Despite being on the receiving end of all manner of unbelievably vile rhetoric, Kameny never called for the censorship of hate speech, defending instead unfettered free expression. More here.