Victory for Free Speech: Mohammed Drawings in America; Two Terrorists Dead
May 5, 2015
This is very good news. Ten years after the Danish newspaper the Jyllands-Posten took a stand for freedom by publishing a dozen drawings of Mohammed, America has produced some high-profile public Mohammed drawings of our own: The American Freedom Defense Initiative organized a big Mohammed Art Exhibit & Contest in Garland, Texas on Sunday, May 3rd (you heard it here first). See some of the drawings here (warning: some rude content). Via Creeping Sharia, Breitbart has some more of the drawings. (Apparently they received hundreds of entries in all.)
The BBC reports succinctly what happened next:
Garland Police Department said the shooting was all over in seconds. The men pulled up in a car, opened fire, injuring a police officer in the leg, and then both were shot dead.
Unfortunately, next the BBC and other liberal media blamed the victim, calling the event “controversial” early and often. (My memory is that the BBC closed an interview with an event attendee by trying to get him to renounce freedom of speech—Surely you can’t just go around insulting people, can you?—but I can’t find it.)
Again, it is very important to have drawings and events like this.
- “. . . if publishing something might get you slaughtered and you publish it anyway, by definition you are striking a blow for freedom, and that’s precisely the context when you need your fellow citizens to set aside their squeamishness and rise to your defense.” (Douthat)
- “Charlie Hebdo had been forced by a cowardly western media to bear a burden that should have been more widely shared.” (Steyn)
- “Instead of desensitizing people to massacres, maybe the media could work on desensitizing people to cartoons.” (Iowahawk)
Hot Air had the breaking news.
Shortly after the attack began, the shooters ran into Texas law enforcement who provided a short, terminal lesson in what happens when you try something like this in the Lone Star State.
The National Review editors weigh in: “How Not to Look at the Garland Attack”
If Geller does not want terrorist attacks, goes the charge, she should stop hosting provocative cartoon contests. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the threat that Simpson and those like him pose. . . . The form of psychopathology that thinks heaven is achieved in a hail of bullets outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, will find an occasion to wreak jihad, cartoons or no cartoons.
Criticizing and seeking to quash the targets of terrorism, rather than the fanatics who commit it, is the American Left’s own pathology.
In this country we’ve grown accustomed to defending free speech the easy way, with court filings and op-eds. The hard way requires the use of disciplined, deadly force — exactly the force applied by the Garland police.
. . .
Third, we must show no patience for victim-blaming. . . . While I certainly will never equate ISIS with all of Islam, my message to peaceful, law-abiding Muslims offended by Geller’s speech is simple: Welcome to America. Here you have the freedom to practice your faith free from the massacres and violence that mark sectarian disputes in the Middle East, and here people have the right to mock your faith — as Christians have long understood. If one disagrees with Geller’s speech, the answer is more speech — not censorship and certainly not violence.
Kevin Williamson reviews the surprisingly clear record that one of the shooters had already established, and gets in some good lines.
. . . an attempted massacre at an exhibition of anti-Islamist cartoons in suburban Garland, Texas . . . ended in the shooting of Simpson and his coconspirator, because Texas is where terrorists go to get out-gunned at an art show. . . .
Simpson was, like the overwhelming majority of murderers and most of those who commit serious violent crimes, already known to the authorities. He had been investigated by the FBI on the suspicion that he was attempting to travel to Somalia to engage in jihad. He was convicted of lying to the FBI in that episode, and sentenced to . . . probation. The average sentence for a tax-related crime in these United States is 31 months in a federal penitentiary . . . .
The only law-enforcement officials doing their jobs in this mess were the Garland locals, who exhibited courage and marksmanship.
Simpson was apparently what my friend, terrorism analyst Patrick Poole, describes as a “known wolf.” That’s a radical Muslim whom the Obama administration and the media are wont to dismiss as an anonymous, unconnected loner but who, in fact, has previously drawn the attention of national-security agents over suspected jihadist ties.
While they resort to different means, both the extreme anti-Islam movement and the violent Islamist movements self-servingly promote the belief that the future must involve a battle against one another to the death. Both claim to be victims of aggression by the other, and both are trying to convince the rest of us to join their war.
Sounds like someone’s metaphor machine is broken. One side is actually killing people, to the actual death—tried to commit mass murder again just two days ago—and the other is, not to put too fine a point on it, drawing pictures.
But Biard said the magazine . . . cannot continue its bold exercise of free expression alone, and warned Western journalists they risk emboldening jihadis by avoiding sensitive topics, such as depicting Muhammad, and marginalizing those who do.
Many publications, he said, “turned their back” on Charlie Hebdo by questioning the appropriateness of pillorying religious fanatics.
“The press suffer a lack of courage in this matter,” he said. “We don’t want to be a symbol any longer. … We can’t be the only ones to stand up for these values.”