01 August 2006

What if the Shoe Fits Either Foot?

Where does crime and violence come from? Maybe it's manufactured:

How could it happen? In Seattle, of all places, a city of moderation and diversity? On Friday, July 28, a man barged into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. It is alleged that, armed with two handguns, Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, killed one woman and wounded five others. And so the War on Terror comes to liberal Seattle, at the very heart of the congressional district of “Baghdad” Jim McDermott. Although Seattle is the very enemy of “hate,” Haq will not be prosecuted for a hate crime, according to Seattle Times reporters. He will be prosecuted under state murder laws.

That’s as it should be. The hate crime laws were designed with right-wing militias and gay-bashers in mind. They were never intended to be used against Muslim hatemongers and Jew-baiters. Back when right-wingnuts were blowing up innocent civilians in federal office buildings, no less a person than the President of the United States hinted that right-wing talk radio was to blame.

Overwhelmingly, people do what they are told; they respond to the cues that the culture sends out, young people more than anyone. Today progressive Seattle is conducting unity meetings to bring everyone together. The trouble is that tomorrow Seattle will return to its grand old progressive tradition: encouraging victims and condoning social pathology.

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