Tag Archives: Fear-mongering

The Benefits of Mutual Respect and Civility vs. Hate and “Partyism”

A New York Times feature from October 3 tells the inspiring tale of a friendship between two scholars, one a Christian, the other an atheist. Their friendship does not thrive in spite of the conflict between their core beliefs, but rather because of it.

Prof. David Skeel, the Christian, recently published  a book, “True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World.”  His atheist friend, Patrick Arsenault,  is  acknowledged in the book and quoted as well, and the Times notes that “True Paradox” “might not have existed at all, or certainly would not exist in its present shape and voice, without the secular scientist as its midwife. And that odd reality is testament to a rare brand of mutual civility in the culture wars, with their countervailing trends of religious fundamentalism and dogmatic atheism.” Says Skeel:

“One of the things we talked about was whether it matters if we persuade each other. I long to have Patrick converted to my perspective. So how can we have a friendship? I see it as toleration in the deepest meaning. We don’t just ‘put up’ with each other’s beliefs. We interrogate them.”

Arsenault tells the Times that “in the culture wars, the rhetoric is acerbic on both sides. On the humanist side, there’s this tendency to view people of faith as not rational. And David is clearly rational. He’s just looked at the same evidence as me and come to a different conclusion.”

Contrast this attitude—rational, respectful, practical, fair, constructive and profoundly ethical, with the “partyism” and bigotry being practiced with increasing intensity as the mid-term elections approach. There is Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank in the video clip above, for example,  not merely accusing Republicans of fear-mongering, but suggesting that their criticism of the Secret Service is insincere: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Religion and Philosophy

A Futile Ethics Request To Anti-Gun Activists: Don’t Exploit Richard Martinez

Richard Martinez

Richard Martinez

I am certain that plans are already in the works to trot out Richard Martinez, the grieving father of one of the victims of killer Elliot Rodger in his murderous rampage at the University of California in Santa Barbara, for service in hearings, at rallies, for fund-raisers, at protests and in anti-gun ads. The emotionally distraught father provided a ready-made media sound chomp in his CNN rant against anyone and anything that have, in his mind, prevented radical restrictions on guns, those who, in his view, contributed to the death of his son.

“What has changed? Have we learned nothing? These things are going to continue until somebody does something, so where the hell is the leadership? Where the hell are these people we elect to Congress that we spend so much money on? These people are getting rich sitting in Congress, what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids.My kid died because nobody responded to what happened at Sandy Hook. Those parents lost little kids. It’s bad enough that I lost my 20-year-old, but I had 20 years with my son, that’s all I’ll have. But those people lost their children at six and seven years old. How do you think they feel? And who’s talking to them now? Who is doing anything for them now? Who is standing up for those kids that died back then in an elementary school? Why wasn’t something done? It’s outrageous!”

I don’t blame Martinez for how he feels, but I will blame those who exploit him, and I know there is no chance that they won’t.

In 2013, we all saw how every Sandy Hook parent who was sufficiently enraged and camera-worthy fueled the shameless drive to use fear-mongering and exaggeration in the push to finally gut the Second Amendment, as anti-gun activists have so long wanted to do. Martinez is perfect, just as Cindy Sheehan, destroyed because her soldier son died in a war, was custom-fit for pacifists and anti-war advocates, just as a brain-damaged Gabby Giffords was ideal to have recite child-like generalities against firearms in Congress. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Family, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

Bergen Community College Shows Us Why Justin Carter Is Being Persecuted

Can't have this. Terrifying. Dangerous.

Can’t have this. Terrifying. Dangerous.

Remember Justin Carter? Last I checked, he was being tried for making a joke on Facebook, because of the culture of fear and speech monitoring created by the irresponsible hysteria over guns and terrorism.  He faces prison time. That this is a freedom-suffocating societal illness that threatens any and all of us is chronicled in Ken White account, and accompanying commentary, on the astonishing mistreatment of Bergen Community College Professor Francis Schmidt by the school, which was sent into a frenzy of terror because he posted to Google+ “a cute picture of his young daughter wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt in a yoga pose next to a cat.”  Inside Higher Ed reports what happened next: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Popular Culture, The Internet, Workplace

Reminder: August 1 Is “Quote Justin Carter On Social Media Day”

justin-carter-1

This is  sad.

We last heard anything about Justin Carter two weeks ago, when he finally was released from prison after an anonymous donor covered his absurd $500,000 bail amount. Since then, nothing has changed. He’s still charged with making terrorist threats based on an obvious joke he put on Facebook. He still represents the apotheosis of the fanatic fear of guns and violence against schools in the wake of the post-Sandy Hook hysteria, cynically fed by Democrats, anti-gun zealots and the media. Carter’s plight still shows the continuing erosion of First Amendment rights in the fearful and paranoid culture nurtured by the Obama administration and turned into an offense to liberty by its natural partner, the abuse of government power. It’s just that nobody is paying attention.

The news media, which should have an interest in protecting the same amendment that (theoretically, these days) protects them, gave some fleeting coverage to the story but quickly dropped it in favor of gushing over infant foreign monarchs, finding ways to vilify George Zimmerman and making bad Weiner puns. The blogosohere has been pretty silent too, with some notable exceptions.

I am generally opposed to pointless demonstrations. My pathetic gesture to try to generate some fight in this somnolent nation as its common sense, ethical priorities and sense of justice drains away was never a threat to catch on, and didn’t. Essentially, few understand what is so wrong about what Texas is doing to Carter, and fewer still care enough to protest it. That is sad, and it also is frightening.

Nonetheless, those of us who do care should try to show it, and this was the best that I (or anyone else) could come up with. So challenge the fearful, the bullies,  the Constitutionally ignorant, the arrogant abusers of power “if it will save just one child,” and post the harmless, facetious and sarcastic statement that young Justin Carter posted for a friend, never realizing that America, or at least the part of it where he, and quite possibly you, live, doesn’t really believe in free speech anymore. Post it on your blog, on Facebook, on Twitter. Let’s see if they come for all of us, however many it is. And let’s see how many people care anymore.

August 1 Is “Quote Justin Carter On Social Media Day.”

And Justin’s words, which got him arrested, imprisoned, and soon will have him being tried for his freedom, were these:

“Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head. I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.” lol. jk.”

 

 

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Filed under Citizenship, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Quotes, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society

Ken at Popehat Weighs In On The Justin Carter Persecution

justin-carter-1

At Popehat, where I hoped the Justin Carter arrest and imprisonment would eventually attract interest, Ken White—attorney, civil libertarian, blogger extraordinaire—writes in part…

“We have fully and foolishly subscribed to the “Think of the Children!” culture. In an era in which violent crime has plunged dramatically, we think it is up. We think so because the media — hungry for money and attention — serves us bloody context-free meat every night. We think so because law enforcement — hungry for more funding, more power, more toys — relentlessly tells us we are in danger and that our children are in danger and that the only answer is to trust and fear. We are bid to trust not ourselves and our good judgment, but law enforcement. We are bid to fear not the power of the state, but the criminal forces arrayed against us and our children — forces that only law enforcement can hold at bay. We accept this. But who poses more of a risk to us, and to our children: the Justin Carters of the world, or the state that will file dishonest and misleading warrant applications against him, the state that will confine him to be beaten and stripped naked in a cell, the state that will confine him for a crass joke?”

Read the entire, excellent post here.

Ethics Alarms hopes Popehat joins with us in promoting…

August 1, 2013

as “Quote Justin Carter On Social Media Day.” Even more, I hope that the charges against Justin Carter are dropped before the first, though the protest should go forward. The Justice Carter prosecution for free expression on his Facebook page is infinitely more significant and important to the nation than the show trial of George Zimmerman, though they are related: in both cases, deliberate efforts to inflame the public for political gain resulted in the flagrant abuse of prosecutorial power. It isn’t enough that Justin is spared…we need to make sure this stops now, and forever.

Note: You can register your support for the protest at Jeff Field’s event page, here.

 

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights

I Propose A “Quote Justin Carter On Social Media Day”—Because His Imprisonment Is A Disgrace To Our Nation

Justin Carter

Ethics Alarms is not an activist blog. That is not its purpose. However, for some reason that mystifies and frightens me, most of the nation appears to be unaware, or not to give a damn, that in this nation, supposedly free and governed by the principles of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, a young teenaged man has been imprisoned and abused because he wrote this in a non-threatening exchange on Facebook:

“Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head. I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.” lol. jk.”

I wrote about the ridiculous, Kafka-esque series of events that put this innocent kid in prison here. I asked in that post, “what are we going to do about it?” The answer, apparently, is nothing.

The confiscate-the-guns, save-the-children, anything-goes-to-save-one-child hysteria that marinated everyone’s brain since Newtown apparently worked, and just a few observers are even paying attention to Justin’s persecution any more. It’s gotten worse for Justin, you know. He’s still in jail; he has apparently been beaten. He’s on a suicide watch, and for some reason a judge set his bail at $500,000, which defies sanity. The ACLU, which one would think exists to come to the rescue of victims like Justin, has been silent as far as I can tell. Texas Governor Rick Perry hasn’t lifted a finger either. While President Obama clearly intends to stick his nose into every local incident he gives a damn about, he doesn’t appear to feel the imprisonment of a kid for making a black humor joke on Facebook is worthy of his meddling. Outside of the Huffington Post, the National Review and NPR, only the conservative websites have expressed outrage at Justin’s case. None of the major news networks have reported it. Nor has the Washington Post or The New York Times. Indeed, read the comments to some of the web coverage, and you encounter disgusting reactions like this, from HuffPo reader Rita Phel:

“It is unbelievable how many people are defending this young man and making light of what he said. There is NOTHING funny about that comment and there never will be. The victim’s families are still grieving for goodness sake. And just because somebody says they’re just kidding doesn’t mean they actually are. Also, he’s not a kid – he was 18 at the time and that makes him an adult. He knew very well that what he posted was inappropriate or else he would not have quickly followed it with ‘lol’ and ‘jk’. This world is clearly more messed up than I thought if people could boldly defend something so obviously cruel, offensive and insensitive”

That’s right Rita, you Nazi, when someone offends you with an insensitive remark on his own webpage, lock him up.

All you self-righteous civil libertarian cartoonists out there: you thought it was worth insulting an entire world of Muslims because one of your number was bullied by Islamic crazies for drawing Mohammad. Is it worth your time to do anything to protest your own country throwing teens in jail for making sarcastic jokes? Why are you, indeed, why are any of us sitting by and allowing our news media to ignore the fact that in this country, someone is being jailed for nothing more than a lack of political correctness…and is allegedly facing many years in jail? The big protest action undertaken in Justin’s behalf appear to be a Change.org petition. Yeah, that’s powerful.

lol. jk.

He’s “just one” individual? He’s one citizen, and if it can happen to one, it can happen to any of us. (It already happened to another.)

So let me propose some more high profile action that might rouse our media and our elected officials out of their disgraceful apathy. I’m not going to organize it, but the social media will do that, if anyone else cares.

I propose that we make August 1 “Quote Justin Carter On Social Media Day.” Circulate this post, or just spread the word yourself. Everyone with a Facebook, Twitter or other social media account post Justin’s prison-worthy threat….

“Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head. I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them. lol. jk.”

Maybe that will get some attention. That busy-body in Canada can’t have all of us arrested…unless its just me. Come to think of it, I live next to a school. Hmmm. I sure hope I have some company on August first, because in Barack Obama’s America, I’m not sure what I may be arrested for, or who may be watching.

I’m not doing this alone.

________________________________

Graphic: New York Daily News

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Filed under Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Literature, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society

The Persecution Of Justin Carter And The Consequences Of Fear-Mongering: If This Doesn’t Make You Angry, Something’s The Matter With You

strike

Here I was, naively thinking that the threatened jailing of a student for resisting a teacher’s efforts to make him remove his T-shirt with the image of a rifle on it was the most shocking proof of how imperiled free thought and expression are in today’s fearful, dim-witted and child abuse-rationalizing America. Then this jaw-dropping story came across my screen, and I realized that the situation is far worse than I imagined or could imagine—and I have a pretty good imagination.

Now the question is, I think, this: what are we going to do about it?

Nineteen-year-old Justin Carter has been in prison, since March. You will not believe why, or perhaps, being both paranoid and right,  you will. A Facebook friend and video game pal described him in an exchenge as “crazy” and “messed up in the head,” and Carter replied, with sarcasm detectible by anyone who isn’t an SS officer. “Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts. lol. jk.” A Canadian busybody read the exchange, and decided to report Justin to the Austin police, who then arrested him–he was 18 at the time—searched his family’s house, and charged him with making a “terroristic threat.” Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society