Virginia Shooting, Victim Blaming & Societal Scapegoating
Anchor Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were shot and killed on live television this morning by ex-coworker, Vester Lee Flanagan II, more popularly known by his anchor name, Bryce Williams. Williams recorded the shooting himself on a go-pro and uploaded it online, though he was promptly suspended from Twitter and Facebook thereafter. To my knowledge, this is the most up-to-date screenshot of his account before it was no longer viewable.
Remember when the Charlie Hebdo shooting happened, and everyone was saying “they didn’t deserve to die but-”? Remember when Pamela Geller held a Mohammed drawing contest, and everyone was saying “the gunmen weren’t right but-”? People condemned Charlie Hebdo and Geller for daring to offend. For daring to be politically incorrect. For daring refusing to accept terms and conditions to their free speech. The fact of the matter is that nowhere in the world, especially the developed world, especially America of all places- should an opinion be a death sentence; no matter how backwards, controversial or unsavory. Let’s forget the growing emptiness of accusations of “racism,” as SJWs continue to trivialize and exploit the word seemingly without shame or boundaries, and assume that what Bryce Williams called racism actually was racism. His victims could have made jokes about fried chicken or Trayvon Martin and it still wouldn’t have been an excuse or justification for his actions.
Everyone likes to pretend that while they’re condemning the actions of the victims, they aren’t condoning or rationalizing the tragedy that took place. Then what exactly are you doing? When you say “RIP the victims, though they may have been racist,” how can you doubt that you are a part of the problem?
When black people are killed by white people, no one wants to hear about anything the victim may have done that could have contributed to their untimely death. No one protesting or hashtagging #BlackLivesMatter thinks that a criminal record or uncooperative behavior or even pointing a gun at a cop means justifies their deaths. Obviously, law enforcement is to be held to a higher standard. But why the doublethink?
Remember the Charleston shooting, and how people insisted that the Confederate flag was at least partially responsible for that catastrophe? Think what you will, but my guess is that Bryce Williams found much more solace in the hyper polarized racial rhetoric that has become so prevalent in our country than Dylan Roof ever found in a flag.
My point is that people have choices. When they choose hate, they, and they alone should be held accountable. Instead of scapegoating society or intellectualizing and analyzing every heinous act committed to a point of willful delusion, we should be able to come together regardless of race, religion or political persuasion, and recognize evil for what it is.
U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning could face indefinite solitary confinement for having an expired tube of toothpaste, an issue of Vanity Fair in which transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner describes living openly as a woman, the U.S. Senate report on torture and other “prohibited property” in her military prison cell.
“Manning is being threatened with torture,” First Amendment attorney Carey Shenkman told Democracy Now! “There is an international consensus that indefinite solitary confinement is torture.”
Landmark case in Toronto underway - man faces 6 months in jail over criminal harassment charges for debating against feminists on Twitter regarding call-out culture
Christie Blatchford: Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech
What’s believed to be the first case in Canada of alleged criminal
harassment-via-Twitter is just a judge’s decision away from being over.
After hearing closing submissions Tuesday from Chris Murphy, who
represents 54-year-old Greg Elliott, Ontario Court Judge Brent Knazan is
expected to rule on Oct. 6.
In the balance rides enormous potential fallout for free speech online.
Elliott is charged with criminally harassing two Toronto female political activists, Steph Guthrie and Heather Reilly, in 2012.
Allegations involving a third woman were dropped.
The graphic artist and father of four lost his job shortly after his
arrest, which was well-publicized online, and if convicted, could go to
jail for six months.
These are astonishing repercussions given that it’s not alleged he
ever threatened either woman (or any other, according to the testimony
of the Toronto Police officer, Detective Jeff Bangild, who was in
charge) or that he ever sexually harassed them.
Indeed, Elliott’s chief sin appears to have been that he dared to disagree with the two young feminists and political activists.
He and Guthrie, for instance, initially fell out over his refusal to
endorse her plan to “sic the Internet” upon a young man in Northern
Ontario who had invented a violent video game, where users could punch
an image of a feminist video blogger named Anita Sarkeesian until the
screen turned red.
Guthrie Tweeted at the time that she wanted the inventor’s “hatred on
the Internet to impact his real-life experience” and Tweeted to
prospective employers to warn them off the young man and even sent the
local newspaper in his town a link to the story about the game.
Elliott disagreed with the tactic and Tweeted he thought the shaming “was every bit as vicious as the face-punch game”.
Until then, the two were collegial online, with Elliott offering to
produce a free poster for Guthrie’s witopoli (Women in Toronto Politics)
As serious as the ramifications of a conviction could be for Elliott,
so could they be dire for free speech online, Murphy suggested in his
He said the idea that all it takes to end up charged with criminal
harassment is vigorous participation in online debate with those who
will not brook dissent “will have a chilling effect on people’s ability
to communicate, and not just on Twitter”.
In fact, Murphy said that contrary to what Guthrie and Reilly
testified to at trial, they weren’t afraid of his client — as suggested
by both their spirited demeanour in the witness box and their deliberate
online campaign to call Elliott out as a troll.
Rather, Murphy said, they hated Elliott and were determined to
silence him — not just by “blocking” his Tweets to them, but by
demanding he cease even referring to them even in making comment about
heated political issues.
To all this, Guthrie pointed out once in cross-examination that
feelings of fear, like all feelings, “develop over time”, and snapped
that she was sorry she wasn’t “a perfect victim” who behaved like a
The criminal harassment charge is rooted in the alleged victim’s perception of the offending conduct.
The statute says if that conduct caused the alleged victims
“reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety”, that’s
Yet Guthrie and Reilly didn’t behave as though they were remotely
frightened or intimidated: They convened a meeting of friends to discuss
how Elliott should be publicly shamed; they bombarded their followers
with furious tweets and retweets about him (including a grotesque
suggestion from someone pretending she was a 13-year-old that he was a
pedophile); they could and did dish it out.
“They were not vulnerable,” Murphy said once. “They are very
accomplished, politically savvy women. If they can’t handle being
mentioned in the tail end of a political discussion (on Twitter), then
they’re in the wrong business.”
And, he said, of the meeting both women attended in August of 2012,
to discuss how Elliott would be called out, “That was a conspiracy to
commit a criminal offence … they were conspiring to go out and publicly
shame Mr. Elliott.”
Murphy said the case was akin to “a high school spat, except it’s
adults on the Internet”, and said it is astonishing that the court
should be acting as referee in an online political debate.“If anybody was being criminally harassed in this case,” Murphy told the judge, “it was my client, it was Mr. Elliott.”
That Reilly, who was anonymous on Twitter and who directed her own
volley of hateful tweets at Elliott, should come “to this court and the
police and say she’s being criminally harassed is an abuse of the
Prosecutor Marnie Goldenberg made only the briefest remarks, and
refused to provide Postmedia with a copy of her written arguments,
saying it wasn’t her practice.
“You violated my free speech” is what I always hear when people talk about their right to their opinion. “Free Speech” however (in the US) isn’t what you think it is.
The first amendment clearly says…
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
See the first-word “Congress”? That’s what that means. The Government cannot punish you based on the right.
So, if you ever find yourself ready to say “you violated my right to free speech”… unless it’s the government doing that to you, good luck with your argument.
Last week, Sophie Thomas, an eighth-grader at a the Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Batavia, Ohio, realized that her school photo had been altered to take out the word “FEMINIST” on her T-shirt. According to a local news report, the principal Kendra Young, thought the shirt might be “offensive” and “cause controversy.” Sophie and her friends organized quickly and asked people to share their support using the hashtags #KeepFeminismInSchools and #IDeserveFreedomOfExpression.
All a girl has to do to be potentially controversial and offensive these days is exist, because we are all walking, talking poster children for feminism’s successes.
If you have a husband, he is no longer legally allowed to rape you (in most countries.) In the United States the last law outlawing marital rape was passed in 1993 and some legislators apparently don’t realize that.
You probably believe your equal rights are protected by law, even though, as Chief Justice Antonin Scalia likes to point out, the Constitution does not say they are. The Equal Rights Amendment was never passed.
You can go to college with a better awareness of what schools’ institutional tolerance for rape looks like, and know that they are being forced to confront the problem.
You can provide for your children and define your family without compromising your emotional well-being or physical security.
You can assume that, at least legally if not entirely culturally, in some parts of the world you are considered fully human.
You can wear a T-shirt that says “FEMINIST” on it and people all over the world will defend your right to say not only what you think, but that what you think is that women should have equal rights to define culture.
As a bonus, I’ll add you can Google Ye Olde Conservative and find that he has used the expression “ privileged cisgendered heterosexual males” without putting it in quotation marks.
Everything on this list was considered, and still is in many places, an offense. Our entire lives are shaped and have been improved by feminist goals that someone, somewhere, including schools, considered dangerous and “indecent.” This includes the lives of boys and men whose existences are fuller, richer and less circumscribed by toxic, hegemonic masculinity.
“Feminism,” as Dale Spender famously said, “has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.”
But, these are early days. The facts are, a) these are vitally important, but first steps, in the long-term; b) for most women in the world this list is not remotely a reality and c) many of the ways in which these successes have manifested themselves have exacerbated gender inequality, either on the basis of race, sexuality or, globally, as the result of colonialism and its corporate legacies.
What’s really troubling people is that we’re just getting started.