Shooting from the Hip

 

shutterstock_10465210By now, you’ve likely heard of yesterday’s shooting in California. I generally don’t delve into the news on these mass shootings and I feel no particular desire to do so here. I’m sorry for the people hurt but — if it’s remote from me — I remember that it’s a big world with a lot of evil, and I don’t have to feel personally involved in all of it.

But I’ve noticed something about both the reactions by the news and by other people to attacks: when the public reaction to the attack could be aimed against your “side” on some issue — generally because the attacker fits your demographic slot in one way or another — there’s a tension and awkwardness about discussing the attack itself. When the public reaction could go against the other side, then there’s an enthusiasm for every snippet of information or wild speculation.

Consider the reactions to yesterday’s shooting and those to the one at the Planned Parenthood clinic last week. To the Left, the latter was an opportunity to slam people who are anti-abortion, as well as the famous undercover exposés that brought the subject back to public attention. In the California massacre, I expect a lot will be made of the religion of the two attackers, and that will make fodder for the debates over admitting Syrian refugees.

But I think there’s something else going on, and it’s not just the desire to use these cases to push an agenda: a lot of this is defensive. By that, I mean that if we’re talking about a shooting in the context of whether or not we should let in Syrian refugees, or what this means about Islam as a religion, then that puts the Left is on the defensive; we subsequently feel the momentum, and we’re less likely to have the public debate saying much about the anti-abortion movement. On the other hand, I felt that we were on the defensive last week, and that the Left was on a roll. That sense of being on a roll is not always about advancing your own side; sometimes it’s about making sure the other side doesn’t advance.

I haven’t gotten caught up in much fervor over the Syrian refugee issue, but I also don’t have a particular beef against Muslims; I have some Muslim friends (mostly Pakistanis and east Indians, for whatever reason), and I don’t feel the need to portray them all as would-be terrorists. My big worry is that after two decades of strong successes in advancing Second Amendment rights, the Left might be able to turn opinion against it. I just hope our side can be on a roll and keep the Left on the defensive in some other way.

There are 37 comments.

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  1. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    I was thinking this exact same thing all yesterday. When we heard about the incident in San Bernardino it was all of my liberal friends talking about gun control and my conservative friends talking about not jumping to conclusions and how Obama “won’t let a crisis go to waste” in his new power grab towards guns.

    Now that the narrative has shifted to terrorism everything has done a complete 180. It’s rather depressing how everyone falls into lazy autopilot arguments.

    • #1
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:10 AM PDT
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  2. JRez Inactive

    By that, I mean that if we’re talking about a shooting in the context of whether or not we should let in Syrian refugees, or what this means about Islam as a religion, then the Left is on the defensive, we feel the momentum on our side,

    Tim – I hope you’re right. So, who will dare ask the question:

    “Did Hillary’s State Dept. bring that Qatar terrorist to the US? Did John Kerry’s?”

    The specific answer probably doesn’t much matter for more than political points. But it would be a welcome probe if someone might be so bold.

    By the way, if it was Bush’s State Dept. or anybody else’s, it in no way changes the conversation about how much we can expect to rely on a so-called vetting process.

    • #2
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:18 AM PDT
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  3. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Jamie Lockett: It’s rather depressing how everyone falls into lazy autopilot arguments.

    Those of us who are concerned about radical Islamic terror surely do use the data that comes our way.

    And why not? After all, we have been predicting these kinds of attacks for a while, and when they happen, it is right and reasonable to point out that we were, in fact, right, and that whatever the US is doing now is clearly not working.

    • #3
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:19 AM PDT
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  4. Concretevol Thatcher

    Tim H.: But I think there’s something else going on—not just the desire to use these cases to push an agenda.

    This is something I am growing more and more weary of….the politicization of everything. The shooters were still on the loose and twitter was full of cries for (fill in your favorite government regulation here) and invectives against praying for the victims.

    • #4
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:20 AM PDT
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  5. Tim H. Member
    Tim H. Post author

    iWe:

    Those of us who are concerned about radical Islamic terror surely do use the data that comes our way.

    And why not? After all, we have been predicting these kinds of attacks for a while, and when they happen, it is right and reasonable to point out that we were, in fact, right, and that whatever the US is doing now is clearly not working.

    I certainly am going to be interested in what we find out about these two. With what little I’ve read so far, I agree with Glenn Reynolds that this attack seems a bit odd.

    I agree with the worries about terrorist attacks, and at some point I’m going to write a post about why it’s reasonable to protect against terror attacks, even if more people might die in…car crashes, swimming-pool accidents, hot-dog chokings…whatever else.

    • #5
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:27 AM PDT
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  6. Tim H. Member
    Tim H. Post author

    By the way, James Lileks’ Bleat today included a rare screed on this topic (I miss the Screed of a decade ago). Aside from being an actual gun nut myself, I’m pretty much in line with what he wrote on the shooting, the other shootings, and my initial expectations whenever I hear about one of these.

    • #6
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:34 AM PDT
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  7. Mate De Inactive

    What I am concerned about, especially after some of these mass shootings, is how we deal with mentally ill people in this country. I don’t know that much about the San Bernadino suspects, but the guy who shot up the Planned Parenthood was definetly a psychotic person and everyone who knew him knew it and suspected that he was dangerous. This is the same for the Sandy Hook murderer Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner, James Holmes, Virginia Tech guy, and so on and so forth. These people had mental illenesses that were noted but nobody was able to do anything about it. I understand this is a super difficult question because the balance between civil liberties and treating the mentally ill, which is why it is much easier to go right to gun control, it’s easier to blame the guns then deal with this real problem we have with mental health in this country.

    • #7
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:36 AM PDT
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  8. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    iWe: And why not? After all, we have been predicting these kinds of attacks for a while, and when they happen, it is right and reasonable to point out that we were, in fact, right, and that whatever the US is doing now is clearly not working.

    Are liberals right and reasonable when they point out that whatever we are doing to stop mass shootings is clearly not working?

    • #8
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:43 AM PDT
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  9. Larry3435 Member

    Concretevol:

    Tim H.: But I think there’s something else going on—not just the desire to use these cases to push an agenda.

    This is something I am growing more and more weary of….the politicization of everything. The shooters were still on the loose and twitter was full of cries for (fill in your favorite government regulation here) and invectives against praying for the victims.

    I call this “vicarious terrorism.” Terrorists do something awful, and use that to make a political point. Vicarious terrorists wait for someone else to do something awful, and use that to make a political point.

    • #9
    • December 3, 2015, at 6:51 AM PDT
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  10. Quake Voter Inactive

    “I have some Muslim friends (mostly Pakistanis and east Indians, for whatever reason), and I don’t feel the need to portray them all as would-be terrorists.”

    Do you think you might be engaging in the same cartooning of the other perspective you are noting with your piece. Your thumb seems to be on the scale here, maybe your palm.

    Has the debate really been about whether all your (0r my) East Asian Muslim friends are would-be terrorists?

    I am typing this out at a coffee shop on 74th Street in Jackson Heights (80% East Asian?) with no palpable fear that workplace violence involving assault rifles, body armour, GoPro cameras and half a dozen pipe bombs will soon ensue. No Kashmiri distempers are about to explode.

    Doesn’t mean I support the beginnings of a Merkel-sized importation of aggrieved Muslim populations from Sunni/Shia killing fields into our country. Or a tactical political program from Obama which has nothing to do with reducing human suffering but everything to do with racializing every aspect of politics.

    • #10
    • December 3, 2015, at 7:11 AM PDT
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  11. Tim H. Member
    Tim H. Post author

    Mate De:What I am concerned about, especially after some of these mass shootings, is how we deal with mentally ill people in this country.

    That reminds me of a thought-provoking but stupid theme I’ve seen running around the web: that whenever the shooter is white, people call him crazy; when it’s someone “of color,” then it’s terrorism. First of all, Arabs are white; Hispanics are often white, and so on. But getting past that, Lileks makes a good point in today’s Bleat that I find in myself, too. My own version is this: If it’s a single shooter at a school, I assume he’s younger, white, and clinically insane. If it’s a single shooter at an office, I assume he’s more like middle aged, maybe white but not necessarily, has some kind of revenge motive, but he might have mental issues, too. If it’s more than one shooter, I assume it’s not related to insanity, and the ethnic categories get broader.

    • #11
    • December 3, 2015, at 7:16 AM PDT
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  12. Tim H. Member
    Tim H. Post author

    Quake Voter:

    “I have some Muslim friends (mostly Pakistanis and east Indians, for whatever reason), and I don’t feel the need to portray them all as would-be terrorists.”

    Do you think you might be engaging in the same cartooning of the other perspective you are noting with your piece. Your thumb seems to be on the scale here, maybe your palm.

    Has the debate really been about whether all your (0r my) East Asian Muslim friends are would-be terrorists?

    I originally had written another sentence or two about this, but I thought it went too far on a tangent, so I cut it. What I would have said was that I don’t associate terrorism against the West with Pakistanis and Indians, even though there are lots of Moslems there. It seems more closely connected to Middle Eastern countries, including Syria (a worthwhile issue to consider with immigration and refugees), but we often talk about Islamic terrorism generally.

    What I mean by putting that line in at all is that, my own religious and political disagreements with Islam notwithstanding, I’m not strongly motivated to trumpet this attack as an argument against Islam. It could be used that way, but that’s not what motivates me. My strongest personal motivation is defensive: protecting our Second Amendment gains over the past twenty years.

    • #12
    • December 3, 2015, at 7:27 AM PDT
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  13. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Jamie Lockett:

    iWe: And why not? After all, we have been predicting these kinds of attacks for a while, and when they happen, it is right and reasonable to point out that we were, in fact, right, and that whatever the US is doing now is clearly not working.

    Are liberals right and reasonable when they point out that whatever we are doing to stop mass shootings is clearly not working?

    Sure. Gun free zones do not work. Where people are armed, mass shootings are stopped before they get far.

    Gun laws and gun free zones are not effective.

    • #13
    • December 3, 2015, at 7:44 AM PDT
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  14. Mikescapes Inactive

    Tim H.: I certainly am going to be interested in what we find out about these two. With what little I’ve read so far, I agree with Glenn Reynolds that this attack seems a bit odd.

    “a bit odd.” Why not drag out the old presumption of innocence? Or, let’s not jump to conclusions. Two muslims, state of the art battle gear, deliveries late a night to their homes by dark skinned men – according to a neighbor too scared of not being PC. Who are these dark skinned guy? Hey, maybe it was too dark to tell. They wouldn’t happen to be accomplices now, would they? Think maybe there were weapons and a plan. The plan might have been for other circumstances, or not even decided on yet. I’m sure these weapons were legally acquired. Don’t you?

    We are not in court with rules of evidence. We won’t be in court since the perpetrators are quite dead. Well, maybe if they catch the some of their jihad bros. We are in the court of common sense. Try it.

    Politics? Of course it’s politicized. As it should be. What isn’t? You fall (easily it seems) into the PC trap practised so effectively by the Left.

    • #14
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:09 AM PDT
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  15. Larry3435 Member

    iWe:Gun laws and gun free zones are not effective.

    Gun free zones are very effective. So long as you stay out of them, you are pretty much guaranteed not to be a victim of gun violence.

    • #15
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:19 AM PDT
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  16. MarciN Member

    Tim H.: But I think there’s something else going on, and it’s not just the desire to use these cases to push an agenda: a lot of this is defensive.

    I agree. I think it is human nature to suddenly stop grieving and start worrying when a person thinks that he or she will be blamed.

    • #16
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:28 AM PDT
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  17. RightAngles Member

    Just tuned to MSNBC and was not disappointed. Tamron Hall just reminded her 6 viewers of Oklahoma and Timothy McVey. “Don’t look there! Look over here at this shiny object!” And Obama a moment ago actually mentioned the possibility of “workplace violence,” saying, “We just don’t know.” (Well you might not know, but the rest of us do, and I don’t think I am shooting from the hip to say so.)

    • #17
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:31 AM PDT
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  18. I Walton Member

    There is obviously something deeply disturbed in persons who do these things, but that doesn’t mean they’re clinically insane. Their delusions may not be from a diagnosable mental disorder, but they still hold them and they may have been put in their minds on purpose. They may not be part of an organized terror network, but if they are Muslims, chances are this is an act, at least in their weak delusional minds, of some kind of jihad, not revenge, clinical insanity, or work place violence. Islam is one of those belief systems that does that to certain kinds of people. Islam is one thing but Muslims are just humans who come in all forms like the rest of us. To recognize this fact is not to deny the reality that Islam is a serious problem for us but most especially for people living in Islamic countries.

    • #18
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:35 AM PDT
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  19. Larry3435 Member

    RightAngles:Just tuned to MSNBC and was not disappointed. Tamron Hall just reminded her 6 viewers of Oklahoma and Timothy McVey. “Don’t look there! Look over here at this shiny object!” And Obama a moment ago actually mentioned the possibility of “workplace violence,” saying, “We just don’t know.” (Well you might not know, but the rest of us do, and I don’t think I am shooting from the hip to say so.)

    Matt and Trey call it

    • #19
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:39 AM PDT
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  20. Tim H. Member
    Tim H. Post author

    Mike Silver:

    Tim H.: I certainly am going to be interested in what we find out about these two. With what little I’ve read so far, I agree with Glenn Reynolds that this attack seems a bit odd.

    “a bit odd.” Why not drag out the old presumption of innocence? Or, let’s not jump to conclusions. Two muslims, state of the art battle gear, deliveries late a night to their homes by dark skinned men – according to a neighbor too scared of not being PC.

    No, what I meant by odd is that it had some unusual features, like the husband and wife working together. Not unique; just odd. I don’t mean that this indicates it wasn’t a terrorist attack. What I meant was that this makes me interested to find out more about it.

    • #20
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:55 AM PDT
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  21. Quake Voter Inactive

    Honestly Tim, how often is the mainstream Left on the defensive?

    Conservatism never seems to get the ball. We’ve been playing defense, usually prevent defense, for a century. Once every 40 years we get a Purple People Eater (Red, really) like Reagan. The rest of the time, we’re dropping back trying to stop the latest liberal double reverse flea flicker.

    And of course when we score a touchdown, win or beat back a referendum, our cheers last a few seconds.

    “Looks like there’s a flag on the field…”

    Drawing all-too-easy moral equivalences between liberals and conservatives searching for pieces in the wreckage to support their black box guesses ignores one basic neverending reality: Liberals have their preferred issues and narratives on those issues given to them every night by the MSM.

    Catered meals.

    We have to work for our supper.

    But before we get to supper we have to work, right? How many offices have you worked in where tone, topics and loudmouthed opinions aren’t dominated by liberals?

    I am more of a conservatarian, but I sympathize with my more traditional conservative brethren subjected to the never-ending pompous pronouncements of lefties.

    It simply isn’t a level playing field, and conservatives have to start early and work harder to create a plausible narrative .

    Muslim couple, Saudi visit, religious, attack involved AR15s, body armor, GoPro video recorders, IEDs …

    I’m not premature if I use that ammunition against liberal attacks on the 2nd Amendment.

    • #21
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:29 AM PDT
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  22. MarciN Member

    I just glimpsed something that gave me the impression that the wife was a Saudi mail-order bride of some sort. That is a bone-chilling possibility. What a great way to radicalize our domestic Muslims. In other words, she is the plot.

    • #22
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:29 AM PDT
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  23. RightAngles Member

    MarciN:I just glimpsed something that gave me the impression that the wife was a Saudi mail-order bride of some sort. That is a bone-chilling possibility. What a great way to radicalize our domestic Muslims. In other words, she is the plot.

    The female is deadlier than the male. Let’s all remember this the next time we hear the maudlin cries that the “Syrian refugees” are women and children.

    • #23
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:32 AM PDT
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  24. Ford Penney Inactive

    The public ‘playing field’ is not ‘level’ and the left intentionally wants it that way and uses the effect to their advantage.

    The left goes all in on the emotional context and when the context goes against them they get more strident and then belligerent and then screaming down their opponent for being heartless.

    The right is supposed to always remain calm under all circumstances and if anyone on the right starts to ‘loose it’ the left points all cameras in their direction and says ‘see, we told you they are crazy!’

    The whole political agenda of the left today is small, small, small ball… every event is the biggest thing. No long term ideals or big thoughts, then they’d have define themselves, so fight as community organizers in all battles. Why win big when you can win a thousand times small?

    Know who you are ‘playing’ against and what the tactics are.

    Trump is playing Republican and acting Democrat and its fun to watch the media circus, they don’t know why they can’t make his ‘crazy’ stick… and he doesn’t care. He’s survived NY politics and publishing for years, been called everything and worse.

    • #24
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:10 AM PDT
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  25. Cantankerous Homebody Inactive

    Tim H.:

    Mate De:What I am concerned about, especially after some of these mass shootings, is how we deal with mentally ill people in this country.

    That reminds me of a thought-provoking but stupid theme I’ve seen running around the web: that whenever the shooter is white, people call him crazy; when it’s someone “of color,” then it’s terrorism.

    Actually if a “person of color” commits any kind of crime the media reports “we don’t know his name, motivation or what he looks like”. If he’s white they damn sure let us know about it.

    Often the people in the comments section of a news report are able to dig up more information than you’d ever get reading the article. People are wise to the narrative and it gets ugly in the comments section.

    • #25
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:32 AM PDT
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  26. RightAngles Member

    Tim H.:

    What I would have said was that I don’t associate terrorism against the West with Pakistanis and Indians,

    The Pakistanis are not our friends. Don’t forget they hid bin Laden and imprisoned the poor doctor who helped the USA.

    • #26
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:39 AM PDT
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  27. Rodin Member

    This latest attack with it’s differences as well as its similarities to other terror attacks reinforces my evolving beliefs:

    1. Whatever other problems a Muslim will have, Islam makes it easier to resort to violence as a means of cleansing themselves or acting out their anger — justified or not.
    2. Because of #1, it is not foolish to be wary of a growing Muslim population. You do not ascribe all violence to Muslims, and you do not ignore or excuse non-Muslim violence, but it is reasonable to not permit your Muslim population to expand through immigration.
    3. Islamism is a political movement dedicated to the violent overthrow of the US Constitution. It is dressed in religious garb,but it is not a religion protected by the First Amendment. Just as freedom of speech does not protect you from criminal conviction for incitement, Islamism is not free speech. If Muslims want First Amendment protection they must be as active as anyone to rid their mosques of Islamism. (By the way, Scientology is not a religion either.)
    4. Gun control is not the answer to terrorism. Gun use and safety should be as widely promoted as First Aid courses. The goals are the same: let skilled citizen action mitigate damage that can be done in the time difference between when the event occurs and professional help is on the scene.
    5. A vigilant citizenry is more effective than lines at TSA checkpoints, or NSA snooping within America.
    • #27
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:44 AM PDT
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  28. Tim H. Member
    Tim H. Post author

    RightAngles:

    Tim H.:

    What I would have said was that I don’t associate terrorism against the West with Pakistanis and Indians,

    The Pakistanis are not our friends. Don’t forget they hid bin Laden and imprisoned the poor doctor who helped the USA.

    Maybe not, in general. (There’s a big split in the country, though, and we do have useful friends there.) But I’m restricting this to actual cases of terrorism against the West.

    • #28
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:46 AM PDT
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  29. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    RightAngles:

    MarciN:I just glimpsed something that gave me the impression that the wife was a Saudi mail-order bride of some sort. That is a bone-chilling possibility. What a great way to radicalize our domestic Muslims. In other words, she is the plot.

    The female is deadlier than the male. Let’s all remember this the next time we hear the maudlin cries that the “Syrian refugees” are women and children.

    Indeed. Letting them in will lead to Americans being widowed and orphaned via jihadist violence.

    • #29
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:51 AM PDT
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  30. Mendel Member

    Tim H.:By that, I mean that if we’re talking about a shooting in the context of whether or not we should let in Syrian refugees, or what this means about Islam as a religion, then that puts the Left is on the defensive; we subsequently feel the momentum, and we’re less likely to have the public debate saying much about the anti-abortion movement. On the other hand, I felt that we were on the defensive last week, and that the Left was on a roll. That sense of being on a roll is not always about advancing your own side; sometimes it’s about making sure the other side doesn’t advance.

    Frankly, I think this is all a bunch of hokum.

    The dawn of the internet and the cable news networks have ushered in a non-stop no-holds-barred debate on every topic under the sun. When one gets pulled into this debate it seems as though that debate is the driving force of American culture and politics and that whoever wins this virtual fight will dominate in the real world as well.

    The truth is that this virtual discussion – and especially the minutia of who has the momentum at any given moment – is nearly irrelevant to what actually happens. After Sandy Hook, gun grabbers had a huge amount of 24-hour news cycle momentum, yet no new gun control laws were enacted. After Paris, those against letting Syrian refugees into the US had a bag full of momentum, yet the Republican Congress is currently dialing its opposition back quietly.

    I really don’t give a fig who’s winning the Twitter war on this issue. It’s all just a shiny distraction.

    • #30
    • December 3, 2015, at 12:19 PM PDT
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