Tag: Charlie Hebdo

Why I Left Facebook


Four years ago a cartoon contest was held in Garland, Texas. Organizers encouraged contestants to draw political cartoons in response to a terrorist attack by Islamic supremacists on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Parisian newspaper, in January of 2015, in which a dozen people, including the newspaper’s publishing director Stéphane Charbonnier, were murdered.

This is the winning cartoon, drawn by a fellow named Bosch Fawstin.

Defending Against an Active Shooter


On his podcast last week, Michael Bane talked about altering our practice to accommodate the new reality of Islamic terrorism. In essence, we should prepare ourselves to deal with some of the same kind of things that Israel has been dealing with since about 1947 or so (Thankfully without the hordes of invading T-62′s for now, at least.).

Since at least the early ’70s, the paradigm in the United States for armed personal defense has been defending against street crime: Muggers and rapists were our greatest worry, not a re-creation of Charlie Hebdo on American soil. Sadly, those days are in the past. We’re no longer worried about the bad guy coming within bad-breath distance to do us harm, now we also need to worry about attackers with rifles whose intentions aren’t to rob us, but to kill us in the name of their god. Because there is nothing that an active shooter with a rifle wants from you besides your death, the distance of a potential deadly encounter is significantly increased, which affects how we practice and train with our defensive pistol.

John Kerry’s Staggering Naiveté


AP_john_kerry_syria_nt_130830_16x9_992Secretary of State John Kerry’s mien is so European that even Europeans must find it off-putting. More disturbing, however, is his astonishing lack of knowledge about the nature of ISIS. One wonders, for example, what French president François Hollande made of Kerry’s comment that the murders of the staff of Charlie Hebdo possessed “a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong.”

Kerry’s staggering moral confusion has been roundly — and rightly — criticized. This criticism, however, has missed the larger point, which is that Kerry is wrong on its merits: last week’s terrorist attack in Paris was every bit as “focused” and not at all “indiscriminate.” Don’t take my word for it, take the Islamic State’s. Two days after the attacks the Islamic State released a statement calling Paris a “capital of prostitution and obscenity.” By “obscenity,” of course, ISIS refers to things like attending sporting events, listening to rock music, and hanging out at cafes with friends sipping alcohol. As far as it is concerned, such pleasures are no less obscene than depicting Mohammed, a fact which Kerry’s ignorance disqualifies him as Secretary of State.

That more than half of the 129 victims were under the age of 30 only reinforces ISIS’s seething hatred of all things joyful. The Taliban’s ban on kite-flying is instructive here. What on earth, you may ask, us un-Islamic about flying a kite? The reason for the ban was this: one does not fly a kite for any purpose other than to have fun and — for Islamic primitives like the Taliban — that is sufficient to justify a ban. Islamists aren’t ambivalent about pleasure;  they have a seething hatred for it (with one well-known exception).

Perfectly Cowardly Answer: Publishing Religious Images That May Offend


BN-GK083_Charli_JV_20150112182529Sometimes I wake up thinking, “I could write something serious and original about the state of the world, or I could have a look at The New York Times and spend my morning shooting trout in a barrel.”

In my defense, the weather is quite hot and The Times made it too easy. Margaret Sullivan, public editor of The Times, yesterday tried to explain why the paper chose not to print Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons depicting Muhammad in the wake of the massacre of Charlie Hebdo staffers in Paris.

You may recall that afterward, their surviving colleagues went on television, begging the world media to show the cover of the first edition they published after the murders. They asked this, first, to show that the image was not, in fact, calculated to offend — unless one accepted the precept that any depiction of Mohammed was inherently offensive. Second, and far more important, they noted that if every publication printed the cover, they wouldn’t be singled out as targets. Beyond that argument, there is the further point that, obviously, the cover was newsworthy.

The Nature of Defiance


MuhammadThere is an argument about Pamela Geller’s cartoon contest, favored by Bill O’Reilly as well as by many garden variety liberal pundits, that goes like this:

Of course the right to free speech is sacred and the murderers who wish to infringe on that right are vile criminals. Our vigor in the defense of free speech, however, (equally obviously) does not mean that we agree with the speech we are defending. The cartoons that Geller assembled are insulting to 1.5 billion, predominantly peaceful Muslims around the world. We can judge Geller offensive or (as Bill O’Reilly does) “stupid” for deliberately mocking the religion of the benign majority just in order to taunt the violent minority.

I can embellish this argument.

Fight Like Hell for the Right to Draw Muhammad…Then Choose Not to


“Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.”– Jodi Picoult

Let’s get something straight up front. For every terrorist attack, the blame belongs with the attackers. I don’t blame Reagan for the Beirut bombing in 1983, I blame the terrorists. I don’t blame Clinton for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, I blame the terrorists. I don’t blame Bush for 9/11 or Obama for the Boston Marathon bombing. I blame the terrorists.

Could Charlie Hebdo Have Published in Your Country?


13610541.jpgThe website spiked-online.com has an interesting thought experiment: could Charlie Hebdo have published in Great Britain, that ancient bastion of free speech and an independent press?

They come to answer in the negative, because complaints from all sorts of left-wing groups would pressure organizations to refrain from carrying the magazine, and it would have gone under from lack of revenue.

Now, I think that’s a fair prediction as far as it goes, but so what? Shouldn’t individual citizens be free to organize and express their displeasure about a magazine? As long as violent coercion and/or the power of the state are not brought to bear, are these not the methods societies should use to moderate themselves?

Paris Update or, “Who Should I Believe? You or My Lying Eyes?”


This post begins and ends with an apology for being guilty of what’s driving me nuts. The other day I wrote what turned out to be a very widely-circulated post in response to a headline I saw on the Drudge Report: “Every Jew I Know Has Left Paris,” which linked to a Daily Mail article attributing the quote to Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle. Now, who should have known better than to trust a sensational headline? Who should have thought, “Drudge and The Daily Mail may not have quoted Mr. Pollard properly? Perhaps I should check to be sure?”

Yep, that would be me.

Member Post


Can we please now DO something?  I don’t think it matters, at this stage, exactly what we do, provided it doesn’t fit into the feelgood moral posturing category of the hashtag delusions we’ve seen so far.  Our girls aren’t back #bringbackourgirls. Here’s a list – just do something #forgawdsake Preview Open

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‘God Cannot Be Mocked’


As a teenager, I was easily offended. Any perceived slight would earn an immediate “That’s not fair!” to which adults within earshot would either roll their eyes or ignore. (I didn’t think that was fair either, nor do my tween daughters today.) At 15, I became an evangelical Christian and appended this teenage whininess to my faith. When evil sinners denigrated my God or my inchoate beliefs, I would angrily condemn their blasphemies. After all the Good Book states, “God cannot be mocked.” The Big Guy upstairs needs an uptight high schooler to defend His honor!

Wednesday we had a vastly more violent reaction to religious offense. As is all too common, Islamist radicals murdered individuals who mocked not their God, but a flawed human whom they claim as a prophet. Jihadists never seem as defensive about Islam’s other prophets, be they Jesus, Moses or Jonah. No, only the scimitar-swinging Mohammed is so fragile that he cannot even be illustrated without a bloodbath of vengeance.

Well, That Happened


Most post-9/11 Islamic terrorists in the West — the Madrid and London bombers excepted, though even the more recent of those happened nearly 10 years ago — have been hopeless amateurs, incapable of causing more casualties than a typical spree-shooter. If your global Jihad can’t predictably out-perform lone nut cases such as Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and Jared Lougfner, that speaks poorly for you.

This morning’s attack on on the left-wing French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, however, appears to be something different. Obviously, we’re still learning details and we don’t know how this one will end, but the basic facts show a level of competency we haven’t seen from domestic terrorists in a while. Any idiot can ambush a cyclist, set-off a pair of pressure-cooker bombs, or go on a suicidal shooting-spree, but attacking a specific, symbolic location in broad daylight — whose inhabitants knew themselves to be serious targets — with multiple, highly-armed assailants who planned to get away and did takes some degree of planning, skill, and smarts. I’ll concede I’m mildly impressed in addition to being disgusted, saddened, and angered.