Arizona Massacre: When Will We All Own up to the Climate of Violence?

Nothing happens in a vacuum especially tragedies like the one that took place over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona where Congresswoman Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Gifford was shot point-blank in the head at the hands of a man named Jared Lee Loughner.

According to reports Gifford is lucky to be alive but when she recovers she is likely to have difficulty speaking…Sadly there  were 5 people who didn’t come home that night. They include a nine-year old girl named Christina Green. She’s the grand-daughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green.

There was a District Judge named John Roll, 63.There was Gifford’s aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30. There were several elders including; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Scheck, 79.

Before we move forward let’s think about the people slain for just a moment….Let’s Pause…Let’s Stop, think.. Reflect…

Christina Green

Let’s think about the family of  Christina Taylor Green. Look at your kids. Think about your grandkids. Could you imagine if this was your child that was shot and killed in Tucson?

Think about the fact that the reason young Christina was present on Saturday was because she had just been elected to some sort of student office at school and wanted to further her interest in government. She was eager to meet Congresswoman Gifford to get some pointers. Her distraught parents said she wanted to see democracy in action.

Christina was interested and enthusiastic in a way only a child could be. It was that sort of  innocence and beauty  that was lost the other day in Tucson.

Let’s think about Gabe Zimmerman..He was thirty years old..a young man who by all accounts had his best days before him…Let’s think about him for a moment.

Who was he?  Did he have brothers? Sisters? Kids of his own? What did he mean to his family? How heartbroken are they today? What about his friends? His loved ones?

Congresswoman Gabby Gifford

Think about the 4 seniors slain, John Roll, Dorothy Morris, Dorwin Stoddard and Phyllis Scheck. Since when has it been ok to kill the elderly in such a brutal fashion? They were parents and grandparents. How are their families feeling? Think about the pain their loved ones are going through.

Imagine if it was your mom or dad who went down to the store to see their congressperson and never returned? How would you feel?  Think about the pain of losing one of your parents suddenly… Think about that for a minute…Think about losing your sweet mom.. Think about losing your dad.. Think about losing your grandmother or grandfather  to senseless violence. For many such thoughts are unbearable. Such thoughts are unthinkable.

The question we all must answer is how many of us really thought about this loss of life enough to change the way we engage one another in our political discussions and do we really want to?

The Climate of Violence Has Been Building for a While

When thinking about Gabby Gifford being shot and along with those slain Gabe, Christina, John, Dorothy, Dorwin and Phyllis I could not help but think about all the crazy death threats that have been directed at everyone from President Obama in the two years he’s been in office all the way back to my Congresswoman Barbara Lee shortly after the 9-11 attacks

For those who don’t recall, Lee was the lone vote in Congress who said ‘No’ to Presidents Bush’s Post 9-11 Use of Force Act which would’ve increased his powers and resources to wage war against the Taliban.

Lee voted No and next thing you know she was showing up to our church with Secret service in tow. Her office was threatened, she was threatened, there were vicious editorials accusing her of being UNPATRIOTIC..

I heard radio commentators who never served one day on the frontline of any war , talking crazy about how we need to fight, kick ass and not show weakness by talking about peace. During those turbulent times, we were all asked to choose a side and anything not supporting the war effort was deemed less than honorable.

We saw a return to some of those sentiments this past september on the anniversary of 9-11 when there was a proposed building of a mosque/ community center several blocks away from Ground Zero. We had former mayors, sitting senators, a governor and numerous Congressman publicly state that it was wrong for fellow American citizens to build a mosque in an area that contained fast food joints and strip clubs, because according to them, it would be insensitive. The people backing the Mosque were warned that moving forward with their proposal would inflame the masses and that it would lead to violence.

Ahmed Sharif was stabbed in the throat by a domestic terrorist named Michael Enright photo by Robert Mecea

In the days leading up to the anniversary  that we heard some of the most vile and insidious things said about our fellow citizens who practice Islam and it wasn’t too long before violence, homegrown American violence, reared its head and mosques were vandalized, bomb threats issued, people assaulted. One unlucky innocent cab driver named Ahmed Sharif was stabbed in the throat by an individual named Michael Enright who decided  that the best way to resolve the issue would be through an act of violence.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. I can go on listing all sorts of examples. They range from students in inner city schools being required to shed so-called gang colors from their attire least they enrage the local thugs who will come to the school and cause problems to women being told to dress less provocatively for fear of inflaming the uncontrollable passions of a would-be rapist to gays and  lesbians being told to keep their sexual orientation to themselves otherwise they might upset any number of homophobes.

I bring up these examples to make a larger point. If I, we and us all are being told to calm it down, who is seeing to it that the on air punditry and Fox News personalities to tone it down? No one.. When the subject is approached its called FREE SPEECH. Its called POLITICS.. Its called Americans standing up for their rights. We have all sorts of other euphemisms being used to describe over the top, coarse behavior. When do we draw a line in the sand and say no more? No more to inflammatory rhetoric?

Is Harsh Rhetoric and Violence a Habit We Can’t Kick

Now I’m fully aware that there were quite a few who read this including some who have media platforms where they get to have daily one way conversations with the public who saw my suggestion about reflecting on the loss of life  as corny. It’s something that should literally be dismissed and there are all sorts of justifications.

Some will say that the thought of trying to be civil especially at this day and time when there have been so many attacks launched our way is not happening. They’ll be cynical in thought and say something along the lines; ‘Love and Peace? Fuck that… It’s about No Justice, No Peace.. They’ll have concluded, that part of our problem is we’ve been civil for far too long and its gotten us nowhere. They’ll note that we’ve  been way too nice and all its gotten is more venom and a perception that we are somehow weak. Many of us have come to believe the old adage Nice guys finish last especially in the arenas of love and politics.

Upon hearing about the tragedy in Arizona if the first thing that went through our minds was the hateful rhetoric of a Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck vs the faces of those injured and slain juxtaposed with our loved ones, what does that say about us? Did a bit of our humanity die with those slain or was it an affirmation that our humanity has been long gone and we best find ways to get it back?

Sarah Palin

If Sarah Palin was busy erasing tweets, scrubbing her Facebook pages and hiding that infamous map with the crosshairs targeting Gabby Gifford, or some other politico who uttered hurtful words was suddenly consulting PR firms to do damage control and figure out what sort of spin to apply to this incident while the dead bodies in Arizona were still warm, what does that say about them? What does it say about us that we still embrace and give such people who show no remorse validity?

Again, nothing happens in a vacuum and this killing spree was no exception. Many of us, when we talk about violence we tend to see incidents like the one in Tucson as isolated and limited to the person pulling the trigger.

Can We Explain Away Domestic Terrorist as Mentally Deranged?

We wanna explain away accused shooter Jared Loughner as a deranged, emotionally disturbed man who simply needs to be condemned and locked up. We wanna suggest there is absolutely no reason to connect him to hate groups or see him as part of a larger terrorist cell. I guess for many of us, it’s simply too hard to accept that emotionally disturbed people are susceptible to the being recruited by hate groups or partaking in terrorist activities. We like to believe that once we lock up Jared Loughner and throw away the key we’ll all be safe again and things will go back to normal. The question all of us better be asking ourselves; ‘What is normal’?

Sarah Palin's infamous map with the crosshairs targeting political opponents

Is a normal society one where we soundly reject uncivil threatening behavior or is it one where embrace, and even reward it?

Is a normal society one where we take the high road and try and be above the fray or is it one where we scream louder, bully harder, get down and dirtier, and be more violent than anyone else in order to win an argument or political contest?

How many times have we heard our so-called experts explain that negative advertising during a political campaign works? How many times have we heard about the need for any one running for office to hire someone to dig up the most vile and nasty things of an opponents past to use against them? How many times have we seen pundits resort to outright lies, trickery and underhanded schemes to trip up and take down a political opponent? We’ve convinced ourselves that the only way to win an argument or a war is to smash on your opponent and show no mercy.

All is fair in love and war, is what we say to ourselves. Is it fair when someone shoots and kills someone to make their point? Is this the type of society we want?

Very few people like to see themselves in that sort of light, yet if you listen to many of our esteemed political punditry and media experts, that’s exactly what we crave. We want aggressive over the top behavior in all arenas. We want it in politics. We want it in our music. We want it in our entertainment.

It doesn’t matter whether or not its an enraged Bill ‘O’Reilly impugning us to not allow Dr George Tiller to get away with anymore late-term abortions as he launched a on air crusade resulting in his death, or  a smug Glenn Beck demonizing the Tides Foundation which led to a white supremacist to seek out employees of that organization, or Beck threatening to kill filmmaker Micheal Moore, or a Jerry Springer where on his TV show he has two sisters fighting each other over a man or a popular rap artists like Kanye West depicting women hanging in his latest video and receiving praise for being artistic.

Like it or not from what we as a society seem to embrace or allow to go unchallenged in our midst… the violence, mayhem  and this weekend’s massacre, is the American Way. We as a country relish such things. We have to own up to it. Anyone saying otherwise has to explain  the undeniable proof of  high TV and radio ratings where civility is tossed out the window. They’ll have to explain the popularity of certain websites and high YouTube views where this sort of madness is routinely played out.

Have we gotten to a point where the thought of being civil is uncomfortable? Has anger and venomous behavior become habits we can’t shake? Have we  fostered an environment where showing compassion makes us marks?

Many of us are caught up in an all too pervasive cycle of violence both directly and indirectly. Death has become all too routine. It doesn’t matter if you live in the hardest of hoods or if you live in the most pristine of suburbs.. All of us our caught up.. ALL OF US.. including myself. We’ve created an environment where the loss of life is abstract and vastly cheapened.

Christopher Jones

Lastly we must put all this in larger context. There was a terrible tragedy in Tucson Arizona over the weekend. It was the same weeknd that we saw 3 young men get killed in a nightclub in San Jose California. It was the same weekend in any city and town USA where someone pulled out a gun or a knife and took a life. Massacres in our respective communities are happening all the time.

Case in point, many of us have shown an interest in what took place in Arizona, but were we empathetic? If so did that same empathy carry over to tragedies closer to home? Last night here in Oakland, several hundred people showed up at a vigil for the senseless killing of a promising 17-year-old named Christopher Jones. He was gunned down a week ago in front of his mother and sisters as he placed his nephew in the back seat of a car . He was not gang banger, trouble maker or anything like that.

Jared Loughner

Like Jared Loughner we don’t know all that led these young men to shoot another in broad daylight in front of his family. Were they part of a hate group? Wete they emotionally disturbed, mentally deranged? Was it too much gangsta rap? Too much Fox News? Or did they take a cue from the larger society that has left violence on the table as away to get points across?

Did the young men who shot Christopher wrap themselves in this climate of violence the way that many of us are saying Jared Loughner did?  If so who’s the next to sip the kool aid and go on a killing spree? Who’s next to tragically die as a result?

At the end of the day do we care? Do we really care about the slaying of Christopher Jones or the 5 people slain in Tucson, Arizona or are they all collateral damage in a society that has firmly decided  that violent loss of life is part of our increasing strident political and social landscape?

something to ponder

-Davey D-

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The Power of Words & Hate Speech-Where do We Draw the Line on Islam & the Ground Zero Mosque?

As you read this article, keep in mind whats been going on the past few days since i posted this..some right-wing radio stations are hosting polls asking if we should start registering practicing Muslims during time of war.. Keep this in mind as you read this and ask yourself is this really a mindless distraction or some real cause for alarm.. here’s the link to the story

-Davey D-

Sept 1 2010

The power of language and words should never be underestimated. They can inspire or inflame. They can move mountains or paralyze us. If broadcasted they can be maligning with serious physical and political consequences for those who are on the receiving end of a tirade and can’t speak back. It can embolden those who agree with the tirade and encourage them to act on anger and fear.  Words from those who have access to far-reaching platforms can set a responsible or irresponsible tone. We’re seeing this play out with the big debate around the proposed Community Center/ Mosque near Ground Zero, the site of the 9-11 attacks in New York.

Yesterday I heard about  a Mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee being burned to the ground. Last week in nearby Madera, California we heard about a Mosque being vandalized. Graffiti was left warning Muslims not to continue their plan to build a Mosque at Ground Zero. Instead of seeing our esteemed 4th estate (the media) go in and do investigative reports as to who was behind the attacks, we heard lots of justifications in the form of media pundits wanting to find out who might be behind the funding for project at Ground Zero. We didn’t hear about the trauma and angst worshippers of those vandalized places of worship may have felt. There hasn’t been too much conversation about suspicious activities leading up the vandalism. There weren’t a whole lot of   questions about whether or not it was a paramilitary ‘Minute Man’ type group or some knucklehead kids behind the vandalism?

Personally, I  wanna know if any of these groups opposed to a Mosque /Community Center being built near Ground Zero or any of these colorful, bombastic  individuals spewing so much hate are being funded?  Is it fair to ask if the Koch brothers who were recently exposed in an expose Covert Operations by New Yorker magazine as billionaire funders for the Tea Party, are funding Anti-Mosque/Anti-Muslim protests?  Could you imagine how deep reporters would go in, if there was even a hint that some synagogue was vandalized by an angry group of Muslims?

Good Day NY Host and military man Greg Kelly broadcasted on Good Day NY that anti-Muslim sentiments were non-existent

One of the attacks reported last week centers on a nutcase who ran up in a Mosque in Astoria, Queens and yelled out anti-Muslim slurs and then urinated on the prayer rug. The first thing that came to mind was what took place last Tuesday morning on the TV news show Good Day New York. Here anchor Greg Kelly who is a Lieutenant Colonel the Marine corps reserve and the son of NYPD police commissioner Ray Kelly, rudely and pompously cut off his guest Elaine Brower and berated and dismissed her claims that she had experienced anti-Muslim sentiment at a rally that was held at Ground Zero over that weekend.You can peep the segment here: .

Kelly told the women her story sounded like hogwash. He then accused her of being in the same vein those who accused the Tea Party of racism but couldn’t produce a video proving their point. Kelly went on to say he lived near the area of the protests and he had not seen any evidence the people would act so hatefully.  His remarks were broadcast all around the country and because he’s a news anchor, many took his word at face value, especially knowing who his father was.. The thought is he above all would know best.

What was ironic was while Kelly was denying there was any anti-Muslim hysteria a video was making its way around the blogosphere showing a young Black man, accused of being a Muslim on the verge of being attacked by a frenzied mob at that weekend protest. People in crowd could be heard yelling ‘Mohammed is a Pig‘ while folks held up anti-muslim signs. You can peep the video here:

That morning I contacted Good Day NY and sent their news department a link to the video. Of course there was no retraction or acknowledgement. Now that we’ve had these other attacks,  I’ve watched to see if  Kelly would apologize or have the woman back on to state what she actually experienced that Sunday. But of course that’s not happening in 2010. I know we here at Hard Knock Radio are in the process of tracking down Elaine Brower at her organization  NYC Coalition to Stop Islamaphobia in America to invite her on our show where she can finish her sentences and fully explain what she experienced.

Sadly people like Kelly are not alone in denying there’s been little anti-Muslim sentiment. If anything, many actually feel justified in the anger they have expressed. The other day I got a tweet from someone stating that they Italy denies religious status to Islam & so should the USA.  Some one else hit me up stating that while this country has religious freedom the people behind the Mosque should show some class and move elsewhere. There was no sign or concern about the attacks. If anything folks felt that they deserved to be attacked for not moving. Such comments are indicative of both the sense of entitlement many feel as well their belief in nasty stereotypes and incidents hawked by media pundits that have nothing to do with Islam’s core beliefs.  Many have gone all out by  showing extreme intolerance and by equating Islam to terrorism. This has had dire consequences.

Ahmed Sharif was stabbed in the throat by a domestic terrorist named Michael Enright

The most serious and heavily publicized of these recent attacks on Muslims took place last week in New York when a cab driver  named, Ahmed Sharif was viciously attacked by some lunatic Islamaphobic passenger named Michael Enright. According to the reports, Enright asked if Sharif if he was a Muslim before stabbing him in the throat with a pocket knife. Sharif came inches to losing his life.

What was troubling to note was in the days after the attack many reporters described Enright as a 21-year-old ‘drunken’ film student. It seemed as if  horrible behavior was being explained away by him being  ‘boozed up’. My question was ‘Why not call him a ‘Domestic Terrorist’? That’s what he is..  So many people have been quick to call anyone who is Muslim a terrorist and Un-American,  why not refer to Enright as someone who is  treasonous? Why not describe him as someone who tramples on the Constitution? Lot’s of news outlets spent countless hours asking people if they would feel safe with a Mosque being built near Ground Zero, why won’t those same news outlets spend time asking cabbies who are or look like they are Middle Eastern or Muslim, if they feel safe picking up white passengers who may be holding extreme Islamaphobic views?

If we really wanna get deep, why not start unearthing questions and find out if Enright’s recently filming assignment of Marines on the front lines in Afghanistan led to him having so much hatred? Was that a key reason allowing him to dehumanizing Sharif?

Why not refer to Michael Enright as a domestic terrorist or is he just a poor lowly student film maker suffering from some sort of PST

It’s being reported that Enright ‘the film maker’ (notice how he’s constantly being humanized)  has been transferred to a psych ward on Riker’s Island.  This is in spite of the fact that the note books he was carrying was filled with ‘biased sentiments’.  They are also running stories about his bizarre drunken behavior in the past.

Again, the question that should be answered; Was it the war that Enright experienced in Afghanistan and should we be concerned that there are others like him as more and more combat troops return home? Or was Enright spawned on by hearing all this unchecked vitriol on broadcast media where Muslims are routinely castigated?  Was Enright’s actions the result of him hearing supposedly respectable politicians and pundits like Newt Gingrich who recently equated Muslims to Nazis or  Sarah Palin who recently advocated profiling Muslims? Should  Gingrich or Palin shoulder any responsibility for this attack? After all both have pointed in the past out how words used ‘irresponsibly’ have power.

Sarah Palin is always railing about the harmful effects of ‘biased media’, unfair coverage and how unchallenged punditry has caused distress to her and her family.  Newt Gingrich over the years has made no bones about  fearing certain types of speech along with his political colleagues who have made  moves to squash it.

Newt Gingrich recently equated Islam with Nazism

We can look back over the years and see how  Gingrich’s political cronies blamed rappers like Ice Cube and Ice T for instigating the riots that took place in 1992 in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict?  Ice Cube caught heat for songs like Black Korea and Ice T came under fire for Cop Killer.

All the controversy resulted in special Senate hearings being held while then Vice President Dan Quayle went in on both rappers?  A few years later in 1995, controversy erupted when 2Pac was sued by the estate of a Texas state trooper for the song Soulja’s Story where it was contended that the lyrics led to the trooper being killed by a crazed assailant.   It was just a two years ago Gingrich himself appeared on the Neil Cavuto show and blamed rap music for this disrespect Americans were showing one another. He stated…

We have tolerated the growth, whether it’s on MTV or it’s in a variety of other sources. We have tolerated a language. We have tolerated a kind of rap music. All of these things have been a coarsening, degrading process of saying to people, it is OK to ignore authority. It’s OK to be brutal. It’s OK to do really bad things. If we follow Gingrich’s line of thinking and conclude a steady diet of negative ‘music’ can have harmful effects can we make the case that steady diet of negative news punditry is also harmful? If so, then we have to look at what’s taking place around this debate about what should be built around Ground Zero with a larger lens.

We do know our country has taken great pains to limit and actually take out the broadcast mediums in places like Afghanistan and replace them with Voice of America. Our military has long complained about news outlets like Al Jazzera suggesting that their reporting on the War in Iraq was fanning the flames of our enemies. We made moves to censor the newspaper, remove their credentials we were accused of bombing them. We eventually hired a high-caliber PR firm called the Rendon Group to counter and limit their influence in the region.  Obviously our brightest military minds understand the power of words. They understand what sort of harm can take place when media outlets start whipping people into a frenzy. We saw this play out with Huto Power Radio in Rwanda which led to the horrific genocide.  We saw this play out in Nazi Germany under Hitler where Germans were whipped into a frenzy and eventually started attacking Jews.

Did Bill O'Reilly's relentless anti-abortion campaign lead to Dr George Tiller being killed?

It was just two years ago we saw the public get whipped into a frenzy around the issue of late-term abortions. Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly was at the helm as he spent months crusading against abortion doctor George Tiller In one of his infamous tirades O’Reilly stated;

“If we as a society allow an undefined mental health exception in late-term abortions, then babies can be killed for almost any reason… This is the kind of stuff that happened in Mao’s China and Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union… If we allow this, America will no longer be a noble nation… If we allow Dr. George Tiller and his acolytes to continue, we can no longer pass judgment on any behavior by anybody.”

Unfortunately some crazed individual named Scott Roeder believed the hype, took O’Reilly’s words to heart, went to a church in Wichita, Kansas and in cold blood, shot Dr George Tiller who was serving as an usher.

Bill O'reilly denies his vicious slander of Dr Tiller caused him to be a victim to violence, yet he feels Jennifer Aniston's remarks will harm 13 year old girls?

Many said O’Reilly had the blood of Tiller on his hands. He said he felt like he did nothing wrong while his supporters pointed to free speech and first amendment rights. O’Reilly fans felt it was an ‘illogical’ conclusion to see him as contributing to Tiller’s death because of his on air remarks which they saw as pointed but harmless.  However, this is the same Bill O’Reilly who like Gingrich had  taken a number of entertainers to task including rappers Ludicrous and Jay-Z and most recently actress Jennifer Aniston for ‘being irresponsible’ with their words.

In the recent case with Aniston, O’Reilly went to town on her, accusing her negatively influencing 12 and 13 year olds after she said women don’t need men to have a child. This came out during an interview in which Aniston was promoting her new movie  ‘The Switch’ which is about artificial insemination.

One could make the case that if we’re supposed to be concerned about Aniston negatively influencing 12-13 year old girls about single motherhood, should we be concerned about how O’Reilly might be negatively influenceing 12- 13 year old boys when we look at how he handles his guests by screaming and shouting or how he handled the Loofa sponge scandal a few years back?  What sort of negative influence does a man who preaches we should have high moral standing have when he was sued by his producer Andrea Macktris for sexual harrassment?

Many say cop killer Richard Poplawski was influenced by the anti-government rantings of media pundits Glenn Beck and Alex Jones

The bottom line is that words especially those that are broadcasted have influence. We can cite dozens of examples of individuals who have acted out violently after being whipped into a frenzy by fiery media pundits who get to speak unopposed on the airways  They range from anti-government zealot Richard Poplawski who murdered 3 Pittsburgh, PA  police officers in April of 2009 to  Joseph Andrew Stack who flew his plane into an Austin, Texas, IRS building killing former Vietnam Vet and IRS manager Vernon Hunter this past February to Byron Christopher Williams a California man who last month while armed to the hilt and wearing body armor, shot it out with police on the 580 Freeway in Oakland. Williams was on his way to San Francisco to kill ACLU and Tide Foundation workers who he felt were ruining this country based upon the fear mongering of news pundits.

In many of these instances its been pointed out that  these attackers were ginned up from listening to inciteful right-wing anti-government media pundits.  Why do these announcers get a pass and are allowed to incite violence while others are reigned in, penalized and shut down for far less egregious remarks

Why is that TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey can go on TV and express criticism about eating meat and get sued by the cattle industry who accused her of causing prices to fall but those Muslims who now find themselves under  attack are literally being told to keep quiet and move?

Kanye West came underfire from the powerful Diamond industry when he warned his fans about buying 'Confict' diamonds

Why is that rap star Kanye West speak out about the harmful impact of Blood diamonds and have the Diamond Industry upset with him and eventually step to him, but those who are marginalized and demaonzied by right-wing talk are told to grow a pair and only see this as entertainment?

Back in the days, how could we have NWA do a song like Fuck Tha Police and not only do they get a letter from the FBI condemning the song, but have police departments all over the country refuse to let the group perform the song at venues they patrolled. The one time they attempted to perform the song, in Detroit, 20 plain clothes officers rushed the stage and attacked the group. One might ask where’s that same heavy hand of the law to reign in those attacking Muslims on the air today?

Is it wrong to be concerned when powerful media outlets seem to be working overtime demonizing various groups of people?  Today its Muslims and the issue of terrorism. Yesterday it was Brown folks and the fervor over immigration and ‘anchor babies’.  The day before it was Black folks and the war on drugs. The constant fearmongering has led to politicians taking note on certain issues and crafting legislation around what was being tossed up as something to fear.

From 3 Strikes to SB 1070, fear mongering in the media was an essential component in getting these laws on the books. With the current debate around Muslims in America  who knows what crazy law will be thought up and pushed for passage. We already gave up lots of privacy and Civil Liberties after 9-11 under the guise ‘we need to keep the country safe’. Will we find ourselves returning to the days of internment camps where we locked up thousand of Japanese-American citizens during World War II while  allowing our German-American citizens to be free even after some formed a Nazi Party here in the US?

Gov david patterson has pushed for Ground Zero Mosque/ Community center Builder to find another location.

All of us should be concerned when we have sitting Governors like NY’s David Patterson and US Senators like Harry Reid telling a group of American citizens it would be a good idea and smart thing to move their community center/ Mosque because people’s feelings are raw.

One must move because people are feeling hurt? It wasn’t the builders of the ground Zero/Mosque/ Community center who flew those planes into the building. This setting a bad precedent?  Where do we stop and draw the line?

Should we ban gas stations especially if we know the gas is coming from Muslim countries? Did any of the anti-Mosque protestors stop driving or using gas? Hell have they even picketed gas stations expressing their angst? Just how hurt are they?

If we allow the anti-Muslim crowd to get its way can we extend this to other victims? Can survivors of Hurricane Katrina demand that no new housing that further displaces them be built in the 9th Ward because they’re still in shock and traumatized? Can we go on the air waves and bash on developers and make them feel unsafe for rebuilding?

Can we ban the building of Catholic churches because children have been molested by clergy members? Should we take to the airwaves and shout down anyone who is Catholic? Can we start demonizing our Catholic neighbors? Perhaps we can tell the schools in our area to relocate because folks have been hurt by a few individuals who claim that faith.

Don’t get me wrong censorship is not being advocated. However what does one do when fairness and common sense are absent from those who have large and loud media platforms? What do we do as a society when media which is increasingly becoming consolidated even on the web is being used as a vicious weapon and propoganda tool against folks who are marginalized and dont have a voice? How this Mosque thing plays out will set things in motion for years to come. I’m not sure what all the answers should be but I hope all of us put our heads together and start with the premise we are all human and have right to be here.

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