I know, you’re sick of all these shootings too, but wait a bit: This isn’t only about the latest in America’s endless series of mass gun murders. It’s also about the power of prayer — specifically, its power to absolve rightbloggers from the consequences of their gun-love.
The coverage of the November 27 Planned Parenthood massacre was just cooling down when another mass shooting on December 2 captivated the nation. Just to be clear, we don’t mean the mass shooting early that morning in Savannah, Georgia — that’s old news. We mean the one in San Bernardino, California, at a community center shot up by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, leaving 14 dead and 21 wounded.
When they found out the assailants were Muslim, rightbloggers were juiced, because by the ancient rules of 9/11 that changed what they call the “narrative” from Yet More Senseless Gun Violence to Goddamn Mooslims What Arab Country Ain’t We Bombed Yet? To make sure everyone played along, they employed their ancient strategy of demanding that Obama, who called the shootings an “act of terror,” say the Magic Words.
“TRUMP: OBAMA WON’T SAY ‘RADICAL ISLAM,’ ‘SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT,’ ” hollered a headline at Breitbart.com. “Obama still won’t say Calif. shooting was terrorism,” headlined the Washington Examiner.
“Watch As Senior Democrats Try To Explain Why Obama Won’t Say ‘Islamic Terrorists,’ ” said The Federalist Papers. “DHS Secretary Explains Why Obama Won’t Say ‘Radical Islam’ or ‘Islamic Extremism,’ ” said TownHall. (Because it’s derogatory and offensive to loyal Muslim Americans, said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson; “because the Muslim community doesn’t want him to,” TownHall interpreted for the hard-of-mishearing.)
“The president hates conceding the obvious when it comes to terrorism,” wrote Jonah Goldberg of National Review. “At this point, it’s clear this is a deliberate strategy…. One can’t deny that it’s worked for him. It just doesn’t speak well of him.” Hmmph!
But a funny thing happened: Instead of volunteering to be punching bags, liberals flipped the script: Senate Democrats put in a bill to keep people on the terror-related no-fly list from buying guns. It was pure grandstanding, but it made the point, when it went down to defeat, that Republicans loved guns even more than bullshit anti-terrorism posturing — and that’s saying something.
This so burned the brethren that some of them portrayed liberals as the real threat. “SAN BERNARDINO: A LIBERAL HATE CRIME AGAINST AMERICA,” hollered Craige McMillan at WorldNetDaily. “Ever since the smell of Karl Marx’s body odor drove patrons from the London library during the years…” No, really, that’s how McMillan’s piece began. “What sane nation,” McMillan continued, “would pretend to be at war with the Islamic murderers of the twin towers in New York on 9/11 and then welcome hundreds of thousands of those same people inside its borders since the ‘war’ began?” But Muslim refugees, dangerous as they are, are only a symptom, he wrote: “Muslim jihad is simply a weapon of the political left being employed in the service of the proletarian utopia they seek to implement worldwide…” Then McMillan stripped off and ran into the woods to howl at the moon, or so we can reasonably infer.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Muslim Americans that she would treat seriously any Islamophobic incitement that “edges towards violence,” which rightbloggers took to mean it was now illegal to say raghead and what about freedom of speech? Former New York Governor and — yeah, just checked — GOP presidential contender George Pataki had some nice young person tweet for him, “We must declare war on radical Islam. @LorettaLynch I’m not edging toward violent speech, I’m declaring we kill them. Go ahead, arrest me.” At the office park that houses his campaign, tiny computer speakers blared “Academy Fight Song” as a lone intern pumped his fist.
Then the international liberal conspiracy brought out their Main Stream Media flunkies to inflict newsprint on the brethren. The New York Daily News, usually not super-bold, ran two provocative pro-gun-control front pages, one of which told sanctimonious pols who offered “thoughts and prayers” instead of action that “God Isn’t Fixing This.”
“This is what happens when a publication’s editors lose control of themselves,” tweeted, get this, Brit Hume. “ ‘Allah isn’t fixing this’ might be closer to the mark,” snarled Scott Johnson of Power Line. Guns don’t kill people, Muslims do!
Not only that: The New York Times did a (mild) pro-gun-control editorial on its (little-read) Saturday front page, its first front-page op-ed since 1920. The brethren flipped. “New York Times throws front-page temper tantrum on gun control,” blared Thomas Lifson of American Thinker. “In the 447 words prompted by the San Bernardino slaughter,” said Lifson, “there was not room for the word ‘Islam’ or ‘Islamic.’ ” Jonah Goldberg basically said oh you did a front page op-ed about gun control but not one about AIDS? Or World War II? Why didn’t you run a front-page op-ed then, huh? (He also accused the Times editorial board of bad writing; follow the link to his post to see why that’s funny.)
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson tweeted a picture of a copy of the paper with holes through it and claimed he had shot it. No, I’m not kidding. Later he wrote some other crazy shit, but dog bites man, etc.
Newspapers and politicians actually pushing back on gun control must have been a shock to rightbloggers, but the smarter ones appeared to grasp that a new line of defense was needed. Americans, after all, are still OK with gun control, at least in the abstract (and the abstract was just what liberals were offering them).
There’s an old saying: When the going gets tough, rightbloggers fall down holding their knees and cry to the refs. The liberals, they protested in this case, were prayer-shaming them — that is, refusing to take their offers of prayers in lieu of action as seriously as they demanded. It’s the new War on Christmas, except rightbloggers aren’t embarrassed by it yet.
“LEFT SEEKS TO ’PRAYER-SHAME’ OPPONENTS OF GUN CONTROL IN WAKE OF SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING,” said Emily Zanotti at the American Spectator (“Apparently, if you want to pray, you also have to ascribe to a left-leaning ideology.”). “Prayer shaming and the media assault on faith after San Bernadino [sic],” said the Washington Times (“the media was already in full cry, however, and ‘prayer shaming’ was rampant”). “HILLARY CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN’S THINK-TANK LEADS ‘PRAYER-SHAMING’ AFTER JIHAD ATTACK,” all-capped Breitbart.com (“And the tactic of ‘prayer shaming’ is catching on in the pages of the mainstream media”). Etc.
In her post at the Federalist with the whoa-nelly headline “The Left Prays After San Bernardino Shooting, To Its God Of Government,” Mollie Hemingway did one of those “white-people-have-names-like-Lenny” stand-up bits: Conservatives, see, believe in Jesus, who “tells us that God wants us to ask him for things like a father wants his children to ask of him, so he can answer and give them what they ask for to show his love.” But liberals instead worship the “god of federal government,” foolishly believing they can fix problems with a golden calf called “laws.” Now everyone get on your knees and pray for the icecaps to freeze back up!
At the Wall Street Journal professional passive-aggressor Peggy Noonan clucked at the “accusations and bitter words flung all over the Internet” over mass murder. “Successful politics involves pulling people together,” she wrote, which is why she reached out to her liberal opponents by telling them they “do not really know what a prayer is. Maybe no one ever told them.” Like those pagan babies we used to save at St. Aloysius!
Breitbart.com fairly characterized the reaction of Senator Ted “Trump is dead, I am your God now” Cruz thus: “NOW, MORE THAN EVER, AMERICANS MUST BE ARMED.” (Cruz also went to a shooting range to pose with guns, in much the same way politicians sometimes pose with disgraced colleagues to show their support.)
On Sunday night Obama went on TV to reiterate that San Bernardino was an “act of terror” and to push the no-fly thing. He also cautioned that America should “not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war” and stressed that Muslim Americans were our neighbors, friends, and members of the U.S. military, not mainly terrorists.
Rapid rightblogger reaction was what you’d expect: “Obama hates terror because it’s distracted all from climate change,” hey-o’d Greg Gutfield. “Now, give me all your guns,” tweeted Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds. “Obama talking about discrimination against Muslims when, according to FBI, jews are victims of ‘hate crimes’ 4 times more than muzzies,” seethed Daniel Horowitz.
So which way will it go? Who knows. On one hand, another Mideast war is a hard sell to the voters. On the other, terror works, and rightbloggers have years of practice keeping people terrorized. That’s where guns comes in: If people are too terrified to leave the house without a gun, you’re more than halfway home. (And not just in those wide-open spaces: Senator Rand Paul, who relinquished his libertarian credentials over the War on Whatchamacallit, this week grabbed them back by trying to force universal gun suffrage on Washington, D.C. If they can get city people to imagine everyone around them has a gun and they better have one too, maybe they’ll become paranoid enough to vote like Red Staters.)
Unequipped to appeal to either hearts or minds, rightbloggers are putting their hope in amygdalae. The dilemma is: Will voters ultimately decide they’re more terrified of Muslims, or of Republicans?