This is a disturbed individual with big personal problems not related to hating Muslims or anyone else. The idea that he could have been inspired in any way by “hate speech” of Park 51 opponents exists only in the fertile imaginations of those willing and eager to jump the gun in order to engage in unwarranted political attacks.
The Left, of course, is well known for this and has engaged in this behavior several times in recent months. Recall the case of the census worker in Kentucky Bill Sparkman who was found dead in the woods tied to a tree. While authorities puzzled over what caused Sparkman’s death, the left mounted an assault on talk radio. “This is the kind of violent event that emerges from a culture of paranoia and unsubstantiated attacks,” wrote Allison Kilkenny, a Huffington Post contributor and liberal radio host.
Even the staid New York magazine joined in the hysteria. Under the headline “Has Nancy Pelosi’s Fear of Political Violence Been Realized?”, this bastion of liberal snootiness answered in the affirmative. Never mind that the authorities were being tight lipped about details of what was found at the scene. The opportunity to advance a favorite leftist trope — that the right hates government and is capable of violence if suitably programmed by talk radio — trumps common sense, reason, and logic. Noted internet conspiracy monger Brad Friedman (who pursued the idea that the Hillary Clinton camp stole the New Hampshire primary) asked “Was the 9/12 murder related to inflammatory rhetoric of Beck, Bachmann, and Fox ‘News’?” But of course it was, as Mr. Friedman details in his post.
Two months after the body of Mr. Sparkman was found, the authorities concluded that the unfortunate man was not murdered by right-wing wackos, but rather that he staged his death to appear as a homicide in order for his son to receive insurance benefits that would have been denied if he had taken his own life.
Perhaps no one jumped on the “Sparkman was killed by right wing wackos” bandwagon like Andrew Sullivan who went so far as to write, “No Suicide: That’s the one thing we know for certain now in the case of the Kentucky lynching.” Wonder what Mr. Sullivan thought when it came out there was no lynching, and Mr. Sparkman killed himself? We’ll never know because Sullivan had no comment.
The same held true for most of the rest of leftist commentators who had jumped the gun and blamed Sparkman’s death on talk radio, conservative lawmakers, even bloggers. No retractions. No self-criticism for getting the story so spectacularly wrong. And no introspection that might have led to a light bulb going off over their heads; maybe we should hold our fire until the facts make clear the cause and effect of this kind of thing.
In the Enright case, it didn’t even take 24 hours for much more of the truth to emerge regarding the suspect’s troubled mind and alcohol-fueled violence. And still, there is silence from much of the left regarding Enright’s connection to a pro-Park 51 organization, his lack of anti-Muslim hate speech in front of his friends and co-workers, and the lack of clues found in his journals that apparently contain no hints that he harbored hate for Muslims.
The cure for premature evisceration is simple; think before you speak. It may be a lot to ask from many leftists who seem to react in a knee jerk, unthinking fashion when confronted with opportunities to smear their ideological opponents. But the reward will be a lot less noise, with the extra added bonus of not looking like a fool when the whole story comes out.
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