Sunday, September 12, 2010

He Must Have Tripped

Dorothy Rabinowitz takes Liberals to task for being insufficiently sensitive to the sensibilities of "the public" around radical Islam and the Cordoba Initiative. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is one of her targets, identified as the best exemplar of Liberal faith that "ordinary Americans are lost to reason and decency." She goes on to castigate the Mayor for cautioning people about jumping to conclusions.

It's hard to know the sort of rabble the mayor had in mind when he told a television interviewer, prior to Shahzad's identification, that it "could be anything," someone mentally disturbed, or "somebody with a political agenda who doesn't like the health-care bill." Nowhere in the range of colorful possibilities the mayor raised was there any mention of the most likely explanation—another terrorist attempt by a soldier of radical Islam, the one that occurred to virtually every American who had heard the reports.
But I seem to recall that it "occurred to virtually every American who had heard the reports" that the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building had been carried out "by a soldier of radical Islam." Despite this, Rabinowitz seems convinced that there was absolutely no reason to assume that anyone other than a jihadi had left a car bomb in Times Square. And she can't understand why anyone would say that "There would be no toleration of 'any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.'"
That there has been a conspicuous lack of any such behavior on the part of New Yorkers or Americans elsewhere from the 9/11 attacks to the present seems not to have impressed Mr. Bloomberg.
Of course, less than a month after she wrote this, a New York City cab driver who answered in the affirmative when asked if he was Muslim was stabbed. And here in Seattle, a man attacked a 7-11 clerk. According to police, "After the suspect struck (the clerk) with his fist he said, 'You're not even American, you're Al-Qaeda. Go back to your country.'" The assault was triggered by the fact the man was wearing a turban. Which he was wearing because he was a Sikh. Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg was correct not to be impressed. But more to the point, these were not the first attacks on people since 9/11, as Rabinowitz claims.
The council study also found there have been more than 2,000 reports of harassment of Muslims since last Sept. 11. Muslims have been spat at and had windows smashed at their homes and shops. Mosques have been firebombed. Muslim women have had their head wraps torn off in public.
The article that this is excerpted from was published on 2 September, 2002. 2,000+ attacks in less than a year is less "a conspicuous lack of any such behavior" than it is a conspicuous unwillingness to remember it.

There is a segment of the American public that looks down on their fellow citizens as violent, mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers who will beat up or murder anyone who isn't sufficiently like them, or just has something they want, at the slightest provocation. There's no denying that. Get someone worked up about about hate crimes, or crime in the inner city and you'll see what I mean. And it's a safe bet that the hysteria around crime in the United States, from both wings of the political spectrum, is overblown. But there's a difference between making a mountain out molehill, and making the mountain up out of whole cloth. By conflating the two, Rabinowitz panders to the "average American" as she sees them, and as they want to see themselves - good people who have been maligned by evil Liberals who seek to castigate them for not being sufficiently enlightened. But the fact you were framed doesn't mean that a crime wasn't committed (or, for that matter, that you haven't committed one), and for her to sweep the instances of violence that have occurred under the rug simply feeds into an attitude of self-righteous victimization. And that doesn't do anyone justice.

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