There are three excellent posts I want to bring to your attention. The first is this one by Bwana, at Renaissance Ruminations. Bwana gives an excellent analysis of a post done back in April by Alton Foley of I’m Not Emeril on the Virginia Tech Tragedy.
Foley, who read an inflammatory opinion by radio host Neil Boortz, questioned why the Virginia Tech students and faculty just lined up like sheep to be executed by Seung Lee Cho. Like Boortz, he asked if it was because they had been so indoctrinated by liberal political correctness they could no longer take simple self-defense measures in a deadly situation with an armed gunman.
As Bwana points out, Boortz was wrong. And therefore so was Foley. Boortz ran with sheer speculation before anybody had the facts. But it suited the “liberals are to blame for every ill in the world” meme and so Foley never bothered to check his source or to check any of the other facts. He simply took it uncritically at face value because it confirmed his own prejudices and he printed it.
But worse, as Bwana also shows, when the facts emerged and proved both Boortz and Foley and all the others who wrote in a similar “blame the victim” mode wrong, nobody retracted. Nobody took down their posts. Nobody admitted they had been mistaken. That’s’ what Bwana faults Foley for.
The whole argument given by those like Foley and Boortz was built on a fragile house of cards: liberal indoctrination rendered the students and faculty unable to defend themselves against a deadly assault.
But when the truth came out that both students and faculty had, in fact, done just that, often sacrificing their own lives so their students or classmates might live, that house of cards collapsed. And the Foleys of the blogosphere never said a simple, “hey, I was wrong.”
Real journalists correct errors and retract false stories all the time. Every newspaper has a page where those retractions are printed routinely. To err is human. To retract is to be a professional reporter.
Then, in this post, on the Richmond Democrat, J.C. Wilmore lays to rest once and for all the myth that students and faculty members were cowards. Indeed, he shows, with numerous instances, that many were in fact genuine heroes, not only fighting back, but also often giving their own lives so that others would survive. It’s a must read because he cites specific examples.
Finally, Wilmore has another great piece on the tactics of some members of the ODBA and how they hounded not just Joe Stanley but also fellow Republicans. He contends that their actions amounted to cyber-stalking. A small cabal of ODBAers (and I’m convinced it’s not all their members either) used tactics of intimidation to slander the campaign manager for Emmett Hanger, Andrew Clem, in his race with Scott Sayer. This particular crew does seem to use scorch the earth tactics even against other members of their own party.
We should all be afraid of that mentality. When intimidating campaign staff and volunteers becomes standard operating procedure, it’s an attack on democracy itself. It’s un-American to create an atmosphere where ordinary citizens fear participating in the election process because they are afraid their good names will be slandered on blogs and they will be stalked by crazy extremists. This is behavior that has its roots in a darker period of human history and must not be tolerated in a modern representative democratic republic. When anybody, Democrat or Republican, is intimidated and threatened, we all become less free.
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