Friday, November 28, 2014

Will the President weigh in on Austin?

At the moment this is being typed it appears a right-leaning extremist might be responsible for shooting up several government buildings, including the Mexican consulate, and possibly a bank, in downtown Austin, TX overnight.   Why a right wing extremist?  Speculation based on 1) the race and age of the shooter, already released (comically, almost immediately, unlike other recent shooting events), and 2) the targeting choices.

But as the leader of the free world once warned, it is not wise to 'jump to conclusions' in the early stages of such events. Somebody forgot to tell the Austin Police Chief..
Authorities have not offered a motive, but the police chief said that the shooter's "violent anti-government behavior" -- as evidenced by attacking buildings that belong to Mexico's government, the U.S. government and, in the police headquarters, the city government -- may have come from ongoing and often vitriolic debates in society.
"Our political discourse has become very heated and sometimes very angry, and sometimes the rhetoric is not healthy," Acevedo said, adding that the divisive immigration debate "comes to mind," given that the federal courthouse and Mexican Consulate were targeted. "... I would venture, based on my training and experience, that the political rhetoric might have fed into some of this."
All based on speculation, as he admitted.   But he went there.  Gee, is it relevant that the chief's last name sounds Hispanic?  No, we obviously can't go there.  
At any rate, if this does turn out to be a crazed right winger and if the president decides to weigh in, how will he handle it?  Will he rightfully condemn the violence and end by saying the police were brave and that we are fortunate to have folks on the front line to stop such violence?  Or will he condemn the action then backtrack and try to project empathy and understanding for those in society who think the government is too big or acting lawlessly by allowing illegals privileges, etc?  Will there need to be a 'national conversation' going forward, as Holder said about Ferguson?

It will be interesting to watch considering the shooter committed a crime while firing about 50 rounds less than what was fired in Ferguson while only being responsible for property damage and no deaths.   It's entirely possible he was making a violent statement, some might even call it a protest instead of violence. 

Oh, and not to ignore some hypocrisy on the right.  It was noticeable all morning that Drudge was completely ignoring the story.  It's obvious why CNN was all over it, top page lead story--they think they've finally found their Tea Party Terrorist--but the other MSM outlets were not as excited.  Fox covered it, but not top story.   But not mentioning it at all, and rather prominently, looks like an attempt by Drudge to suppress an embarrassing story.  The fact the suspect allegedly shot up and tried to light fire to the Mexican consulate only a short time after the president took controversial executive actions giving privileges to illegal aliens made it a legitimate big story.

EPILOGUE  11/29/14

It was interesting to watch how the media used that speculative comment from the Austin Police Chief  about the shooter being anti-government.  Many liberal blogs and some MSM outfits referred to the comment to frame their story similar to TPM, ie,

 "Before identifying McQuilliams, police had previously told the press that the shooting suspect had a criminal record and possibly held anti-immigration and anti-government views."

The link of course goes to one of their previous stories quoting the police chief, who was throwing up a wild guess based on targeting and race.  So the speculative comment gets lumped with a known fact to form a sort of pseudo narrative before all the facts come in. 

In truth, Mr. McQuilliams seemed a bit flighty based on the few internet clips available off Facebook.  We presume he wasn't part of a greater plot or the story wouldn't be dead as a doornail today.   And no reason for the big shots in DC to comment either--not that they wouldn't waste a crisis to make a political point--but it's clear America wasn't paying much attention so any comments would come off as an obvious attempt to spin.

Speaking of the media, the Washington Post put up a great investigative story yesterday about the killing of an unarmed black woman (with an infant in her car) shot by white cops a few years ago in DC.  For some reason there was no national outrage.  But everyone knows why.   And that's why the WaPo could almost be called courageous for printing the story at this particular time and date.        

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