Politics Magazine

I Read Power Line So That You Don't Have to

Posted on the 26 July 2011 by Erictheblue

There's a new look at the Power Line blog but the content is the same old sludge.  In a post entitled "Norway: A Postscript," John Hinderaker begins:

They are still counting the bodies in Norway, and it is probably unseemly to start making political points. . .

The rest of the post makes a political point.  The point is that someone other than the shooter should have had a gun.  This wouldn't happen in South Dakota, where he grew up.  Etc. 

Since I agree with Hinderaker about his unseemliness, let us put that question to the side.  The evidence doesn't support his point.  To say that it wouldn't happen in South Dakota doesn't count for much.  It hadn't happened in Norway until last week.  It was the bloodiest day on Norwegian soil since World War II.  Rates of gun ownership in Norway are not particularly low--a little less than half that of the United States, where the rate of gun violence is on a different order of magnitude.  We have a little more than 50 times the population of Norway and about 2000 times the number of homicides committed with guns.  The homicide rate in Norway is somewhat lower than in South Dakota. 

The "coverage" to which the post calling for more guns is a "postscript" began while the crime was in progress.  Hinderaker:

The perpetrators of these attacks have not yet been identified, but they likely were Muslim terrorists.

When that turned out to be false--well, I should let him speak for himself, since he doesn't allow that it was false:

Was that wrong?  Not at all.  Any time mass murder attacks take place, it is not just likely but highly probable that they are the work of Muslim jihadists.  Over the last several decades, jihadists have launched hundreds if not thousands of terrorist attacks.  They dwarf, in numbers, similar outrages perpetrated by anyone else.

No, wrong.  Either Hinderaker is confused himself or else he's trying to confuse his readers (or maybe just appeal to their prejudices).  The logical connection between the "mass murder" of one sentence and the "hundreds if not thousands of terrorist attacks" of the next is, to put it charitably, weak.  Is he saying that he is justified,  hearing news of mass murder, in concluding that it is likely the work of Muslim jihadists, because there have been "hundreds if not thousands" of mass murders in recent years, almost all committed by Muslims?

Events that do not rise to the level of "mass murder" are used to justify sweeping, and false, generalizations about mass murder.  9/11 was the work of Muslim terrorists.  Oklahoma City was not.  Nor the shootings at Virginia Tech.  Jared Loughner is not a Muslim jihadist.  The sarin attack in the Tokyo subway system was not perpetrated by Muslims.  In "the past several decades" there have been scores of terrorist attacks in northern Ireland, none by Muslim jihadists, who also had nothing to do with the killing of 380 schoolchildren at Beslan, Russia, in 2004.  And this Norwegian crackpot isn't a Muslim terrorist, either. 

Meanwhile, sidekick Johnson takes a feeble swing at James Fallows, whom he charges with "a swarm of foul-mouthed and openly anti-Semitic tweeters."  I take this as a kind of code for stating that Fallows has a dim view of the settlement movement in Israel.  Anyway, judge for yourself.  RubinFallows


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