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No Place For Tolerance

Jim Hoft, the infamous Gateway Pundit, has picked up something from First Lady Michelle Obama on the White House blog that really commands attention. The First Lady has a message for children in regards to the Tucson shooting: it's a teachable moment, and the lesson to be learned is that we need to be more tolerant.

Since we're talking kids here, I'll use an acronym to express my reaction: WTF?


We can teach them the value of tolerance - the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.


Perhaps it has escaped the notice of this extremely intelligent and extremely well-educated woman, but that is precisely the attitude that enabled the shooter in the first place. People thought he was dangerously crazy, but they assumed (or, at least, hoped for) the best, rather than the worst about him. They gave him the benefit of the doubt, even though they disagreed with him, and didn't do anything to intervene.

And six people died.

There's tolerance, and then there's turning a blind eye to evil. There's allowing people to be themselves, and then there's ignoring major warning signs.

When you find yourself thinking "if I hear that someone's gone on a psycho killing spree, it'll be that guy," and then start thinking how you'll get away should you be there when he snaps, and you notice others are acting the same way, then you need to stop being "tolerant" and let some officials know. As in, "if you see something, say something."

What we need is courage -- the courage to speak up, to get involved, to watch out for each other. What we do NOT need is more excuses to be cowards.

The Arizona shooter was not a victim of intolerance. If anything, he was a victim of tolerance. People saw how he was different and unique and special, and let him embrace that specialness right into madness and depravity and mayhem and murder.

The only reason to use the Tucson shooting as a lesson in 'tolerance" is if you WANT to raise a generation of children inculcated to be dependent on others, to be a generation of ready-made victims who never grow up and learn to stand on their own. And that is a form of evil that dwarfs the shootings in Arizona.

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Comments (37)

It's easy in hindsight, isn... (Below threshold)

It's easy in hindsight, isn't it?

There are times when I think you're crazy, should that be grounds to yank you off the street and involuntarily commit you to a mental institution?

Oh, absolutely, Steve. If o... (Below threshold)

Oh, absolutely, Steve. If one person thinks you're nuts, then you oughta be locked up. That's exactly what I said.

EVERYONE who knew this nutjob thought he was psycho. If only a few of them had spoken up, maybe then officials would have at least taken a look at the guy, using existing laws. Hell, if the sheriff hadn't broomed all those death threats, that might have worked, too.

But they all said nothing. And didn't that just work wonders?

J.

Geesh Michelle,tolerance ha... (Below threshold)
yttik:

Geesh Michelle,tolerance had nothing to do with this tragedy.

What might be a teachable moment is how unsafe people make themselves when they believe a false narrative about violent tea partiers and Sarah Palin. If you're obsessed with looking in that direction, you could miss the lone gunman with a history of bizarre behavior who has been obsessed with you since 2007.

Way to discern sarcasm, Jay... (Below threshold)

Way to discern sarcasm, Jay.

I doubt EVERYONE thought that way, at least not to the extent you depict. We'll never know, as anyone who disagrees sure isn't going to come forward now to argue that the guy wasn't crazy.

So where do you draw the (subjective) line? How many people have to say you're crazy? Do ex-girlfriends count? How many psychiatrists have to concur? 4 out of 5? 9 out of 10? Which government worker(s) gets to decide who will and who won't get taken off the street? Do you want government to have that much discretionary power?

Let's look at this a different way. Just as not every gun owner is going to rob a bank, not every person who is a bit off in the head is going to snap and kill a bunch of innocent people. We don't lock up gun owners to keep the outliers from committing crimes, do you condemn all of the maybe-crazies to involuntary hospitalization to keep the one in a million from doing something like this?

As I said, hindsight is easy, making the call in advance isn't something I would be comfortable with.

you bet Steve.When... (Below threshold)
jim m:

you bet Steve.

When his college professor is afraid to turn his back to the class because he thinks that Jared is going to shoot him and when his classmate sits by the door to escape quickly because she thinks this guy is going to shoot up the class, we have multiple people who think he's a threat to society.

However...

I am convinced beyond any doubt that the libs would abuse any law to harass conservatives demanding they undergo psychiatric screening as dangers to society.

The problem today is that we cannot control the real crazy people because there is real danger that the left would use that as a weapon to control dissent. Perhaps if they did not worship the memory of Mao, Lenin and Stalin who used the claim of mental illness to imprison and torture their opposition people would not think this way.

Nice to see a different tak... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Nice to see a different take -good job.

I always remember that "tolerance" is a preferred weapon of the left. (can you say weapon anymore?)

Weren't a lot of people tol... (Below threshold)
dnb:

Weren't a lot of people tolerant of the Foot Hood shooter? The body count is adding up.

"I am convinced beyond any ... (Below threshold)
Don L:

"I am convinced beyond any doubt that the libs would abuse any law to harass conservatives demanding they undergo psychiatric screening as dangers to society."

jim m - do you have a good handle on the workings of the Communist system, or what?

My thoughts are that the Commies only did this to impress (and deceive) the free world, but now that we're rushing into their political system, will they even bother to pretend that a citizen enemy is pscho, when they can just take them out front and shoot them, to the cheers of the citizen left?

Steve, sarcasm is tough to ... (Below threshold)

Steve, sarcasm is tough to convey in text. You gotta lay it on really, really thick. I missed it, but I'll only take half the hit for that misunderstanding.

J.

It's easy in hindsight, ... (Below threshold)
Clancy:

It's easy in hindsight, isn't it?

There are times when I think you're crazy, should that be grounds to yank you off the street and involuntarily commit you to a mental institution?

steve - If that was the case, you'd have been locked up long ago. Fortunately, we know you are not nuts - just cognitively challenged.

btw - that was sarcasm. maybe.

Arizona does have a law tha... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Arizona does have a law that would have allowed the killers parents to have him evaluated against his will. They didn't. The track record of a lot of his behavior was cleaned up by his mother and Dupnik because of cronyism.

After Michelle said that, "For the first time in my life I am ashamed of america." ;) ww

Good take. We call 911 on ... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

Good take. We call 911 on a drunk weaving thru traffic because it's 'the right thing to do', but its also totally anonymous and we'll never hear another word.

Now put our skin in the game.

Perhaps Michelle will direc... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Perhaps Michelle will direct her 'teachable moment' to the MSM.

heh Stevie ...how ... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

heh Stevie ...

how about if you get 2 bad marks from psych professionals you can't buy a gun for a period of time ?

no need to lock anyone up ...

dnb, I think underlying mot... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

dnb, I think underlying motivations may have been much the same with the Fort Hood shooting, people afraid to report. But the fear those officers yielded to was over spiking their own careers (it doesn't take much to end a career in today's military) by expressing concerns over someone they knew enjoyed a protected status - being muslim in the military. In my opinion that's pretty much the same kind of tolerance that the First Lady now suggests we teach our children.

As an aside: All too often Congress and the Executive Branch choose to use the military as a social experiment lab/showcase for their priorities rather than treating it as this nation's first line of defense.

We must be cautious here, a... (Below threshold)
clearmind:

We must be cautious here, after all, we are dealing with the smartest people to ever occupy the White House.

There seems to be a dark side to this "smartest" message, though. For regardless of how smart they are, you can't fix stupid.

Perhaps we need to have an annual mental health check for the POTUS and FLOTUS, just as we have the annual physical health check-up.

You'll have to forgive Stev... (Below threshold)
PBunyan:

You'll have to forgive Steve. It must've have stung him harshly to read the part where Jay so succinctly summed up the very essence of the Left:

They do "WANT to raise a generation of children inculcated to be dependent on others, to be a generation of ready-made victims who never grow up and learn to stand on their own. And that is a form of evil that dwarfs the shootings in Arizona."

As Benjamin Franklin said "the sting in every retort is the truth". Steve is stung.

John Green, the father of C... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

John Green, the father of Christina Green killed in Tucson said something to the effect that this is the price that we pay for living in a free society. He went on to say that a free society is better than the alternative. Being so close to that tragedy Mr Green had perhaps the greatest of reasons to be angry and point fingers, but he chose not to. Of course, as long as we have liberals they will take up the slack in that regard when the average citizen fails to respond appropriately or doesn't seem to get the "larger picture". I have grown so tired of the left using every exception/aberration as some overarching reason to change society usually at the expense of our freedoms. I believe Jay is right in saying that Michele Obama got it wrong, but it doesn't really matter whether the event fits or not, the most important thing is the contrived message.

Oh how the politicking cont... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Oh how the politicking continues. In all due respect, Jay Tea, I think you and Hoft are both taking what she wrote on her blog and twisting it around a bit to suit your own political purposes.

Loughner isn't mentioned ONCE in her post--which to is more about the tolerance of different ideas, perspectives, and opinions. From actually reading the whole post, it seems to be less about blind tolerance of everything under the sun (as you claim), and more about addressing some of the political vitriol that abounds. It's about respect, basically, and specifically a certain measure of tolerance for "people who represent us":

We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.

We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

Do you REALLY disagree with this message, Jay Tea? Do you REALLY think that Hoft's reading is on target? There is no mention of Loughner, period. Instead of giving more air time to his murderous actions, Michelle Obama's post is dedicated to the victims of this tragedy. As it should be. Keep in mind the fact that Loughner was a paranoid, delusional individual who was filled with an extreme (if not irrational) hatred and intolerance for his political opponents--and Giffords was one of them. Overall, I think in your rush to jump in the fray, Jay Tea, you might have missed the basic rationale of the original post.

Ok, so maybe you can't stand Obama (or his wife), and you think Liberals are the epitome of all that is wrong with this country. Great. That's your prerogative. But maybe you should go read through the original post and decide whether or not this is the right place to make your stand. Personally, I don't think it is. It may not be the Gettysburg address, but at least the message gets beyond the usual vitriolic partisan politics. It's about parents, it's about teaching kids right and wrong, and it's about respecting those who represent and serve the country. And it certainly does NOT seem to be about "turning a blind eye," as you put it:

"And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country."

There are times when it might be a good idea for both sides to set aside some of the deep enmities that exist and just step back and rethink things a bit.

I think it's brutally ironic how so many folks on this site cry foul when the Huffington Post politicizes something like this by twisting things around to fit their own agenda (and HuffPo certainly DOES its fair share of this). But, as I have argued numerous times, the same kind of crap comes from the right. And this post is just one example of many.

Next time, though, it might make sense to actually READ the piece that you're referring to before stepping onto your politicized soapbox. Considering the basic message and tenor of what the first lady wrote, I think your response here is just a tad off the mark. But I am sure you'll score plenty of points with the more rabid readers around here, and maybe that's all you're going for.

ryan a, the "tolerance for ... (Below threshold)

ryan a, the "tolerance for others' differences" message here for children is misguided for a reason so fundamental, I forgot to mention it: it pushes the children to identify with the killer. It says that his flaw was intolerance, and that had he been more tolerant, he wouldn't have killed those people. And if the children are more tolerant, then they won't be tempted to kill people, either.

I would rather the children be taught to be INTOLERANT of those who give off such scary vibes, who are so palpably dangerous, and report them to the proper authorities. I want them to learn not from the killer, but the friends and family of the killer, who chose to not say anything and just hope things would get better, or someone else would do something.

That's the message that should be sent.

J.

Ryan,It isn't that... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Ryan,

It isn't that the message is so repugnant. It's not.

It is that the message s so beside the point. This message makes the assumption that the murders were because. Loughner was motivated by politics. The content of the message does not matter as the entire message is based on a lie and to assume that the message is useful at all is to assume the correctness of its underlying assumptions.

In order to accept this message with any sort of intellectual integrity it needs to be made clear that the presumptions on which it is based are false but that Michelle obama manages to stumble into the truth even though she is blinded by her own partisan hate.

Look Jay, I understand what... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Look Jay, I understand what YOUR message is. But you're still reworking what Obama wrote in order to make your claims.

"ryan a, the "tolerance for others' differences" message here for children is misguided for a reason so fundamental, I forgot to mention it: it pushes the children to identify with the killer."

The post that you're using does not even mention the killer, and, as it should, only gives attention to the victims. I am not sure how you're reading this as a piece that makes people identify with the murderer.

"I would rather the children be taught to be INTOLERANT of those who give off such scary vibes, who are so palpably dangerous, and report them to the proper authorities."

I get your point with this--even if I think your argument is a lot easier to make AFTER the fact. But that's another matter.

I still think what you're going for is a different issue. You're taking the word "tolerance" and running with it. The original post is directed more at the tolerance of political difference, as I see it. I mean, that's what IS SPECIFICALLY mentioned. I certainly agree that what she wrote is by no means a masterpiece, that's for sure.

"I want them to learn not from the killer, but the friends and family of the killer, who chose to not say anything and just hope things would get better, or someone else would do something."

I get that point, and I do not disagree. Now, putting THIS into practice is another matter. There were plenty of warning signs with this guy, and yet nothing happened. Nobody really addressed the issue--and I think that's a fair point you're making. But it would have been more effective, IMO, to just write a post about that, rather than twisting around Obama's post in order to make your point through a more political lens.

"That's the message that should be sent."

It's one message. But I also think that the message about tolerance and respect for political difference is pretty crucial these days as well. And, as I see it, that's what Obama's post was more about. You certainly have a point to make, and bring up a discussion that is certainly valuable. But starting off with a cheap shot kind of dilutes the message, IMO.

Then, ryan, how would "tole... (Below threshold)

Then, ryan, how would "tolerance" have prevented or mitigated the Tucson massacre? How would someone at some point demonstrating more "tolerance" have helped matters?

And no, you can't have the shooter as your exemplar. His prime motivation was not intolerance, but insanity.

J.

jim m,"This messag... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim m,

"This message makes the assumption that the murders were because. Loughner was motivated by politics. The content of the message does not matter as the entire message is based on a lie and to assume that the message is useful at all is to assume the correctness of its underlying assumptions."

Uh, Loughner had previous contact with Giffords--you do know that right? He had some weird grudge against her, apparently, that goes back to 2007. He certainly had political motivations for trying to kill her--as convoluted and warped as they were. This has NOTHING to do with Palin, the Tea Party, or any of that. He was apparently obsessed with a strange brew of contradictory anti-government conspiracy theories. So it's safe to say that although the guy was off his rocker, he was also politically motivated. His political extremism and intolerance certainly didn't help the situation, that's for sure.

"In order to accept this message with any sort of intellectual integrity it needs to be made clear that the presumptions on which it is based are false but that Michelle obama manages to stumble into the truth even though she is blinded by her own partisan hate."

In all fairness, jim, I think you're reading a bit into what she wrote.

Jay Tea,"Then, rya... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jay Tea,

"Then, ryan, how would "tolerance" have prevented or mitigated the Tucson massacre? How would someone at some point demonstrating more "tolerance" have helped matters?"

Read the post she wrote. It's about something completely different from what you're talking about. It's not really about preventing what happened, but about dealing with the tragedy. Her post is about the aftermath--what to tell kinds, etc. And, overall, I think that teaching kids about respect and tolerance--especially when it comes to political and social differences--is certainly a valuable goal. Respect goes a long way.

Prevention is another matter--and I am not all that convinced that promoting "intolerance" for weird, odd, strange, or even scary behavior is really going to provide many viable solutions either. What we do need is an effective way to intervene with people like this Loughner guy. If you want to talk about prevention, then it makes sense to talk about how we deal with the mentally ill, what systems we have in place, and how people should use that system. We also have to talk about all the failures, and what can and should be done about them. This kind of crap has happened before.

Clearly, there were warning signs with this guy--and yet nothing was really done. One of the most difficult parts, though, is that it's always WAY easier to make all sorts of judgments and proclamations about what SHOULD have been done after the fact.

Typo:"Her post is ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Typo:

"Her post is about the aftermath--what to tell kinds, etc."

should read:

Her post is about the aftermath--what to tell KIDS, etc.

@ #4, I bet the victims & t... (Below threshold)
Teach:

@ #4, I bet the victims & their families would be more comfortable with it.

What Jay is saying is that there has to be a bar, but it is currently set in the wrong place. I think we could set the bar so that MORE dangerous crazy people are locked up and FEWER tragedies like this happen without locking up everyone or intruding on the rights of innocent people.

Mrs. Obama - Tolerance? You... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Mrs. Obama - Tolerance? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Yes. Tolerance is a one wa... (Below threshold)
Neo:

Yes. Tolerance is a one way street

"I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons." Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau also condemned a "climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated."
The Irony .. the irony.

It's not really a... (Below threshold)
Chip:
It's not really about preventing what happened, but about dealing with the tragedy. Her post is about the aftermath--what to tell kinds, etc.

How in the hell is tolerance supposed to help in the aftermath of something like this?

Oh I need to have tolerance for the shooter that just killed or injured my friends or family?

ryan, I think we're talking... (Below threshold)

ryan, I think we're talking past each other here. Let me clarify by rephrasing my title. I think you're taking it as "There Is No Place For Tolerance." My intent was "This Is No Place For Tolerance."

Not a wholesale rejection of the theme, but purely in the context of this instance.

Does that help?

Honestly, this time I'm not looking for a fight with you on this one. Hell, yeah, I have in the past, and will again, I'm sure, but not this time.

J.

Ryan: Drop it. Once Jay Tea... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Ryan: Drop it. Once Jay Tea decides on a meaning for your words or anybody else's, That's What They Mean, and anything you can do to prove otherwise will just crank up his intransigence. This whole thread reminds me of Virgil's line to Dante outside the gates of hell: "For we have reached the place of which I spoke, where you will see the miserable people, those who have lost the good of intellect."

Oh...that's from a book, by a long-dead Italian guy, Jay. Don't mean to leave you out of the conversation.

Thanks for the tip, asti. I... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the tip, asti. I was wondering who the Italians had named their first Dreadnought after -- the world's first battleship with its main armament in triple turrets. Interesting fellow.

Oh, now I remember. It's the guy I keep confusing with Edmond Dantes -- that old dude who wrote Paradiso, Purgatorio, and Inferno.

Pity he hasn't done anything lately...

And asti: I'm trying to make nice with ryan. You're cordially invited to shut the fuck up.

J.

Sorry for the delayed respo... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Sorry for the delayed response...I got a little sidetracked watching The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Since you guys brought up the Italian theme I thought I should at least contribute something. Gotta love them old Spaghetti Westerns.

Not a wholesale rejection of the theme, but purely in the context of this instance.

Does that help?

Ya, I get you. And there is a good chance we are definitely talking past one another. I see your point--and I do agree with you in some respects.

Honestly, this time I'm not looking for a fight with you on this one. Hell, yeah, I have in the past, and will again, I'm sure, but not this time.

Alright, Jay Tea. We'll call it a truce...this time.

/rides away with his cut of the gold as weird 1960s "western" music plays and the camera pans across the Spanish plateau that's supposed to look like the American West.

;)

And Eli Wallach as the lea... (Below threshold)
scsi.WuZzY:

And Eli Wallach as the least Mexican looking Mexican in film history.
But I love that film. Got it on Bluray from my brother in law at Christmas.

Don't you just love speeche... (Below threshold)
Olsoljer:

Don't you just love speeches from wookie and barry about tolerance and bi partisanship?

Coming this Monday…..Barack... (Below threshold)
TaterSalad:



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