Two gunmen killed after attacking Muhammad cartoon exhibit

May 4, 2015 • 7:00 am

The news that I got on my CNN feed last night was a bit ambiguous: the two people killed in the attack on the exhibit of Mohammad cartoons in Garland, Texas were actually not attendees, but the attackers themselves. Both were apparently killed by police after opening fire; one policeman was wounded in the leg but has been released from hospital.

If anything was “provocative,” this was. The event was organized by Pamela Geller of the right-wing American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)— an Islamophobe if anyone is—and featured Geert Wilders as a speaker. As the New York Times reports:

“As today’s Muhammad Art Exhibit event at the Curtis Culwell Center was coming to an end,” the [City of Garland’s] Facebook posting said, “two males drove up to the front of the building in a car. Both males were armed and began shooting at a Garland I.S.D. security officer.”

The Garland Independent School District said in a statement that its security officer, Bruce Joiner, was shot in the ankle and taken to a hospital. He was later released.

The Daily Mail suggests that Muslims were involved, which is a reasonable guess, but it’s based on one tw**t and so is premature:

In a series of tweets and links, a jihadist named as Abu Hussain AlBritani, which SITE said was British IS fighter Junaid Hussain, claimed that ‘2 of our brothers just opened fire’ at the Prophet Muhammad exhibition in Texas.

I have no great love for Ms. Geller, and don’t consider this exhibit nearly as admirable as Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, which were intended to mock religion—not believers themselves—and defend immigrants. Geller does indeed intend to provoke, and from what I know of her she aims to criticize not just Islam, but Muslims. Wilders has been accused of the same, though I haven’t followed his actions as closely. Regardless, both have the right to say what they want without fear of violence, and I’ll defend that right.

In the meantime, the osculators are already beginning to cry that the event brought the violence on itself. At the ever-osculating Huffington Post, for instance, the recriminations appear in an article reprinted from artnet News called “Texas ‘Draw the Prophet” contest is shameless Muslim-baiting.” (So much for objective journalism.)

An image announcing the contest riffs on Norman Rockwell’s most famous self-portrait, showing Muhammad painting a self-portrait and thus aiming to highlight the contrast between traditional American values and the beliefs of Islamist extremists. By enlisting Rockwell’s saccharine vision to her cause, Geller only underlines her simplistic version of America.

I’m not sure what that last sentence means. It’s clearly critical of the poster, which I actually think is cool (see below), but otherwise reeks of postmodern sanctimoniousness. Remember that Rockwell was famous for his Four Freedoms paintings, depicting the freedoms outlined in 1941 by Franklin Roosevelt. One of them, published in 1943, depicted “freedom of speech”. Here’s that painting in the Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a site I visited with Dawkins and Dennett during the “Moving Naturalism Forward” meeting. It shows an ordinary citizen at a New England “town meeting” standing up to say his piece.


And here’s the poster advertising the Texas exhibit. Note that HuffPo didn’t know what it was doing when it put this up, for the sit has now put itself at risk by its own “Muslim-baiting”! Do they not realize that this is going to anger Muslims? As I said, I actually think this ad is quite clever; pity it was used by Pamela Geller.

Photo: American Freedom Defense Initiative

Here’s the famous original by Rockwell:


PuffHo continues with some snark in the final sentence:

“The beacon of freedom, the shining light on a hill, is running scared,” Geller told Breitbart Texas of the Western media’s reluctance to publish controversial images like the Charlie Hebdo cartoons (see Accused of Charlie Hebdo Censorship, AP Removes Piss Christ Image,Belgian Museum Cancels Charlie Hebdo Exhibition, Security Threats Force London’s V&A to Remove Prophet Muhammad Artwork, and Why Self-Censorship of Controversial Artwork is Wrong). “We’re holding this exhibit and cartoon contest to show how insane the world has become—with people in the free world tiptoeing in terror around supremacist thugs who actually commit murder over cartoons. If we can’t stand up for the freedom of speech, we will lose it—and with it, free society.”

No word on exactly how free speech is under threat, an especially untenable claim in view of the widespread publication of Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

“No word on exactly how free speech is under threat”? What the bloody hell are they talking about? This very exhibit was attacked by two murderous thugs, as was the Charlie Hebdo office. Just because people reprint the cartoons doesn’t mean that everything is hunky-dory. Whoever wrote that article is clueless.

The noises we’re about to hear are the moans of social justice warriors and religion-coddlers telling us that this exhibit was unduly provocative. They will tell us that it is very different from Charlie Hebdo, and thus indefensible. In one way it is different—in the nature of the organization displaying the cartoons—but in the most important respect it’s not: showing us that the freedom of speech should hold regardless of how much you dislike the ideas expressed, or the intent behind them, and that we should defend that right as strongly as we can. For every strong opinion will offend someone.

What the “cartoon shamers” like Garry Trudeau really mean is that we should simply stop criticizing Islam because the Religion of Peace will kill us if we do. Odious as Geller is, she should be able to promulgate her views without fear. Likewise for the vile anti-Semites who are once again beginning to spew their venom in Europe (see post later today).

120 thoughts on “Two gunmen killed after attacking Muhammad cartoon exhibit

  1. I’ve read a bit about this Geller woman. I’m always curious about the circumstances that led people like her down the path of hatred. I read a couple of articles where she expressed her loathing of football (soccer) on the basis of it being un-American – not being American, in her mind, being the most terrible affliction she could imagine. How do people get like that?

  2. This can separate the true defendrs of free speech from th posers.

    CNN was snidely critical, and ept referencing Southern Poverty Law Center as an authority (years ago after being on their fundraising-heavy mailing list, I decided SPLC was their own brand of nuttery).

    You are very correct, Jerry, free speech for all is the only way.

  3. I’m afraid that the propaganda that Pamela Geller is an Islamophobe and that she is not fighting against Islam but against Muslims was very successful. This is a woman who has some very unpleasant opinions (for example she would never write Barack Obama – for her it must be Barack Hussein Obama) but everything she wrote and done shows very clearly that she is after Islam, not after Muslims. She is friends with both ex-and dissident Muslims, and she helps them. Some time ago she had a special organization helping Muslim girls and women at risk from their abusive (and murderous) families and I know that she helped quite a few. I do not know if this organization is still active. She has never called for hatred toward people but she shows hatred emanating from Islamic organizations. Her newest action with bus poster with a quotation from Hamas–“Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah” (I can vouch that Hamas representative said it – it is on video from and absolutely reliable source)–was called by the press and by Muslim propaganda a “hateful message”. They meant that Pamela Geller showing it conveys a hateful message, not that the Hamas representative never said it or that his words were hateful!

    1. This is doubtless why the Anti-Defamation League lists her organisation as a hate group and says it “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam” and “seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy ‘American’ values.” ?

      1. I prefer looking at what a person publicly says and does than at the labels given by any organization, even a noble one.

        1. Odd, I thought that’s what the ADL had done. I wouldn’t expect them to be fooled by ‘propaganda’ as you call it.

    2. Whether she’s anti-muslim or not, she’s a right-wing nut job. However, the law and speech advocates should support the freedom of speech for right-wing nut jobs.

        1. I have no idea whether she’s anti-Semitic or not. What does that have to do with the price of fish?

    3. I was going to ask about that New York MTA bus ad. I was shocked and confused as to why it was considered “free speech” and not inciting violence, but I guess it falls under the “clear and present danger” (Schenk v. United States, 1919) category, since it doesn’t declare a time and place to commit the crimes or something like that. I still don’t get why a bus would be required to sell ad space to something they disagree with (I know nothing of the NY MTA charter though).

  4. It is actually pretty funny that PuffHo is so clueless that they reproduced the image of the “prophet” in a piece condemning Geller and her fellow travelers for provoking Muslims by reproducing the image of the “prophet”.

      1. By the way, I knew I could count on you to mention this story. I have been looking through my usual run of lefty blogs this morning, and nary a word about it (I don’t read PuffHo).

        The left has really dropped the ball on this issue generally.

        1. Not just dropped; picked it up and run the other way.
          Under Millband’s Labour those cartoons will be a crime, and so will post’s like Jerry’s here.

      2. Is there such a thing as an image which presents an existential threat to a person? Yes. To an anorexic: or a bulimic. My daughter is in an Eating Disorder Unit and all the mirrors are covered. The Unit tries as much as possible to hinder the girls and boys from seeing their own reflection. Because the science tells the medical staff that these kids see themselves falsely as fat. And when they do that they can starve themselves, leading to a shutting down of the physiology, collapse of the body organs and eventual death. And even when aware of imminent death, they refuse to feed.

        It’s pathetic and heart-breaking to visit the unit and see beautiful young boys and girls skeletal, with tubes snaking up their noses, the object of legally-sanctioned force-feeding. And to know that my daughter, if she takes a turn for the worse by looking in the mirror when she is at home for the weekend, could again become one of those girls. And I have never heard one of these girls contemplate the gunning down of the editor of Vogue.

        Now when Muslims pitifully declare how awful depictions of the prophet are – even though there is an ancient Shia tradition of picturing them – I find it very hard to believe them. If they want to see how pictures can ruin human well-being, go to an eating Disorder Unit. I can’t help but contrast my daughter with their confected offense, simulated rage and adolescent over-reaction. And my pity for them will never stretch to compassion. When I consider the actual harm that images can do, that they really can trigger the psychological difference between wanting to stay alive and wanting to be dead, I cannot work up any respect for any goddist whining and babbling about blasphemy and humiliation.

        It looks like the story truly is that this was Islamists who tried to shoot up the meeting. We have to stand by the organisers of the meeting. That’s it. (And I really don’t know much about Wilders and Gellar.) When the Islamists in the UK shoot up the fascists in the EDL, I’m going to have to stand up for the EDL’s free speech (as I already have done). You can’t pick and choose your Voltaire. x

        1. Oh, shit — that’s terrifying!

          Perhaps Professor Ceiling Cat can put you and Diana MacPherson in touch? I think she might have some resources available that could help your daughter.


          1. Thanks, Ben, I don’t know what Diana’s trade is. But I’ll say this: I am deeply impressed by the Unit my daughter is in. They have quarterly training sessions delivered by world experts from as far as Australia and Canada and even the cleaners are compassionate, pleasant people.

            The purpose of the piece was not to garner concern for me or my daughter, as you know, but to shine a spotlight by way of contrast on the infantile notion of existential umbrage-taking at religious iconism. Rather like Voltaire bigged up England in order to criticize France. And I’m in the middle of ‘Candide’ at the moment – takes 2 or 3 hours to read and it’s a hoot. x

          2. I hope your daughter does well in her unit.

            I managed to evade detection (sure, authorities recognized that I was very thin but I am a persuasive person and I would be able to convince them not to do anything). I also wore baggy clothes, ashamed of my figure. To this day, I hate to look in the mirror and I am probably slightly overweight now.

          3. Thank you for your good wishes, Diana.

            I delayed responding because quite frankly I did not know what to write and what not to write. As I don’t know you well (or even at all!) I feel I can only say that I hope you have people around you who love and care for you.

            All the best. xx

          4. Thanks Dermot C. I’m middle aged now and all that happened in my young years. I have to say that it never really leaves you, the bad body image or the questionable relationship with food.

            I’m sure your daughter will move last this with the great support she seems to have!

    1. They also reproduced (if you look at the pics pinned to the artists’ easel) the ‘bomb’ cartoon and the front page of Charlie Hebdo.

  5. However, Texas should feel completely free to keep Geert. I wouldn’t mind if he doesn’t come back here.

    1. Similar sentiments were voiced and widely held by the dim islamofacist pampering loony left regarding Theo van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn. Their Freedom of Speech was then permanently extinguished by murder. Exiling Wilders, as you recommend, should come close to achieving the effect you desire.

  6. One thing is very clear or should be to the terrorist who hope to continue their trade. Not a good idea to do it in Texas, the home of everyone is locked and loaded.

    The morning news showed several of the police force who were at the scene during or just after the shooting. These guys were dressed as if they just stepped off the battle field in Iraq with camo uniforms, automatic weapons and the whole deal.

    1. I’m sure Geller chose her venue rather deliberately (and that she is both delighted by and anticipated this outcome).

      1. Have they identified who the guys were yet? Wouldn’t it be funny if they were just local militia yahoos who completely missed the point of the event and got all irate about a Muslim festival in Texas and thought ‘lets shoot it up’.

        Yeah, I know, wishful thinking.

  7. The noises we’re about to hear are the moans of social justice warriors and religion-coddlers

    Jerry, as the phrase “social justice warriors” has very bad associations with the lunatic misogyny of Gamergate, I’d respectfully suggest that some other term might communicate the point with less irrelevant connotations or chance of misinterpretation.

    1. The phrase has been around for some time, certainly longer than Gamergate. I don’t see the association beyond there being SJWs involved in Gamergate in one way or another.

      1. There is always the chance of miscommunication. You can’t safeguard against it. It is unfortunate that in this case, as is often the case, that there are people that most here wouldn’t want to be associated with who use SJW in a similar derogatory way as it is being used here to describe people that most of us here would stand with. For holding positions that most here agree with. In fact, the people I am thinking of would, no doubt about it, label just about every one here as SJWs.

        1. SJW has become a pejorative, no doubt. This is probably not a good thing, since there are true SJ activists that do something beyond maintaining blogs, and/or Twitter/Tumblr accounts.

          When I see SJW now, I think “illiberal left”. I agree that I have a lot in common politically with those labelled SJWs. What I don’t have in common, however, are their tactics.

          1. Sure. I wasn’t commenting about who you, or Jerry, or I, might label an SJW. I was commenting that there are other people with different ideas about who qualifies as an SJW than you, or Jerry, or I.

            People, typically on the conservative side, often self proclaimed libertarians, who often comment about things like how women are in a conspiracy to take their rights away for example, that would label you, and Jerry, and I, SJWs.

  8. Two thoughts:
    – It’s very unfortunate that free speech champions will be tarnished because they made common cause with Muslim haters.
    – Though I wish it on no one, I would love to hear the debate if an Iranian ayatollah declared a fatwa to kill Arianna Huffington for portraying the prophet. Would she take the article down and censor HuffPo? PC liberals would tie themselves in knots.

    1. I don’t see it as tarnish at all. Seems perfectly understandable for someone to say they think Geller is a nasty piece of work but yes absolutely she has a right to air her views in public.

      And why would PC liberals tie themselves in knots over a fatwa against Ariana Huffington? This seems like a complete non-sequitur to me. Are you implying liberals want her murdered? That seems pretty nasty and unfounded on your part.

      1. You misunderstand. As a free speech advocate and one who does not hate Muslims, I’d rather not be called a bigot (as Geller may very well be) even as I defend her freedom to publish cartoons, even bigoted ones.
        Point 2: Political correctness has left many liberals (I count myself as liberal) conflicted: do they defend the right to free speech even if offensive or the right of an offended minority to threaten such people with death? I was trying to suggest that many refuse to criticize Islamist murderers (of Charlie Hebdo or Theo van Gogh or attempts on Salmon Rushdie’s life) but instead blame the cartoonist/novelist, implying they had it coming. Huffington’s paper just republished the offensive cartoons–what would a liberal like Trudeau do: defend her right to republish them or defend offended Muslims (say from Iran) to threaten her? What if she took the story down? Still free speech? Then such liberals have gutted their own First Amendment rights. I am in no way implying that liberals want A. Huffington murdered–just the opposite–that maybe they would defend her and her exercise of free speech. Bad analogy I guess.

        1. Ah. Okay. Personally I don’t think we really need hypothetical examples to see the difference between (my labels here) a left-winger who would criminalize anti-minority speech and a liberal who wouldn’t – we see plenty of real world examples of that debate – but I get your point.

          1. Perhaps somebody lower down on the thread has remarked on this, but it is pretty rich for Geller to spout about free speech when she herself wants to deny that to those she doesn’t agree with and advocates taking out Al-jazeera.
            Orwell world.

          2. Well, it doesn’t make her wrong in this case, just hypocritical. Yes, free speech means allowing people to advocate for changing the laws regarding speech to make it less free. Be that Geller or an islamist (not excusing the attack here; but rather saying that they have the same legal right to call for restrictions of other people’s free speech as Geller. The government and courts aren’t going to listen to either of them, but they have the right to voice that opinion).

          3. Thank you, Eric, for your very careful explanation. I was in fact pointing to the hypocrisy. Perhaps I should have spelled it out a little more extensively.

  9. Hard not to notice in the Rockwell painting that all the brave, “ordinary citizens” (save one) are male. That’s a painting that needs updating a bit, too.

    1. Also, the Norman Rockwell self-portrait has a particular theme: the artist in the painting is an idealized version of the artist doing the painting. That’s the joke.

      Interesting that the person who substituted Mohammed didn’t try to make the same point: the Islam they paint is not the Islam that is. But perhaps that was considered too provocative, or too subtle, or too corny, or something.

      1. Yeah I thought that was interesting too. They copied the form of the original Rockwell but missed/chose not to mirror the main point of it.

      2. FWIW, I thought Mohammed’s painting of himself was idealized–notice the halo around him. I thought the point of the painting was that he was just an ordinary mortal saw himself something more.

        1. Yes, the elements are definitely there, but perhaps a bit overly subtle as compared to Rockwell’s.

    1. Yes, there is more than a slight odor of desperate, spotlight-chasing self-promotion in this meeting, much like the book barbecue, which makes it a bit of a stretch comparing it to Charlie Hebdo.

      1. Geller would *love* to be compared to Charlie Hebdo. I just saw her on TV doing just that. Not even close, Geller, not for anyone with a brain.

  10. Pamela Geller said:

    We’re holding this exhibit and cartoon contest to show how insane the world has become—with people in the free world tiptoeing in terror around supremacist thugs who actually commit murder over cartoons.

    I don’t know of Pamela Geller (I was interested initially, but then realized I was thinking of Pam Grier), and based upon what PCC has said there’s not much we would agree on. But I’m in total agreement with this.

    No word on exactly how free speech is under threat, an especially untenable claim in view of the widespread publication of Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

    PCC commented on this much more eloquently, but I just have to say FFS it actually happened at the event on which you’re reporting! This isn’t just a threat to free speech, it’s an organized, actualized attack!

  11. So certain Muslims are offended by caricatures — or even flattering images — of Mohammed. Compare that to the rage African Americans are justly entitled to feel toward the KKK, which was historically responsible for actually terrorizing and murdering African Americans. And yet when was the last time a group of African Americans murderously attacked a KKK office? In comparison, the idea that the murderous rage by certain Muslims over images of Mohammed is somehow justified or at least understandable is beyond preposterous.

        1. Actually, I **know** they’ve not done a publicly advertised such event. In case it wasn’t clear that I meant **public** event, by analogy with this being a public event, it should have been.

          1. Because people would show up to protest, which is perfectly legal. If people wanted to protest Geller’s show, no problem. If people want to shoot attendees at either Geller’s event or the hypothetical KKK event, then yes that is a problem and we should all condemn such shootings as an attack on free speech.

            I’m still not quite sure what point you’re trying to make, both here and in your response to me in @7. Are you trying to claim that these shows are just sooooo offensive that the participants/organizers are to blame for their people getting shot? Are you trying to say we should not allow Geller and KKK shows?

          2. I’m not saying such shows shouldn’t be allowed. I am saying that the free speech goose is the same as the free speech gander, which not everybody here seems to get.

            As for offensiveness level, were I a local government, I wouldn’t rent out a venue for such an event unless I was convinced the hosts had a sufficiently high security level.

          3. “I am saying that the free speech goose is the same as the free speech gander, which not everybody here seems to get.”

            Can you state this more clearly please? I don’t think I agree with you, but then I am not sure of my interpretation of what you are trying to say.

          4. Who isn’t getting it? As far as I can tell you’re responding to comments that don’t imply some other content limit to free speech. Did JohnE imply this? Did I in @7?

          5. Agree with Eric–who isn’t getting it? Besides you.

            I think we have a troll on our hands.

      1. Offensive caricatures are common enough among racists. But the Klan operates in secrecy and, since it’s tough to host an event anonymously, sponsoring drawing events isn’t the Klan’s style. Burning crosses in the dead of the night in front of black activists’ homes while hiding behind white sheets — that’s the classic Klan style.

        A government entity — local or otherwise — cannot deny a group access to a public forum based on content or viewpoint. That’s the essence of censorship. (The obligation to provide adequate security at a public forum is on the government entity owning or controlling the forum, although the cost for doing so can be passed along to the event’s sponsors.)

        Security concerns are a common pretext for censorship. Their use has a notorious history, having been widely employed in the South to deny civil rights demonstrators permits in the ’50s and ’60s. Southern sheriffs would invariably contend that they could not assure the demonstrators’ safety or guarantee that the assembly would remain peaceable.

        1. And the rest of us commenting here would agree that Baruch would be wrong to do that and should be condemned if he did.

          Do you not understand that everyone here agrees that someone may fully justified in being outraged at a public event being held for the purpose of attacking their ideology — whether political, religious or otherwise. We all AGREE with that. We also agree that the offended individual would NOT be justified in murdering the persons participating in that event.

          For the benefit of the rest of us, can you tell us — yes or no — whether you agree with the proposition that someone whose ideology is offended by someone else’s free expression (obnoxious or otherwise) is NOT justified in murdering the offender?

          Unfortunately, although you may be uncomfortable typing the words, I’m concerned that you DON’T agree.

          1. I’m not sure “everyone” agrees to that.

            And, there’s a possibility that Pam Geller might well disagree.

            And, if you think I don’t agree with your second-last paragraph, you don’t read that well; I’ve already indicated that in various ways.

            I’m outta here.

          2. I’m happy to be among the many here who apparently read your comments the same way I did.

          3. You appear to be strawmanning. I have seen nothing in any of the comments you’ve responded to – or in Jerry’s OP – which would warrant your response. Nobody here has given any indication that they would carve out an exception to the first amendment in order to stop anti-Semitic speech. Yet you keep harping on it in post after post. Why?

    1. Do you really not understand the difference between something making you angry, even REALLY angry, and taking the next step of murdering people because of it? I’m not sure how you managed to miss that point in this debate.

      1. Do YOU really not understand what Coyne himself said, that this event wasn’t close to Charlie Hebdo in its motives or focus?

        And, since I mentioned Baruch Goldstein to you in another comment, do you not understand that Muslims aren’t the only people to do this, and that these people aren’t “all Muslims”? Maybe you don’t; maybe you don’t want to.

        1. So, just so it is clear to us all, are you claiming that Charlie Hebdo’s motives or focus were / are similar to Pam Geller’s?

          Also, if someone offended you sufficiently would you murder them? Can you say what would be sufficiently offensive to warrant you murdering them?

          1. I’ve not come close to claiming any of the things you ask about in the second graf.

            In the first graf, I said I agree with what Jerry Coyne wrote in the body of the post.

          2. Okay. I am having a hard time understanding your comments. Thanks for clarifying that.

            Would you mind commenting about the first graf also?

          3. The noises we’re about to hear are the moans of social justice warriors and religion-coddlers telling us that this exhibit was unduly provocative. They will tell us that it is very different from Charlie Hebdo, and thus indefensible. In one way it is different—in the nature of the organization displaying the cartoons—but in the most important respect it’s not: showing us that the freedom of speech should hold regardless of how much you dislike the ideas expressed, or the intent behind them, and that we should defend that right as strongly as we can.

            (My emphasis.) If you’re agreeing with that, you have a strange way of expressing it.

    2. Free speech may be sacred, but these situations are not alike.

      There is no comparison between cartoons depicting the face of someone who may (or may not) have existed and others mocking on the real suffering of people.
      The prohibition of depicting Muhammad is a matter of superstition only.
      If you want to mock the Jewish God (another superstition), do a cartoon contest on “taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain”. This is comparable to the Muhammad contest.

      Mocking about the death and suffering of millions of people is plain vile. The only reason for someone wanting to do this is anti-Semitism, i.e., hatred of Jews, not of their religion.

      1. It’s still about free speech, though. And, you’re trying to say not all speech is equally free.

        I can find “flash points” for about anybody; I deliberately chose this one.

        1. Unpack this a bit if you can. Everyone has flash points, therefore…

          Just not getting your point.

          1. It’s simple. Just about everybody can find some variety of speech that they say, “well, maybe I don’t want THAT totally protected.”

          2. Sure, but hopefully they wouldn’t act on that. I mean, we want to know who the jerks are, right?

            So shout your dumb opinions from the mountaintops, oh jerks of the world.

          3. I’m afraid this Gadfly has no point. Seems to me a computer generated post. Wouldn’t pass any Turing test.

          4. You really think that? He made his point well enough, even if you disagree with it.

        2. No, I was not saying this should be forbidden. But the distinction between a Mohammed cartoon contest and a holocaust denial contest is clear to me, one is the mocking of a religious idea and the other is plain hate-speech.
          Both are equally free in the US, but they do not belong to the same ethical category.

          1. Very well said in both this comment and your first one in this thread!

      2. It is vile and yeah the motivation 99% of the time is going to be anti-Semitism. Yet, that’s also free speech.

  12. The Curtis Culwell Center is about a mile and a half from my house – my son’s high school graduation will happen there in about a month. It’s not close enough for me to hear the gunfire, but about 11:30 last night as I was getting my coffee maker ready, I heard a big boom. I think this was the police detonating the gunmen’s car.

    What I’m wondering is how somebody picked this location – from what I can see, Geller is in New York. Maybe because there are 200 nut jobs here who would attend?

    1. What I’m wondering is how somebody picked this location – from what I can see, Geller is in New York.

      From what I understand there was a “Stand With the Prophet in Honor and Respect” event held at the center in January. It described itself as “A movement to defend Prophet Muhammad, his person, and his message.” Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was the keynote speaker.

    2. “but about 11:30 last night as I was getting my coffee maker ready, I heard a big boom”

      You may want to have your coffee maker checked…

  13. Years ago the Atheist Alliance International held a “Blasphemy Cartoon Contest” at one of their conventions and the entries were posted on the walls of one of the conference rooms. Many of them depicted Islam (often in groups of other religions) and some of them were much raunchier than anything I’d ever seen printed.

    I forget which one won, but the ironic thing was that the same hotel was apparently also having a convention dealing with Islam. Veiled women and bearded men in robes were wandering around the halls and actually situated in a room right across from the Blasphemy Cartoon Contest room. Many of us speculated on what would happen if any of them came in to look around.

    As far as I know, they did not. I’ve noticed that the word “atheist” on signs pretty much guarantees a lack of friendly banter from other guests — and the Muslims didn’t break the habit.

  14. That artnet news thing was impossible to understand. I think it shows how shitty some people write and get away with it because the readers just think they aren’t sophisticated enough to understand it.

  15. I think this article by Dean Obeidallah on The Daily Beast website needs a mention. The response of the American Muslim community to this event organized by a well-known Muslimophobe was very interesting and notable by the absence of any calls to violence. They simply chose to ignore her. There was even a “draw Muhammad” contest (with a twist) organized by the website Two fanatics however have chosen to not follow the example of these other Muslims.

  16. Jesus Christ! How can these “they had it coming” idiots fail to see that any and all variations on the “they had it coming theme” only ever promote vigilantism and “honor” killings and all the rest of the really nasty shit that we’ve worked so hard as a society to eliminate?

    Do they really want to go back to the days of pistols at dawn? And what the fuck makes them think they’d be immune as targets and / or competent duelists?

    I hate to get melodramatic, but we’re facing a serious breakdown of civilization from both sides — the barbarians killing all who insult them, and their “liberal” de-facto allies egging them on in the name of “free” speech.

    What the Hell is the world coming to!?


    1. Jon Stewart had a great take on this just tonight describing all the instances in which you do NOT shoot people, no matter how pissed off you are at them!!

    2. Jesus Christ! How can these “they had it coming” idiots fail to see that any and all variations on the “they had it coming theme” only ever promote vigilantism and “honor” killings and all the rest of the really nasty shit that we’ve worked so hard as a society to eliminate?

      YES!, and that goes for any level of “they had it coming”, including “deserved”, “should expect”, “provoked”. or saying such a reaction was “understandable”.
      Even if I stood outside a mosque holding up offensive pictures of Mohammed, I don’t deserve, nor have I provoked a murderous response. and any such response is not understandable.

  17. I came upon this story late in the day here in San Diego. The gunmen were definitely IS type terrorists (at least one was identified as having terrorist connections, not clear about his “helper’s” connections). Local Muslims were interviewed and they all agreed to simply ignore the event in TX. That was exactly the right response. Too bad the wacko terrorists can’t understand common sense.

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