Can Words Hurt? 

Can Words Hurt?

I've almost completely missed the Newsweek story: it's most unlikely one Newsweek story caused anything at all; the same senior U.S. military person who said Isikoff ("that s.o.b.") caused deaths, a week earlier said the Newsweek article didn't cause any deaths; at worst the Newsweek article was confirming a story that had circulated for years. Maybe in the case of total war, such as World War II, it's necessary to censor the media. Today? I don't think so. Lefties are correct that when Glenn Reynolds threatens that "someone" might want to take away freedom of the press, he's resorting to an old trick of demagoguery, and trying to have it both ways. He's not opposed to freedom of the press, but he has deep sympathy for some of those who are, and if a newspaper office is attacked, he will sadly say "I told you so."

(Arthur Silber via Avedon at Eschaton).

And then there's this from the Corner. AOL runs a piece on a widowed judge whose family members had been murdered. "Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow said one way lawmakers could protect judges would be to condemn judge-bashing remarks by commentators and colleagues.

'''Fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge, or on the fringe, to exact revenge,' Lefkow told the Senate Judiciary Committee."

Three examples are given of Republicans criticizing the courts over the Schiavo case and other cases. One example is from Sen. Rick Santorum, Katherine Lopez's hero. Lopez says:

Please explain to me how this comment is responsible for murder: ''The actions on the part of the Florida court and the U.S. Supreme Court are unconscionable.'' That's Rick Santorum speaking about Terri Schiavo. And, well, that's a legitimate, civil point of view.

You can argue about some other ill-advised comments from others, as we have corporately here, giving a little grief to guys we generally like a lot like John Cornyn. But, for instance, I think that Roe v. Wade is an abomination (luckily I'm not up for a judgeship). Does that make me responsible for what some crazy person does claiming to carry some kind of "pro-life" torch (a despicable contention to those who truly work to defend life)? (Argh--I probably just gave the Democrats a new talking point on Pryor now. Not that they need the prodding, they are that unfair on their own.)

Now this is quite interesting. There are clearly pro-life meetings where abortionists are identified as sinners, in the same class as Hitler, and women who seek abortions, especially more than once, are spoken of in a similar way. Surely the people who bomb abortion clinics and take shots at the staff have always or almost always gone to at least some of those meetings. It's not a stretch, therefore, to say pro-lifers emphasizing that abortion is a terrible sin have caused deaths--much more directly than Newsweek ever did. Even on judges, AOL is probably more right than wrong, and K.Lo is probably more wrong than right. To keep telling "some crazy person"--who gives money to your cause, and comes to your meetings--that judges are doing things that are destroying the country, is setting a match to a powder keg. And everybody knows it.

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