Responding to a recent commentary of mine on The Morning Buzz with Richard Todd on alleged Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan, a liberal listener asked if I was trying to say that all Muslims were potential terrorists. I told her “absolutely not,” only that our history and experience with Islam will always require a heightened vigilance.

I have a liberal friend who hates cops, believing them all to be bullies and thugs. I always tell him he’s being absurd and that there are plenty of good police officers, but concede that law enforcement does sometimes harbor bullies and thugs. I even know cops who think this. Regardless, responsible citizens should keep an eye on police and any tendencies to abuse power.

Many conservatives believe public school teachers are nothing more than government indoctrinators. While it might be true that our federal education system pushes big government ideology on America’s youth, it seems a bit silly to blame this all on schoolteachers, many of whom are just trying to earn a paycheck. Yet, the indoctrination continues.

Many liberals believe that individuals who murder abortion doctors reflect a wider threat amongst fundamentalist Christians. I think this is absurd, although I would not be surprised to learn that some fundamentalist Christians are more sympathetic to murderers of abortion doctors than they would like to admit.

I could go and on with examples of groups that are maligned for the actions of certain individuals within that group, but the fact remains that I have friends who are Muslims, cops, teachers, and Christian fundamentalists who I don’t fear or worry about in the least. I can say, with a high degree of certainty, that they likely won’t commit any dastardly deeds.

Yet does Islam pose a potential threat by its very nature? In some ways, yes. Does law enforcement pose a certain threat to civil liberties? Yep. Does public education indoctrinate kids? Sure does. And do some fundamentalist Christians think killing abortion doctors is justified? I’ve spoken to people personally who say that although they don’t agree with it, they understand why some do it.

And yet to criticize these groups, or any group, usually elicits accusations of racism, bigotry, or worse, depending on the politics and sympathies of the critic. When I suggested that shooter Hasan’s ethnic and religious background had something to do with his behavior, at least one liberal assumed I was a raving racist. Would this same liberal have a problem with me calling the police “pigs?” Likewise, there are conservatives who consider any criticism of our “brave men and women who serve in blue” as an attack on the police in general. The police badge is simply beyond reproach. How dare anyone criticize those who “put their lives on the line every day” to keep the rest of us safe? How dare anyone criticize the “religion of peace?”

When neo-Nazi James Von Brunn walked into the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., last June and opened fire, news outlets and pundits immediately began to wonder if this lone incident reflected a potential, deeper threat to America. The U.S. News & World Report noted: “Extremist group monitors and law enforcement officials worry that as more people join hate groups, acts of violence will become more likely.” Many even believed right-wing talk radio fueled Brunn’s actions.

When Hasan walked into a building in Ft. Hood and opened fire, suggestions that the gunman’s ideology might have had something to do with his actions were immediately denounced by government officials and others. But as was the case with Von Brunn, was it appropriate to ask if there was a larger network of Islamic extremists in America, operating in mosques and elsewhere, of which Hasan was but one example? Few in the mainstream media questioned Hasan’s ideology as thoroughly and as enthusiastically as they did Brunn’s. We were told repeatedly that Brunn’s behavior probably had something to do with Glenn Beck, but that Hasan’s behavior could have had nothing to do with Islam.

Arguing that Brunn’s actions were possibly fueled by Fox News, talk radio, and the conservative media in general, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote in a commentary entitled “The Big Hate”: “Whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased … Politicians and media organizations wind up such people at their, and our, peril.” Imagine if the line between mainstream Islam and radical Islam was said to have been “virtually erased” by the actions of Hasan? Was Hasan “wound up” by Islam at large? Not surprisingly, Krugman has yet to comment on the much deadlier Ft. Hood massacre.

It seems that for the time being, what “threats” might exist to the general public — and which ones we are allowed to talk about — remains ridiculously selective. And what we are allowed to criticize is more often determined not by empirical facts, logic, or even educated guessing, but the eye of the politically correct beholder.


Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the “Morning Buzz with Richard Todd” on 1250 AM WTMA.