How Dare You Blame People Calling For Murder Of Journalists For Murder Of Journalists?
This morning, the day after a shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis took the lives of five innocent people, Marco Rubio is very upset about something. He is very, very upset about the word fuck. Why? Because yesterday, a survivor of that shooting said she "couldn't give a fuck" about Trump's thoughts and prayers.
Earlier this week, Milo Yiannopoulos said, in a text message to reporters at The Observer, "I can't wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight." No stranger to harassing journalists himself, Milo recently got kicked off of Venmo and PayPal for sending $14.88 to Jewish journalist Talia Lavin. The 14 in 1488 refers to the "14 words," a slogan created by white supremacist terrorist David Lane.
"We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
The 88 means "Heil Hitler," H being the 8th word of the alphabet. Very classy!
Milo has since said that this statement about how much he wanted to kill journalists was supposed to be a private troll to journalists he did not like. He has also previously tried to explain that anti-Semitism in the alt-right is simply adorable, whimsical trolling, like how metal heads in the '80s yelled "Hail Satan!" but were not actual Satanists. This is, of course, bullshit.
On Instagram (see top of post!), along with a ridiculous glamour shot of himself, Milo attempted to explain that he was not at all responsible for any of this, rather it was the journalists who were wrong for having published it in the first place.
Whether or not the shooter was actually directly inspired by Milo's words doesn't matter. Whether he meant them as a "troll" doesn't matter. The fact that he felt this was a perfectly fine thing to say, a perfectly fine thing to wish for -- that matters. The fact that he thought it was an OK thing to say to journalists matters.
It matters that Trump has repeatedly referred to the media as "the enemy of the American people."
It matters that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has said she'd love to see journalists get curb-stomped.
Meet Dana Loesch — the NRA spokeswoman who thinks journalists are 'the rat bastards of the Earth' and should be 'curb-stomped' pic.twitter.com/H0X51ePcKE
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 7, 2018
Curb-stomping, for those of you who may not know, is a form of assault that originated with the Gestapo in Nazi Germany and later became very popular among Neo-Nazi skinheads in the '80s and '90s -- as well as a scene from American History X that still gives me nightmares. It involves forcing someone to bite down on the curb of a sidewalk, and then stomping on their head with steel-toed boots. It is not a thing you hear a lot of non-literal Nazis talking about.
It matters that people at Trump rallies were wearing shirts reading "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required." and thinking it was cute.
From Trump rally in Minnesota today, via @ReutersPolitics pic.twitter.com/a7CdYT1UCi
— Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) November 6, 2016
It matters that the shooter, Jarrod Ramos, previously told the Capital Gazette that referring to Donald Trump as "unqualified" could end badly for them.
This kind of rhetoric -- and the fact that people on the Right are so casual about it to the point where they don't understand why anyone would possibly think there was anything wrong with it, inures people to the idea of hurting journalists. It emboldens people like Jarrod Ramos, who already have their own grievances with the press. Listening to that rhetoric, he had every reason to believe that he would be hailed as a hero for his actions.
These people think it is perfectly fine to talk about murdering and assaulting journalists regularly, and yet they recoil in horror when Maxine Waters suggests peacefully protesting Trump administration officials over their policy of tearing children away from their families. Or, you know, people saying the word "fuck." They want to be able to say these things and then be patted on the head for being adorable, mischievous scamps.
It no longer matters -- if it ever did -- if these people think they're just innocently "trolling." If they wanted only their precious lulz. They don't get their motherfucking lulz anymore. They are adults, they are responsible for their words and actions, and no one cares if they only said they wanted to see journalists murdered or curb-stomped, or repeated Nazi propaganda, because they just wanted to "own the libs." They can fuck right off with that. Don't say you want to see journalists murdered unless you actually want to see journalists murdered. Don't say you want to see journalists murdered and then clutch your pearls and go "How dare you say I really meant that! I just wanted my lulz! I'm politically incorrect! That means I get to say what I want and no one gets to hold me responsible for it! Teehee!"
Meanwhile, they continue to be very upset at our "incivility."
Fuck their lulz. Fuck their trolling. Fuck their "political incorrectness." Fuck their false equivalencies. People are dead, it's time for this shit to end.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse