Louisiana Republican Fails Auschwitz 101: Never Record Political Videos In A Gas Chamber

When he announced he was running for Congress last year, we worried that former police captain Clay Higgins, who became Internet Famous for his Tough Guy / come-to-Jesus Crimestoppers videos, might be out of his depth. Hoo boy, talk about an understatement. Since taking office in January, Rep. Higgins declared, following the London terror attack in June, that "All of Christendom … is at war with Islamic horror" and that the best answer to those suspected of involvement with Islamic terror is to "kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all." Then last week, just in time for Independence Day, Higgins made a video of himself wandering around the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and explaining why the Nazi program of genocide proves America needs to have a strong defense. The video, part of which was filmed inside a reconstructed gas chamber, was condemned by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. The museum's official Twitter account posted the criticism Tuesday, along with a photo of a sign asking visitors to be respectful of the site:

In the video, Higgins takes a brief atrocity tour, intoning about "man's inhumanity to man" (Robert Burns! Or maybe Brecht!) and the horrors of the Nazi regime, as if no one knew about the Holocaust and why it was bad. (Although, Louisiana ...) While inside the gas chamber of Crematorium 1, the only one of the camp's five gas chamber/furnace complexes that wasn't dynamited when the Nazis abandoned the camp in 1945, Higgins explained how the gas was dropped into the chamber, and then showed the reconstructed ovens where corpses were burned, then added, "This is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible." Later, outside, he sums up what Clay Higgins Learned From Auschwitz:

The world’s a smaller place now than it was in World War II. The United States is more accessible to terror like this, horror like this. It’s hard to walk away from gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of commitment, unwavering commitment, to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world.

Which, of course, badly misses the point. The Nazis who perpetrated the Holocaust are all dead, except perhaps for the occasional ancient war criminal who insists he was only following orders. And the neo-Nazis who simultaneously deny the Holocaust happened and think it would be a dandy idea to start up again are a matter for law enforcement -- they don't have any tank divisions. The risks from terrorism are real, but they don't involve gas chambers -- the biggest risk is that like a bunch of panicked idiots, we might give up on democracy and start rounding up members of a despised minority who we think is The Enemy, so we can kill them, kill them all.

Yr Wonkette would like to apologize for misjudging Clay Higgins so badly -- when he was just talking about arresting bad guys and telling them to do the right thing and turn themselves in, he was quirky, kind of charming in a half-nutso way, and seemed to temper his tough, scared-straight talk with compassion -- of a decidedly Christian sort, yes, but with what sounded like an emphasis on forgiveness and turning bad guys' lives around. We even compared him to Terry Pratchett's fictional Sam Vimes, the no-nonsense cop who seemed personally offended that anyone would break the law in his town. But Sam Vimes would never make a video at Auschwitz for the sake of calling for a bigger defense budget, and he would never call for killing 'em all and letting God sort 'em out.

We're somewhat relieved to look back and see that, when he announced his run for Congress, we had some serious misgivings, though obviously we were far too optimistic about Higgins's ability to balance his Git Tuff rhetoric with compassion and decency (he fooled us with that talk about prison reform). It's a damn pity to see that Clay Higgins has reached his level of incompetence, and is now actually in a position to make laws, Offler the Crocodile God help us. Rep. Clay Higgins isn't a real-life counterpart to a heroic fictional policeman. He's more like a Louie Gohmert clone, and that's just incredibly sad. And forget the "half" -- he's all nuts, as far as we can tell.

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[Nola.com / HuffPo / Mother Jones]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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