NY Post: Cop Killed By Trump Supporters Was Trump Supporter, Ergo ... Something
On Sunday night, the New York Post published an op-ed from First Things Senior Editor Matt Schmidt, titled "What the left wants to ignore about slain Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick." Brian Sicknick, of course, is the Capitol Police officer who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher by one of the people storming the Capitol. Spoiler alert! The thing we supposedly want to ignore is that he shared the same views as those invading the Capitol, because that totally matters. Somehow.
It should come as no surprise that it was a very, very stupid op-ed that made little to no sense at all.
On Thursday, Brian Sicknick, an officer with the US Capitol Police, died from injuries sustained during the storming of the Capitol Building. Democratic leaders have presented Sicknick as a martyr of the #Resistance against President Trump and his dangerous supporters.
Reality is more complicated.
Oh is it? And have we "presented [him] as a martyr of the #Resistance"? Have we?
Let us review. Brian Sicknick was working at the Capitol during the attempted coup. At some point, one of the participants took a fire extinguisher and bashed him in the head with it, leading to brain injuries that later killed him. I don't know that this makes him a martyr so much as a shining example of exactly how dangerous the people who invaded the Capitol were. You know, because they killed a guy by bashing him over the head with a fire extinguisher, an act one would imagine takes more than a small amount of effort.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Sicknick's death as a reminder of the need to "protect our country from all threats, foreign and domestic." President-elect Joe Biden suggested that whoever backed Trump supports "an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy." The day's violence, it seems, has become an all-purpose excuse to denounce and silence anyone not sufficiently anti-Trump.
Has it, though? Because it seems like it's really just the ones who stormed the Capitol and murdered a guy by bashing him in the head with a fire extinguisher, or the people who thought all of that was okay. Also the people who have encouraged this kind of behavior lo these many years by telling these people the Second Amendment gives them the right to do this. And the people who told these people, incorrectly, that there was all kinds of evidence proving Trump actually won the election in a landslide when there wasn't. You can only shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there actually is a fire. Shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there is not a fire leads to people getting hurt, killed, or, evidently, bashed in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Or trampled to death.
Rosanne Boyland, 34, from Kennesaw, Georgia was trampled to death during the riot at the US Capitol carrying a fla… https://t.co/2l8n1h2s5H— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon MD)1610151818.0
But TWIST! Schmitz explains that, actually, people who are saying it was bad of Trump supporters trying to overthrow the government to kill Sicknick with a fire extinguisher are fools, because he himself was a Trump supporter who also thought there should be "regime change" in America.
Yet neither Biden nor Pelosi reckoned with an uncomfortable fact: Sicknick was a Trump supporter himself, as his friend Caroline Behringer announced shortly after his death. Far from sharing the views of the #Resistance, he had written letters to his congressman opposing Trump's impeachment.
Like many Trump supporters who are now being censored, he believed that the system is fundamentally rigged in favor of a narrow elite. He had used fiery rhetoric, even called for regime change in America.
Is that good? No! Obviously not! Clearly, he was a person with terrible opinions. Opinions that, ironically, led to his own death. Schmitz is trying to make one of two things true here. Either we shouldn't think it's bad that Sicknick was murdered by a violent Trump supporter, because we disagree with him ideologically, or we should decide that because his personal views were more in line with that of the person who bashed him over the head with a fire extinguisher, that those views are fine now.
Neither of those options makes very much sense at all.
The people who claim to honor Sicknick have elided these facts. Acknowledging them would undermine their effort to label the 75 million Americans who supported Trump as a domestic threat.
I don't know if they've "elided" them so much as decided they don't really matter. Because they don't. It's almost like we really actually don't support domestic terrorists attacking the Capitol and murdering people.
One thing I find interesting about Schmitz (not really) is that in both the article itself and his promotion of it, he tried to do a whole "Actually liberals are the real conservatives thing," weirdly insinuating that it was the Left who invaded Iraq and that we love "elites" and corporations now.
Already, unelected Silicon Valley billionaires are using Sicknick's death to justify censorship of views he expressed. Liberals are cheering the limitation of free speech. Leftists are applauding the exercise of corporate power.
No one is applauding the exercise of corporate power or the limitation of free speech. That is not what is happening. Freedom of association is what is happening. You can kick people out of your home or place of business if they are causing problems or encouraging violence. You start a bar fight, you're getting kicked out of the bar. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay there.
And just for the record, Parler -- the supposed "free speech" site being so cruelly censored -- has actually banned a whole lot of people. They even deleted a "parley" (yes, that's what they call them) from Lin Wood about how he would like to execute Mike Pence by firing squad. Because clearly, even they could see that it might be real bad for them if someone then went out and did that.
What could lead a man like Sicknick to support Trump? Must it be white supremacy, conspiracy theories or one of the other reasons usually cited by the media?
Schmitz, however, explains that Sicknick was actually mad at Democrats for doing the Iraq War.
After serving his country and observing the workings of its government, Sicknick had come to believe that America is governed by a self-interested, unresponsive and unaccountable oligarchy. There is ample evidence to support his beliefs. Biden and Sen. Chuck Schumer, both of whom voted to authorize the invasion, have suffered no consequences for their folly. Nor have the countless other supporters of the invasion who populate Congress, K Street and the think tanks.
The same people who launched a costly and failed war in Iraq now hope to humiliate and silence Trump's supporters. But the concerns that led to the rise of Trump won't disappear until our failed elites pay for their mistakes.
Now, look. I disagreed with it at the time, and I disagree with it now, but the main reason Democrats voted to authorize the invasion was because they didn't want to offend Republicans, who were super jazzed about invading Iraq and would have called them "unpatriotic" if they had refused. They were weenies, not warhawks. Some Democrats, also, don't bring the Iraq War up because they think it's gauche or something to remind the Right of what they did back then. They thought they were being nice then and they think they are being gracious now.
If Sicknick was a Republican because he is mad about the Iraq War, well, that was too bad. But given how absolutely absurd that is, and the fact that he believed the election was rigged, some other things (like conspiracy theories!) might have factored in there as well.
And yet! I can still say that I think it was bad to beat him to death with a fire extinguisher. So can all of you, I would assume. Despite what those who disparage the victims of police violence might believe, a person's prior acts or personal positions do not actually justify violence against them, particularly when the perpetrator of said violence would have absolutely no way of knowing about any of that. For instance, if one were to walk up to a random old man they had never met before and beat him to death, and that old man turned out to be a Nazi war criminal, as bad as it is, the Nazi war criminal thing wouldn't be a mitigating factor.
When they smear Trump voters, they dishonor Officer Sicknick's memory.
Just so I have this straight. If a person with terrible views kills another person with terrible views, those terrible views must now be deemed acceptable? Like if I was in an evil murder cult and killed another person in said evil murder cult, it would be rude to disparage the views of the evil murder cult because the person I murdered was also in the evil murder cult? That doesn't seem right. I don't think anything works like that. Maybe the mob? Like how people always say "Eh, they only kill their own, it's not like they're bothering people who aren't involved. People know what they're getting into" about the mob? But I don't think that is what is going on here either.
Officer Sicknick's death was a direct result of people believing the election was stolen from Donald Trump and that it was their right to invade the Capitol. It doesn't matter that he also shared these beliefs. It doesn't matter that the lady who got trampled also shared these beliefs. The issue is that these beliefs are getting people killed, and that it's bad when people believing incorrect things leads to other people getting killed, whether it's belief in "weapons of mass destruction" that don't exist or that an election was rigged when it wasn't.
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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. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse