Now that we've established the baseline for this post, let's consider something Gino wrote earlier this morning in a comment to an earlier post:
once again, her free speech was never violated. it was defended and guaranteed against the peeps she goaded into violence.I think there's a larger question at play here. Do the "peeps," Elton Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi, have any moral agency? Or is someone else, namely Pamela Geller, responsible for their choices?
Simpson and Soofi lived in Phoenix, Arizona. The event that Geller staged took place in the Dallas suburbs. It's a pretty long drive to get from one place to another:
It takes rather a lot of goading to get someone to travel 1,078 miles to commit violence. Perhaps Geller is just that odious. Or is something else going on here?
Do you blame someone else? Some would argue that Simpson was under a different spell:
About the time of the attack Sunday, on a Twitter account with the name “Shariah is Light” that has since been suspended, someone posted using the hashtag #texasattack. The profile picture on the account is of Anwar al-Awlaki, a militant imam killed in a 2011 American drone strike in Yemen.So, do you blame Anwar al-Awlaki? He's been dead for four years. Do you blame al-Baghdadi? Or do you agree with Simpson's father?
Mr. Awlaki repeatedly called for violence against cartoonists who, in his view, insulted the Prophet Muhammad. The Twitter post says that the writer and the man with him have “given bay’ah,” or pledged loyalty, “to Amirul Mu’mineen,” a title meaning commander of the faithful that was used by early Muslim rulers and has been claimed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State. “May Allah accept us as mujahedeen.”
The father of one of the suspected gunmen in the Garland, Texas, shooting told ABC News that his son "made a bad choice."Provocateurs will always be among us. We choose how we respond to provocations. Dunston Simpson is correct: Elton Simpson made a bad choice. I don't believe it necessarily relects badly on his family. A 30-year old man makes his own decisions. Elton Simpson had moral agency. It doesn't matter how odious you find Pamela Geller -- the owner of Elton Simpson's fate is Elton Simpson.
"We are Americans and we believe in America," Dunston Simpson said Monday. "What my son did reflects very badly on my family."