Lessons from the FRC Shooting

Outside the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Family Research Council, August 15, 2012


‘It was not about you, it was what this place stands for.” So said gay-rights activist Floyd Lee Corkins II after opening fire on a security guard at the office of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. FRC among other things opposes gay marriage, a position shared with just under half of all Americans including, until about five minutes ago, President Barack Obama. For this alleged instance of extremism, FRC was in 2010 labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

That the SPLC cannot distinguish between a traditional-family organization and the guys in the white sheets and swastika armbands says a great deal about that organization’s intellectual depth, which is measured in millimeters. Organized homosexuality’s relentless crusade to align itself with the civil-rights movement of the 1960s is on the face of it absurd — such insults as homosexuals have suffered in this country do not include chattel slavery — but the SPLC has been happy to play along, in the course of the past decade or so transforming itself from a watchdog on extremism to a peddler of liberal pieties.

It is fashionable on the left to attempt to tie acts of violence to conservative political rhetoric: Bill Clinton shamefully insinuated that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was inspired by Rush Limbaugh, and a diverse bouquet of self-beclowning Democrats tried to pin the shooting of Gabby Giffords on Sarah Palin’s taste in graphic design. Of course McVeigh turned out to be no kind of talk-radio man, and the man who shot Giffords is an incoherent psychotic with no political agenda. For that matter, it was a man of the Left who shot John F. Kennedy, but a shocking number of otherwise respectable liberals treat the assassination as part of a right-wing conspiracy. So convinced are liberals that the Right is harboring dreams of political violence that irresponsible commentators immediately began speculating about whether the Colorado theater shooter was a Fox News viewer. As it turns out, he thought he was the Joker, not the Gipper.

An exercise in tit-for-tat would be tempting here, but conservatives for the most part know better. Given the routinely violent, anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynist rhetoric associated with the Left — as seen at any Occupy encampment or protest directed at Israel, Clarence Thomas, or Sarah Palin — it is worth remarking upon the hypocrisy of the Left’s trying to blame talk radio or tea-party protests for acts of violence. (And never mind that rhetoric was replaced by actual acts of violence at Occupy events, not at tea-party rallies.) There is in fact remarkably little political violence in the United States, a fact for which we should be grateful.

What is remarkable here is the intellectual dishonesty: The Left seeks to discredit conservative criticism as “hate speech,” while at the same time engaging in the wildest sort of excess. One example of left-wing rhetorical excess is of course the attempt to brand the FRC a hate group when its employees are the targets of political violence, not the perpetrators of it. Life is full of little ironies.