Scary Peace-People III
Jim Moose is the father of Julia Wilson, the highschool-freshman class Bush-hater who was pulled out of class and questioned by the Secret Service for threatening to kill the President.
Now, a lot of people wouldn’t like the way I worded that. What I’m supposed to say to describe Julia’s predicament, has been established long ago. I’m supposed to decorate my description of Julia with meaningless platitudes like these (link requires registration)…
The latest Sacramento resident to be questioned by federal agents in possible threats against President Bush is a 14-year-old girl with a heart on her backpack and braces on her teeth, a freckle-nosed adolescent who is passionate about liberal politics and cute movie stars.
Her name is Julia Wilson, and she learned a vivid civics lesson Wednesday when two Secret Service agents pulled her out of biology class at McClatchy High School to ask about comments and images she posted on MySpace.
Beneath the words “Kill Bush,” Julia posted a cartoonish photo-collage of a knife stabbing the hand of the president. It was one of a few images Julia said she used to decorate an anti-Bush Web page she moderated on MySpace, the social networking Web site that is hugely popular among teenagers. [emphasis mine]
The name of the anti-Bush web page, according to the article, is “‘People who want to stab Bush’ — Julia said she doesn’t remember the exact name because she soon changed it.” Gee, how adorable. Like a heart on a backpack, or freckles or something. Anyway, I’m supposed to just ease you into all this stuff. She didn’t “threaten to kill the President,” she posted some kind of photoshop caricature of the President being stabbed with a knife, and insinuated that a passion for stabbing the President is a prerequisite for joining her group. Threatening to kill the President…that’s just a concise summary of the situation that’s utterly compatible with all known facts. How unfair of me.
Julia has become something of a martyr for a whole anthology of liberal concerns: Our vanishing civil liberties that nobody anywhere can put into a meaningful list, President Bush’s contempt for cute freckle-faced children with hearts on their backpacks, the rapidly declining level of discourse in the country for which they blame everyone except themselves, etc.
Julia’s father, Jim Moose, had this to say yesterday about the brouhaha his daughter has stirred up in an op-ed:
Sadly, I had expected such highly partisan reactions, which were completely predictable in the currently poisonous political atmosphere in this country. My wife and I agree that Julia’s behavior was wrong, and deserved to be sanctioned. Believe me, she has learned her lesson. As to the charge that we should have carefully monitored her MySpace page, we respectfully disagree.
We know our kids better than anyone else, and because they are all good kids — Julia has two siblings — we have chosen to respect their personal privacy on such matters, although we have been diligent in warning them that human predators inhabit the Internet. Had we realized that the Secret Service was reading her MySpace page, perhaps we might have paid more attention.
To my mind, our policy of giving our kids some “space” in which to learn from their own mistakes does not make us “neglectful parents.” The charge is particularly absurd as directed to Kirstie, who despite great intelligence and talents that could have launched her into a successful professional career, has instead chosen to stay at home the last 21 years to devote all of her energies to raising our children. I am intensely grateful to her for these efforts. She and I have the strong belief that we ought to treat our children as though we trust them, until they give us reason not to (which has happened on occasion). Thus, until this incident with the Secret Service, we saw Julia’s MySpace page as akin to a personal diary. We respected her privacy.
Now, this is just wombat-rabies bollywonkers crazy, assuming Jimbo really believes in it. But I don’t think he does. His command of the English language is at least adequate; he’s taken the time to anticipate the response of fellow Bush-bashing liberals, and cherry-pick the facts that would most assuredly get some kind of a rise out of them. Not exactly rocket-scientist stuff, but it takes something to do all that.
I just see knowing the difference between “private” and “Internet” as far, far below that. As in, being “shocked!,” Captain Renault like, that the Secret Service would be reading something posted on the web for all the world to see.
Local blogger “Fetching Jen” has written about this time and time and time again. But I thought her original post, about the October 13 story, was most interesting.
Yesterday when my son came home from school, he told us that a rumor was floating around the school that a freshman was pulled out of class by Homeland Security. Then we heard that the rumor was true:
U.S. agents question teen
The latest Sacramento resident to be questioned by federal agents in possible threats against President Bush is a 14-year-old girl with a heart on her backpack (blah blah blah)…
The couple are disturbed, however, that federal agents questioned a child at school — without her parents present. And First Amendment lawyers question whether the Secret Service over-reacted to a 14-year-old’s comments on a Web site made for casual socializing.
“I don’t condone what she did, but it seems a little over the top to me,” said Julia’s father, Jim Moose. “You’d think they could look at the situation and determine that she’s not a credible threat.”
Excuse me… not a credible threat? That she even made the threat is outrageous, beyond poor judgment and illegal. Yes, it is against the law to threaten the President.
Where does a 14-year-old high school freshman get this level of anger? From her parents, of course. Hey, great parenting folks. She must be a really nice kid. And according to my son, she’s a piece of work, exhibiting frequent outbursts at school whenever she disagrees with something a classmate says or does. And her parents are neighbors and vocal supporters of the uber-crazy liberal Steve and Virginia Pearcy (WorldNetDaily: New effigy: Bush lied, I died) who hung the dummy soldier from their roof in an anti-war effagy with the sign, “Bush Lied, I died” on the uniform. [emphasis mine]
Jim Moose says his daughter has learned her lesson. I’m just wishing someone, somewhere, was discussing exactly what lesson it is the girl needs to learn. Don’t threaten people? Try to get into the other person’s shoes before you go off the handle and bully them? Takes all kinds to make a world?
Or…us poor, poor little anti-war liberals need to watch what we say in that evil George Bush’s Amerika because the First Amendment doesn’t exist for us?
I’d just like to know what has been learned from all this. Mr. Moose has exhausted his opportunity to write an op-ed for his local paper, just recycling a cherry-picked assortment of factoids from the whole sorry episode. Throughout his opinion piece, what opinion he would like to proliferate from these factoids, or what he thinks is notable about them, is rather unclear. The point of it seems to be that we shouldn’t worry about his daughter and what danger she may pose to herself or to others. He agrees what the daughter did was dumb; he thinks the Secret Service was out of line in questioning her without a parent present. What, exactly, does he think was dumb about what she did? What does Julia think was dumb about what she did?
My concerns are aroused, in no small part, by the second-to-last paragraph of Mr. Moose’s piece:
As some people commenting on the story have noted, at least Julia has passionate beliefs and cares deeply about politics. One of the Secret Service agents had similar comments after talking with her. The things about Bush that Julia dislikes the most are his bigoted attitude toward gays and lesbians and his know-nothing attitude toward global warming. Though we share these perceptions, she has reached them independently, and she feels them with fervor.
The most disillusioning thing about our recent experience is that it has proved to us all too starkly how ready, and even anxious, many people are to judge others harshly without sufficient evidence to form thoughtful opinions, and how truly mean some people are. I attribute these revelations in part to human nature, and in part to the degraded status of our political culture. I note that President Bush uses the verb “kill” all the time with respect to “evildoers” whose humanity he refuses to acknowledge. I note, too, that our governor achieved his fame through a series of movies in which he methodically slaughtered seemingly hundreds of one-dimensional enemies.
This, to me, is just stunning. “…it has proved…how ready, and even anxious, many people are to judge others harshly without sufficent evidence to form thoughtful opinions.”
Uh…yeah. You know Jim, maybe that comes from growing up in a household wherein you learn that your mindset is the only mindset worth having, and anybody who disagrees is something less than human. Deserving of the receiving end of a good, healthy outburst. Or to have their picture put on the Internet with a dagger photoshopped next to them, and a good old-fashioned hate group set up dedicated to their personal destruction.
Gee, I guess any among us can step into Julia’s crosshairs by disagreeing with her about any one of a number of things. Global warming and gay marriage will do the trick nicely.
Fetching Jen’s original question, “Where does she get the anger?,” seems apropos. In fact, from absorbing all the material that has made its way to me about this girl and her appalling lack of judgment, Julia doesn’t seem to be burdened by anger quite so much as an inability to recognize a different opinion as potentially worthwhile. Worthwhile, or…even if it isn’t, you know, if that other person with the different idea is allowed to have the last word just one time, things will still be okay. About the sufficient evidence to form thoughtful opinions: Am I to believe she really knows that much about gay marriage or global warming? She can’t know too much more about climate change compared to anyone else, and what everybody else knows about it is damn little. So what we have here, is a girl who sees nothing wrong with organizing on-line hate groups, inspired by motives that amount to…very, very little. She simply wants to eliminate people who don’t think the way she thinks.
Oh yeah, and as an afterthought if she gets in trouble and is confronted by the concern that someone might actually be hurt, she’ll do some backpedaling.
That right there is the trouble with peace people. What opinions they have — these opinions demonstrate their benevolent nature, so nothing else needs to. They “gave at the office,” you might say. Words, deeds…if any of these are interpreted by some to be poorly-mannered, or malicious, or even dangerous — what is the problem with that? They’re good people. It’s proven. They have peaceful opinions. And they’re willing to kill for them.
Julia said it best herself: “I mean, look at what’s (stenciled) on my backpack � it’s a heart. I’m a very peace-loving person…I’m not going to kill the President.” Yeah, of course, the Secret Service should have known that. Can’t you just see Secret Service Agent Columbo, apologizing to Julia for having taken so much of her valuable time?
Some of the scariest people we’ve got in our country right now, are our scary, scary peace-people.
Thing I Know #70. Courage has very little to do with being outspoken.