The ‘culture war’ acknowledged earlier this week by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Washington CeaseFire’s Ralph Fascitelli, and discussed by this column, could not have been more clearly defined than by last night’s opening segment of the O’Reilly Factor pitting a liberal against a conservative discussing the murder of Christopher Lane in Oklahoma.
On the left was Kirsten Powers, a writer with the Daily Beast and a Fox News political analyst, and on the right, Republican strategist Kate Obenshain. Where Obenshain pointed to a violent rap and gang culture that is affecting youth, Powers blamed the “gun culture” for a murder about which more facts are surfacing today that could make it a hate crime. Mediaite also discusses the exchange here.
A tweet posted by murder suspect James Edwards, 15, is being quoted today in the Adelaide, Australia Herald Sun. Among his Twitter messages was this April 29 gem: “90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM.”
Edwards and fellow suspect Chancey Allen Luna, 16, are African-American while Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, is white. John McWhorter, writing in TIME, has some interesting observations about this case. The Huffington Post is criticizing Fox News, the Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh for bringing up the race issue.
Others are now theorizing that the Lane murder was a gang initiation, as noted by the Sydney Morning Herald. Perhaps not coincidentally, these reports are surfacing in Australian newspapers, from whence Lane came.
But near the end of the ten-minute O’Reilly segment, Powers demonstrated the myopic mindset of the left by advising host Bill O’Reilly – who had been critical that President Barack Obama has not weighed in on the crime as he did following the Trayvon Martin shooting – that, “Barack Obama has a different analysis of the situation, that I happen to share, and that you dismiss, is that our gun culture – our gun culture – is what is behind this. Trust me, if those kids didn’t have a gun, that guy would be alive.”
Obenshain countered, “It’s not about gun culture this is about a culture of violence that is promoted among our young people. It is imperative that we have this discussion. This issue will be swept under the rug by people who just want to talk about guns.”
That much seems evident in Seattle, where the debate continues to rage over the “Gun Free Zones” decal project launched by McGinn and Fascitelli at a Capitol Hill establishment. Letters to the Seattle Times ridicule the effort, while The Stranger and Reddit blast gun owners as “nuts.”
The culture war has more than one facet. One is about guns, another is about race; that much seems undeniable.
But in Seattle’s “zone of happy thoughts” – where Powers would likely be welcome – there is this illusion (or delusion) that posting decals that prohibit firearms is somehow going to solve the problem, though this column put that argument in perspective. Yet blaming all of society’s woes on the “gun culture” is an acceptable position that seems completely rational in hipster coffee lounges and upscale bars.