Why it’s impossible to argue with Progressives *UPDATED*

Father and son shoutingI said yesterday that we have to confront Leftists, because they will never go away.  Today, though, I got a perfect example of why it’s so gosh darn difficult to deal with them.  To understand this point, I need to take you back to the post I wrote about a killer who is about to be released from prison in Texas.

Here’s the brief run down:  In 1996, Bernie Tiede shot and killed 81 year-old wealthy widow Marjorie Nugent.  He hid her body in a freezer and spent the next few months running through her money before he was caught.  He confessed to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

At this point, we need to be clear about a couple of things:  First, Tiede is not facing the death penalty.  Second, no one is arguing that any type of prejudice played a role in Tiede’s conviction.  He was convicted the old-fashioned way:  he confessed to a premeditated murder and got the time for doing the crime.

Since Tiede’s conviction, a few things have changed:  Texas Monthly, a reliably Progressive publication, wrote about Tiede, saying he’d remembered that he’d been sexually molested as a child and that he revealed that he was a closeted gay man in East Texas.  The magazine article led to a 2011 movie starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and other big name stars.  And lastly, the prosecution and defense have agreed that Tiede’s recently-remembered childhood sexual abuse and the stress of being a closeted gay man in Texas were such that he couldn’t be held responsible for his well-organized murder and equally well-organized spending spree.  Tiede is therefore set to walk free.

I think this is a travesty.  It would be one thing if Tiede had been an innocent man railroaded because he was gay.  It’s another thing entirely saying that childhood molestation and being gay are mitigating factors to a life sentence for cold-blooded murder.  Mike Devx neatly parsed what happened:

“Stress made him do it”, is what this comes down to.

Well, the stress of being a soldier in war often leads to PTSD, and that stress must be worse than this stress.  So the way I see it, every soldier who has been or will be diagnosed with PTSD is now free to kill anyone they want to, and take the dead person’s money and live on it.  It’s only fair.

Precisely.

To get to my point about the difficulty of arguing with a Leftist, let me repeat the core matters at issue in the Tiede case:  Tiede is a self-confessed murderer who got a life sentence, but is about to be set free because he has successfully proven himself to be a member of the official victim class of the 21st century, relieving him of any responsibility for his evil acts.

So what does one of my reliably Leftist friends say when I politely (very politely) pointed out on Facebook that a cold-blooded, self-confessed murderer will get released from a life sentence because he was stressed? My friend says this:

I don’t know what to think. The movie made me feel sympathy for him, but I also think he wouldn’t have been released from his life sentence if he was black. Since our system is inherently racist, we must abolish the death penalty.

Did you see anything in Tiede’s story about either race or the death penalty? I didn’t. But in response to my politely expressed surprise about a murderer walking because it’s tough to be gay in Texas, she makes a bizarrely disjointed statement about sympathy for Tiede because of a Hollywood film, which she somehow contrasts to the fact that black people would be treated differently.  And then, having inserted race into the matter, she speeds ahead to announce that the death penalty is inherently unfair to blacks so the institution should be demolished.  I’m dizzy and confused.

Because I pick my battles, I don’t feel inclined to waste my time pointing out to this “well-educated” Progressive that, not only is her statement confused, random, and illogical, but she’s also wrong when it comes to data about blacks and the death penalty.  Because all of you care about facts, though, I’ll share the actual data with you:

2. [From ABC:] “Some states . . . for the same crime [are] three times more likely to sentence an African-American defendant to death. I think that’s very, very troubling. . . . Race is an issue.”

This is simply false. In murder cases, whites are executed much more frequently. Nationally, from 1977, when the death penalty was reinstituted, to 2011, the last year for which the FBI has compiled data, 64.7 percent of those executed were whites, but whites committed only 47 percent of the murders.

Nor do individual states stand out in the way this statement claimed. I went through the totals for each individual state over the seven years from 2005 to 2011, and none have the imbalance the ABC News panel complained about. Missouri was close, with five blacks and two whites executed. Only three other states, including heavily Democratic Maryland, executed more blacks than whites, and in each case only one more black was executed. (To see state-by-state data for a given year in this range, search for “capital punishment [insert year] statistical tables.”)

An honest evaluation has to start with explaining why white murderers are executed at a greater rate than black murderers.

Just like adolescents, Progressives won’t stick to the subject, ignore the facts, and are willing to repeat their unfounded statements ’til the cows come home.  It makes for very difficult arguments, because you have to ignore the red herrings and resolutely and repeatedly bring your errant Leftist back to the main issue.

UPDATE 2: The twitter image below, in my original update is false, says Sturmtrooper. I got pwned. Bad me! I did buy into my own biases, since it so perfectly aligned with the actual Facebook comment that a genuine friend of mine actually made.

The twitter picture is fake. The real moms demand action handle is @momsdemand note the D at the end. The one in the picture is momsdeman without the D.
If you look on the actual momsdemand twitter page they even mention it.

UPDATE: Another example of Progressive “logic” in action:

Rape versus guns

Move over “Twinkie Defense”! The “closeted gay” defense has come to town.

Bernie Tiede and Marjorie NugentIn 1979, the nation was outraged when Dan White, who successfully carried out a premeditated plan to murder San Francisco’s mayor, George Moscone, and first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, was acquitted because his attorneys convinced the jury that White’s excessive consumption of Hostess Twinkies had rendered him effectively (and legally) insane when he pulled the trigger.  Thirty-five years later, Progressives all over America are celebrating the fact that a man who murdered in cold blood an 81-year-old woman, hid her body in the freezer, and, over the course of several months, freely spent her money is being released from life in prison because the Texas legal establishment has concluded that his status as a victim of childhood sexual abuse and his life as a closeted gay man in East Texas excused his crime.

Stop laughing!  I’m not kidding.  This is for real:

Bernie Tiede, the Carthage man who fatally shot a wealthy widow in November 1996 and was later sentenced to life in prison for the crime could be freed on $10,000 bond, after the DA who prosecuted him agreed to free him.

New evidence about sexual abuse he suffered in childhood has come to light, leading to a probable reduction of the life sentence he received in 1999.

In 1996, Tiede shot Marjorie Nugent, 81, and sealed her body in a freezer in her home. Tiede, an assistant funeral director in Carthage, struck up a friendship with Nugent and the two became close companions, living, traveling, and shopping together.

After Nugent’s killing, Tiede continued spending her money and was rather charitable in the community. Police discovered her body nine months later, hidden under frozen food.

According to the Texas Tribune, psychiatrists that examined Tiede learned he had been sexually abused from the age of 12 until he was 18. The suppression of this led him to be able to disassociate himself from reality, including a murder by his own hand. Living as a closeted gay man in a small East Texas town also created issues for Tiede.

The Twinkie defense is so passé.  We call this updated version the “closet gay” defense.

It didn’t hurt that Hollywood got hold of Tiede’s story and turned it into a big-name movie:

The story of Tiede and Nugent’s relationship was made into the 2011 movie Berniebased on a Texas Monthly article and directed by Texas’ own Richard Linklater. Starring Jack Black as Tiede and Shirley MacLaine as Nugent, it also marked the career resurgence of Matthew McConaughey, who played District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson.

I have never been sexually abused, which means that I can only sympathize, not empathize, with Tiede’s youthful suffering.  I would never dream of denying how horrible childhood sexual abuse is nor can I presume to say what it would do to someone’s psyche.  Still, murdering a friend, hiding her body, and spending months living off her money seems less like the act of a person with a deeply traumatized psyche (he “disassociate[d] himself from reality”) and much more like a garden-variety sociopathic act of greed.

When it comes to the trauma of being a closeted gay man in East Texas, I haven’t experienced that either.  I do, however, live day-to-day as a closeted conservative woman in central/southern Marin, which is probably comparable in terms of my need to keep an important part of my life secret for fear of being viewed as dangerous and deviant.  Despite the constant psychic injuries I suffer, though, I haven’t felt any urge yet to shoot a friend to death, stuff his (or her) body in the freezer, and live high on the hog with my victim’s money.  (And there is a lot of money to be had in Marin.  Just sayin’.)

Back in the 1990s, Damian King, a young black man, was acquitted of trying to beat Reginald Denny to death during the Rodney King riots because he was “caught him the rapture” of the moment. I thought then and continue to believe now that this was a shockingly racist verdict. California’s legal system accepted as given that a young black man could not exert any degree of human control over his thought processes and moral functioning. Instead, he was simply a maddened dog, functioning purely on animal instinct.  Raaacist!!!

Things have only gotten worse since then.  Here we are in the second decade of the 21st century and we’re being told that Bernie Tiede, a young gay man, was completely out of control when he shot his friend, hid her body, and, over the course of many months, enjoyed living off of her money.  The mere fact of his having to  hide is sexual orientation, we’re told, left his thought processes and moral functioning so fragile he couldn’t be expected to comport with the order rules of human decency and morality. Be nice to gays, because they’re sub-human and can be deadly if denigrated.  If I were gay, I wouldn’t be celebrating this verdict; I’d be insulted.

Do keep in mind that this is entirely different from a situation in which an East Texas jury convicted an innocent man solely because he was gay.  This is a guilty man being freed because he was gay.  That’s just so wrong.

Nugent’s family is unimpressed by Tiede’s new PC status as victim, rather than criminal:

A spokesman for the Nugent family, Ryan Gravatt, told the Texas Tribune that they believe that Tiede should remain in prison and serve out his life sentence.

“He confessed to her murder and his confession was admitted in his trial,” Gravatt told reporters. “A jury found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison, where he should remain.”

The Nugents have my sincere condolences, must as Moscone’s and Milk’s family and friends did when Dan White got away with murder because he liked junk food.  The real crime is that, back in 1979, everyone knew that the Twinkie defense was a travesty, while in 2014, way too many people think that the “closeted gay” defense is something to be celebrated.