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

Capital punishment — supporting the state when it puts people to death

The death penalty is a very fraught subject.  It’s also an ironic one.  Pro-abortion people, the ones who are comfortable with third trimester abortion, can’t stand the death penalty.  Pro-Life people, the ones who think a zygote deserves as much protection as a fully realized adult, support the death penalty.

Or maybe it’s not so ironic.  The difference is the way in which the two sides value life and responsibility.  Dennis Prager explains:

A wandering post in which I recommend the TV show “Bones” and bring up the death penalty *UPDATED*

I’ve mentioned before that I pretty much sat out the first decade of the 21st century when it came to pop culture, which is how I entirely missed Ricky Martin.  Having young children simply left me uninterested in things other than diapers, soccer carpools, etc.  Now those same children are bringing me back into pop culture.  Not only am I doing a better job of tracking current trends, I’m also learning about past pop culture trends I might have missed.

One of these trends, which is both current and past, is the show Bones.  My daughter discovered it on streaming video last summer while she was trapped in a Greek hospital following an appendix operation.  The show follows the exploits of shiny, pretty forensic anthropologists and FBI people as they solve gruesome crimes.  With rare exceptions, each show begins with the discovery of a gruesome, maggot-infested corpse, and then shows the scientists/anthropologists use incredibly high-tech equipment, plus their encyclopedic minds, to discern the truth about the corpse’s life and death.  It’s a surprisingly enjoyable show, made more so, for me, by the fact that it’s very nice to look at David Boreanz, the lead male actor.  (In my dotage, I seem to have turned into the “cougar” equivalent of a chicken hawk.  “Chicken hawk” as you may recall, is the derogatory term given to armchair warriors who advocate a hawk-like military stance, secure that they’ll never actually have to be in the line of fire.  But I digress, quite wildly . . . .)

Aside from being fairly entertaining on its own terms, I find the show fascinating because of the messages:  The lead FBI agent is a former special forces sniper, and the show doesn’t think less of him for that fact.  He’s also religious, and the show doesn’t think less of him for that fact either.  In “The Man In The Wall,” a dead man’s father convinces the FBI agent (correctly, as it turns out) that the dead man was not involved in drugs and crime because “I taught him to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”  It’s peculiar to see a show that, instead of sneering at this viewpoint, apparently approves of it.

The lead forensic anthropologist, the eponymous “Bones,” is a genius who is totally invested in scientific truth, but is often at a loss to understand ordinary human interactions.  Because of her almost child-like intellectual honest, she speaks the truth in a way many of us would find admirable (and irritating).  Bones doesn’t believe in God, because there is, in her mind, no proof that God exists, but she believes in morality.  In “A Man On Death Row,” she firmly advocates the death penalty, provided one is sure that the killer did indeed kill.  Under those circumstances, Bones says, there are definitely people who deserve to die because (although she doesn’t articulate this as clearly) through their callous disdain for human life, they have forfeited the right to that life themselves.  This episode, incidentally, is worth watching in its entirety, because I’m pretty sure that the episode’s writers and producers also believe in the death penalty.

And speaking of the death penalty, Dennis Prager believes in it too.  I find his proposal a bit silly (sorry, Dennis), but I do think that both he and Bones are on to the core point about why the death penalty, provided that it is hedged about with due process, and rigorous moral and intellectual honesty, is the right thing for a functioning society that, counter-intuitively as far as death penalty opponents are concerned, values human life.

UPDATE:  This post, about the silliness of applying the Occupy movement to prisons, seems apropos.

Two murders, two prosecutors, two proposed outcomes

Earlier this year, San Joaquin County was horribly shaken when 8-year old Sandra Cantu was kidnapped and murdered.  It was even more shaken when it turned out that the murdering rapist was a woman.  The San Joaquin County prosecutor’s office today announced that it would seek the death penalty against Melissa Huckaby, the woman charged with the murder:

San Joaquin County prosecutors will ask for the death penalty for the Sunday school teacher accused of raping and murdering an 8-year-old playmate of her daughter in Tracy, authorities said Thursday.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, was indicted in July on a murder charge and three special circumstances in the death of Sandra Cantu – including that she killed during the commission of a rape – that make her eligible for execution if convicted. Huckaby was also accused of sexually assaulting a child younger than 10.

The decision to seek lethal execution was made by District Attorney James Willett, who consulted with attorneys in his office as well as Sandra’s family, authorities said.

Last year, in San Francisco, a gang member allegedly shot to death a father and his two sons.  The killing was a cold-blooded hit, that was meant to target rival gang members and instead destroyed a family.  Edwin Ramos, the man charged with the killings, goes on trial soon.  The San Francisco County prosector’s office today announced that it would not seek the death penalty against Ramos:

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will not seek the death penalty for an alleged gang member accused of murdering a father and two of his sons, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The announcement in San Francisco Superior Court means that Edwin Ramos will at most serve life in prison without parole if convicted of the June 22, 2008, slayings of Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16.

The decision is in keeping with Harris’ campaign promise never to seek the death penalty. There had been speculation, however, that with Harris running for state attorney general next year, she might shift direction in an especially notorious crime.

Assistant District Attorney Harry Dorfman put an end to that speculation in court Thursday. “We will not seek the death penalty in this case,” he told Judge Charles Haines.

I was in San Francisco yesterday.  It felt like being in a third world country.  The citizens dress in rags (although I think it’s a fashion statement), the streets are filthy and pot-holed, the lights at 30% of the intersections were broken, and the traffic was as chaotic as it is in Algiers or Tijuana.  Will the citizens ever wise up and elect conservative politicians or is it in an irremediable death spiral?

Something for the multi-culti crowd to chew on

The moral equivalence crowd, the one that says all cultures are created equal, except that non-Western cultures are better than others, is going to have to pretzel itself severely to deal with this one:

Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learnt.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.

President Ahmadinejad, questioned by students in New York two months ago about the executions, dodged the issue by suggesting that there were no gays in his country.

***

[Some examples of] Sharia’s victims

2005

— Homosexuals Farbod Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka sentenced to death. Iran said Chooka had kidnapped, knifed and raped a student

— A woman called Soghra was sentenced to stoning for adultery and being an accomplice to her husband’s murder

— Two men executed in public after being found guilty of a homosexual relationship. A newspaper said they were convicted of sodomy, rape and kidnapping

— Zhila Izadi, 13, sentenced to stoning after becoming pregnant with her brother’s child

2006

— Malek Ghorbany sentenced to stoning for adultery

— Leila Qomi sentenced to stoning for adultery and assisting a man who killed her husband. He received 100 lashes

2007

— Jafar Kiana stoned for adultery. His female lover Mokarrameh Ebrahimi sentenced to the same fate

Right now, even faced with this stark admission about Iran’s genocidal approach towards homosexuals, the multi-culti governments in Europe are in denial. Even as England is happy to ban Israelis who note, accurately, that Muslims are out to kill Israelis, and to welcome terrorists with open arms, and even as Holland is sending into hiding yet another person who has offended Islam, both England and Holland are working hard to send a teenager back to Iran, where it is almost certain that he will be hanged, as his gay friend and compatriot was last year:

A gay teenager who faces being hanged if sent back to Iran is a step closer to being forced to return today, after the Netherlands followed Britain in refusing his appeal for asylum.

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to London to study English in 2005 but says he later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.

He claimed asylum in Britain, saying that he feared for his life if he returned. However, his case was refused late last year, so he fled to the Netherlands.

A Dutch court today, however, ordered him to return to Britain, leaving the teenager once again facing deportation.

According to Iranian human rights campaigners, more than 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.

Borg Palm, his lawyer, said today that the Dutch court had ruled he could only claim asylum in the UK – but that it was not “totally sure” he would be forced to return to Britain immediately as a European court could temporarily halt the move.

The British and Dutch stance is not surprising. In the world of cognitive dissonance, if you’ve hung your hat on the multi-culti tree, and proudly proclaimed that “they are just like us, only better,” then the fact that contradictory information comes along showing that they are not just like us but are, in fact, cruel and bestial, must be disregarded — and damn the consequences for the innocent.

Multiculturalism — you’ve got to love it, since it takes false facts and erroneous principles, and out of all those falsities manages to create real death and pain.