Terry Mattingly, on the odd exclusion of information from a WaPo report on the FRC shooting. The WaPo lede simply said that the alleged shooter, a volunteer at an LGBT organization, burst into the FRC’s lobby “shouting opposition to social conservatism.” Says TMatt:
Still, let me ask the obvious: What does “spouting opposition to social conservatism” mean? Surely this gunman didn’t walk in there shouting, “I am opposed to social conservatism! I am opposed to social conservatism!” Were his words a bit more pointed than that? Will Post editors print them? … Think about this in journalism terms: If a gunman who was a volunteer at a fundamentalist Christian church had walked into the lobby of a major gay-rights organization, with an empty Oreos bag stashed away on his person, would reporters want that info right up top in the report? Would they want to include the actual words that this firebrand was shouting?
I would think so. I certainly would want those details reported accurately and fairly — in the lede or soon after.
Good question. Some news organizations have a reflexive tendency to downplay acts or statements of extremism by favored groups. Not saying this happened here, but I’ve seen it happen often enough to be wary.
(BTW, I’m not going to make a fuller comment on the actual shooting until we have more detailed information. I do think it’s important for we conservatives to keep in mind that just as we hate it when our opponents use violent acts by conservative individuals to tar all of us, we shouldn’t do it to them.)
UPDATE: FBI affidavit (reported by WaPo) says Corkins told guard Leo Johnson, “I don’t like your politics.” Then he shot at Johnson.
So it was a politically-motivated attempt at murder.
The Post story reports lots of praise for Johnson, with officials saying he may have saved the lives of many by keeping this alleged shooter from getting upstairs to the Family Research Council. Joe Carter knew him from his days working at FRC, and writes:
As C.S. Lewis once said, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality.” Today, at the point of highest reality, when a dull desk job called for the vocation of a hero, Leo showed he had the form of every virtue. He was willing to lay down his life to protect those he served.
You never know what an ordinary dull day at an ordinary dull job might turn into.