And, in local news, Vancouver, Washington, resident Gary Owen was arrested yesterday on two counts of malicious harassment, a Class C felony. Owen allegedly sent former Oregon State Senator and current Southwest Washington legislative candidate Eileen Qutub two obscene and threatening emails.
My fellow Southwest Washington blogger Lew Waters has published them here.
Three week ago, Owen sent this gem:
I do not know how you got my name and address but I would rather put a bullet in your stupid pathetic republican cunt brain than vote for you. Being a republican and a woman you have no right ever speaking or having an opinion about anything. Please go kill your pathetic cunt ass!
If you ever send me one more piece of mail I will personally return it by shoving it up your cunt with a hot poker!
You republicans do not care one fucking bit about people or the rights of others other than christians, and do not lie to me and try and tell me you do.
Then, a week ago, after apparently receiving another mailing from Qutub, Owen sent a second email in the same vein.
Police arrested Owen yesterday.
According to Clark County Sgt. Duncan Hoss:
This is completely unacceptable and scary based on the detail.
Well, yeah. But, news flash, you can see the same kind of language and level of discourse constantly in the comments sections of many blogs and online news outlets.
Or in what passes for art in our culture. Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Ice-T, Jay-Z . . . and the list goes on and on.
Several years ago, The East Coast Avengers released a track entitled “Kill Bill O’Reilly,” which featured lines like:
Dear Bill, I’d like you to get your mouth off that conservative cock
Long enough to sit and talk it out
Scratch that, let’s backtrack, I’ll stalk your house
Knock you out, gag your mouth, drag you out, thought this out
I wanna hurt you, immerse you in torture
Fuck making fun of you in punch lines
I’d rather kill your family in front of you by lunch time
A one lock execution at sunshine. . . .
I wrote here about Dan Savage, Editorial Director at Seattle’s alternative weekly The Stranger, and a well-known gay-rights activist and speaker. Savage once suggested in an interview that Pennsylvania Green Party Senate candidate Carl Romanelli ”should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.” Last year, in an HBO “Real Time” interview with Bill Maher, comedian Marc Maron volunteered that he had fantasized about raping Michele Bachmann. And Savage responded with his own rape fantasy:
I sometimes think about fucking the shit out of Rick Santorum. Because I think he needs it. So it’s not, it’s not just women we’re talking about fucking. Like, let’s bone that Santorum boy.
Liberals don’t have a lock on the sewage, by the way. I recently saw, in the comments section of a conservative news site, an extended discussion about whether the President and First Lady have sex, and if they do, exactly how they do. (I’m not trying to protect the site, by the way. I just can’t remember which one it was.) The whole conversation was on the level of a fourth-grade playground discussion. But that’s what passes for political and social conversation in many quarters.
Even when the conversation isn’t obscene, it often consists largely of pointless name-calling. I recently had a Facebook conversation with a friend of a friend about New York Mayor Bloomberg’s breastfeeding crusade. Here’s a representative snippet:
Him: hizzoner Bloomturd is a nanny state nut!
Me: The real problem here isn’t that hospitals are ending the practice of showering new moms with free formula samples. The problem is that they’ve been hand-in-glove with the formula manufacturers all these years, even though they know perfectly well that breast is best.
Him: Carolyn, Bloomturd is an over reaching asshole. Salt in restaurants, size of sodas allowed to be sold in NYC, his idiot investigators stirring up shit at gun shows out of state etc. and now having formula locked up with meds.
Notice, there’s a set of facts here that can be adduced to back up an opinion, either pro or con, on Bloomberg’s actions. But my interlocutor is content to just sit back and call the mayor of New York names.
We’re killing our ability to talk to each other in this country.
And here’s the deal: Calling people with whom you disagree names, obscene or otherwise, may feel good. But it doesn’t actually accomplish anything, except to tear this country apart. People who already agree with you may cheer (or they may be appalled). But you’re not convincing anyone else of the rightness of your position. In fact, you’re just confirming your opponents’ suspicion that people who hold your point-of-view aren’t smart enough to carry on a reasoned dialogue.
And you’re creating an environment where people like Gary Owen think it’s okay to send emails like the one above to a candidate for public office.
Think about it next time before you hit Publish or Send.