Thursday, May 29, 2008

Exploiting Murder

There is no tragedy too severe, no outrage too deep, no crime too gruesome for the right-wing to exploit for their nefarious political purposes. Whether it is self-imposed carnage in Iraq, natural and man-made disaster in New Orleans or epidemics from AIDS to malaria, the bodies of the dead and wounded are merely convenient stepping-stones on the path to one aspect or other of the GOP agenda.

Locally, the right-radio-and-blog trafficking in human suffering usually features stories – real and imagined – from the inner city, a part of the world none of them care about, and understand even less. Every shooting, drug arrest and dropout is held out as evidence of systemic cultural deficiency that can only be cured by right-remedies such as profiteering "choice" "schools"; more arrests, (still) longer incarceration and, even, the death penalty; and, ultimately, the realization by the victims of the legacy of slavery, poverty and racism that they have victimized themselves.

This week, however, local nut-right radio lurched into previously uncharted territory when it latched on to a sad, violent incident in the white community and proceeded to play political games with it. No, I’m not talking about the guy who drove off the bluff in Shorewood, mere blocks from Plaisted Writes headquarters, although some did blab about that, to no real end. Rather, it was the murder of a 65 year-old choral singer from Whitefish Bay in a downtown parking ramp that mainstream radio wing-nuts Charlie Sykes and Jay Weber (at least) used to push – absurdly – legalizing the carrying of concealed weapons, a long-cherished NRA objective in Wisconsin.

The poor woman has not even been put to rest yet, but that didn't stop them from tramping over her memory and, no doubt, increasing the suffering and grief of her family by foolishly claiming that she could have saved herself if only she was allowed to pack heat. Imagine driving around making arrangements and gathering family for the services on Saturday and having to put up with this crap on your radio. African-Americans in town have had to tolerate this nonsense for years, but this could (and should) be considered out of bounds on the North Shore. Perhaps Sykes might catch a little blow-back on his next trip to Sendik’s. We could only hope.

The NRA talking-points read by both Sykes and Weber were identical: Elizabeth Witte might be alive today if she had a gun in her purse to protect herself. The whole premise is absurd. Murderous stalkers like her sick ex-husband don’t announce themselves, wave their knives up in the air and give her time to get the gun out, much less aim and shoot. The gruesome details in the complaint show that she never had a chance, armed or unarmed. To take these horrible facts and try to make political hay out of these circumstances is an outrage. In the pursuit of their right-wing agenda, Sykes and Weber went and pissed on her grave before she even got a chance to get buried in it.

Jay Weber is an annoying, interchangeable hack, but Charlie Sykes yearns for respectability. Although, as the golden boy of the Journal Company, he can get away with anything (such as calling Al Sharpton a pimp and Hillary Clinton a witch), he also savors his TV face-time, most recently offering campaign "analysis" on straight news programs (if you can still call the continuing deterioration of Channel 4 "straight news"). You wonder if it is really worth it for him to drive political points over the dead bodies of obviously beloved tragic victims like Elizabeth Witte.


wfbdoglover said...

Seeing that Charlie went through that with his mother and McGee not to long ago, you would think he would have thought before he opened his trap.

Personally, I can not stand the guy. I dont know about Weber, because I just stopped listening.

Anyone that does not agree with Charlie gets hung up on, and then he makes rude comments after he hangs up - totally classless if you ask me. (if I remember right, Charlie lives in uppity Mequon and should know better).

Seems to me, someone should disconnect these two from the airwaves, as they do most of their callers.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

What's the difference between Sykes using a tragedy to regurgitate his talking points and you using same to regurgitate yours?

Very little.

Oh I forgot you have the magic bag of truth and everyone else only has talking points.

Mike Plaisted said...

Interesting way to avoid the issue, ATV. So you approve of Sykes using the Witte tragedy to drive irrelevant NRA talking points about concealed carry. Duly noted.

As for me, I am not getting my ideas from the NRA or anyone else. My outrage is my own. I lost my magic bag years ago, but not my ability to see what others are doing. I'm sorry it's uncomfortable for you.

I see...if I point out Sykes' disgusting exploitation of a tragic murder to criticize him doing so, then I am exploiting the tragic murder myself. Interesting. This is like saying that pointing out that Bush is trying to prop himself up by standing on a mountian made of the 4,000+ dead soldiers is itself exploiting the Unnecessary Dead the same way he is. I don't think so, but, if that's what you need to validate your support for the Permanently Wrong, be my guest.

Michael Horne said...

WFB is right to mention the recent tragic death of Sykes' mother, and that he should have known better than to make his insensitive comments. I certainly did not call Sykes after her death and say his mother should have carried a fire extinguisher with her into the kitchen, which would be analogous.
I first found the gun reference in a different site discussing the Witte murder and wondered where this person came up with this craziness? I have experienced this in other instances, only to learn later the topic came from a talk radio show.
Very bad form.

illusory tenant said...

The obvious utilitarian solution, that is, the one which would most increase the general amount of happiness, is for Charlie Sykes to move to Idaho.

Anonymous said...

The victim was stalked and had been threatened by her ex-husband several times in the past, this was no random killing, this seemed to be something that could definitely happen.

So let's say, for the sake of argument, that this woman BROKE the law and carried a loaded, concealed gun in her purse. She sees her psycho ex in the parking lot with a knife or acting in a threatening manner. A struggle ensues and she busts a cap in his ass and kills him. I assume then, Mike, that you would FULLY support locking her up for murder/manslaughter and especially for illegally carrying a concealed weapon, right? But seeing how this woman was probably very law-abiding her entire life, I doubt she would do that because it was illegal in this state.

Mike Plaisted said...

Sure, Anony, let's play "what if" games with the poor woman's death. Sorry. Homey don't play that.

Maybe you should think about why you want to just to advance the NRA's political agenda, you sick bastard.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Mike asked,

"Interesting way to avoid the issue, ATV."

Indeed I didn't address the actual issue.

YES, using tragedies to prove political points is disgusting.

Is it or is it not the same if say someone said all the deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina were the result of global climate change and so we need to make changes?

Yes or no?

"So you approve of Sykes using the Witte tragedy to drive irrelevant NRA talking points about concealed carry. Duly noted."

Are you really that dumb? You complain about something bad and I ask it's any different when you or your side of the partisan circle-jerk does it, and you think that signals my approval?

Really Mike?

"As for me, I am not getting my ideas from the NRA or anyone else. My outrage is my own. I lost my magic bag years ago, but not my ability to see what others are doing. I'm sorry it's uncomfortable for you."

I'm sorry but that Dog ain't gonna hunt. Nothing you write on this blog is remotely original. There isn't a single opinion or tactic I can't find on Kos, DU, or amongst a bunch of patchouli oil-soaked losers in Madison.

"I see...if I point out Sykes' disgusting exploitation of a tragic murder to criticize him doing so, then I am exploiting the tragic murder myself. Interesting."

No you dunce. I didn't provide an example, I simply asked if you think it's any different when a partisan of your stripe does the same damn thing.

"This is like saying that pointing out that Bush is trying to prop himself up by standing on a mountian made of the 4,000+ dead soldiers is itself exploiting the Unnecessary Dead the same way he is. I don't think so, but, if that's what you need to validate your support for the Permanently Wrong, be my guest."


A. you didn't understand my argument and B. you cannot see beyond the dichotomous partisan divide to allow that because I disagree with you I may not support everything conservatives or Republicans love.

Speaking of substance, you ever going to offer actual solutions to $4 a gallon gas? Or are you all bitch no fix?

I find it astounding and pathetic you haven't even attempted an answer.

Mike Plaisted said...

1. It all depends if storms like Katrina can actually be linked to global warming. If it can, it's fair comment; if it's not, it's not. If it is related, at least there is a causal link to the tragedy. That is not something that exists in this murder, where concealed-carry would make no difference whatsoever.

2. Sorry, I don't usually read Kos or whatever else you are talking about -- and are the internets so advanced now you can smell the patchuli? I had no idea. ONe thing that doesn't happen on the left is, for instance, like the right-wingers glomming on to this priest who gave a sermon at Obama's church. Everyone has the same link to the video and feigns the same supposed "concern". We have a lot more respect for ourselves than those lock-step clowns.

3. We son't do the same damn thing. See above.

4. As in $4 gas. As much as a drag it is - $45 to fill up my little Scion? -- I'm thinking I might be with Thomas Freidman on this. I'm not sure $4 gas is a problem, especially if all those stupid SUV are sitting unsold. I think the only problem is who the money is going to. We certainly are not going to drill our way out of it -- gas producers have been holding down refiinery production for years to keep the price up. Destroying the pritine sanctity of ANWAR and allowing more off-shore drilling is a drop in the bucket. The "market" is right where the oil men in the Whtie House want it. Mission Accomplished.

Anonymous said...

Sick bastard? And here all along I thought that the Democrat party was the party of caring, understanding, and all things nice? I guess it is...but only when you agree with them.

Fortunately I don't need to stoop to name-calling like you Mr. Plaisted, your response to my question was proof enough that you are incredibly sophomoric and juvenile. I certainly hope the clients you represent get far better treatment.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you are taking the high road Plaisted. I feel better assured that if a deranged person takes a gun and commits murder at a place of business that you will not exploit the incident and promote the talking points of the anti-gun lobby to outlaw firearm ownership by law abiding citizens.

Prosqtor said...

Didn't the "Concert for Peace" or whatever it was exploit handgun violence in Milwaukee for the professional sake of a few bands?

Or did the funds raised at the concert go to something worthwhile?

AnotherTosaVoter said...

1> I'm sorry but I'm not naive enough to believe it's causal and appropriate when you do it but never when the other side does it.

Ala the comment about the Concert for Peace.

It's different when you do it, isn't it Mike.

2 & 3> Again give me a break. Your comment about the white house controlling the price of gas but being happy that stupid SUVs aren't selling is equally as unoriginal as Hannity's or Weber's outrage at Obama's minister.

Do you genuinely disagree that you're any less a partisan hack than the Webers, the Hannitys or the Fraleys of the world? I genuinely hope you're not that deluded.

#4> April 19, in your post titled "Audacity of Pope", you wrote: "It’s hardly that. The pope comes and the pope goes, but $4 a gallon gas and the rest of the disastrous legacy of Junior Bush will continue."

If $4 a gallon gas is part of the rest of a disastrous legacy of George W. Bush, then presumably you view it as a problem.

Or at least you did at the time.

So I guess the next question is why are you changing your story?

Unknown said...

Ooo, ooo! What about the shooting last night at RiverSpash? I wonder if that'll be on the radio show agendas tomorrow, along with some standard racist blubbering.

Incidentally, holy crap is there a lot of unmitigated racism going on in the "rants and raves" section of Craigslist today, regarding RiverSplash being "taken over" by "savages" and "animals". I'm physically ill from it.

Anonymous said...

as inappropriate as this may have been, it's nothing compared to what belling once said. one day after a woman's baby died at summerfest, he called her a "sow" because she breastfed the baby on a bench in the open.

Roland Melnick said...

This post is in true Plaisted-style bloviating. He himself cannot debate the issue, so he resorts to attacking those with whom he disagrees. In Plaistedland, any argument you can't beat is labeled a talking point, which makes it easier to summarily dismiss.

No, we don't know IF Ms. Witte would have chosen to carry a gun IF allowed to do so legally that she could have effectively used it. The argument is not about the "what ifs", the argument here is that she should have that right. Self-defense and right to your own safety should not be a partisan one. The only reason Plaisted pretends to be offended (he is the one who invoked the whole "pissed on the grave" imagery) is because he can't produce a substantive, logical argument against legalizing CCW.

You see, if you view the Witte tragedy and say to yourself: "I don't want that to happen to me, why can't I arm myself?" Plaisted has no answer for you, he's too busy monitoring talk radio concocting his next outrage.

As to the Sykes' mother/Ms. Witte comparison, a key distinction lost in the liberal smokescreen is that McGee Sr. said Sykes' mother deserved her fate, whereas commentors on the Witte murder are speaking from a position of outrage over her fate.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

The guy with the name spelled with funny-looking (Greek?) letters said,

"regarding RiverSplash being "taken over" by "savages" and "animals"."

People who start fights and shoot people at festivals are savages and animals, regardless of their race or gender.

Anonymous said...

Mike you are being thoroughly taken to the cleaners!

Roland Melnick said...

ΕΡΜΕΣ: I have seen offensive comments all over the internet. From Rastafarian blogs to DailyKos to YouTube to to BadgerBlogger and on and on...It's all over the net. This whole arrival of forums, message boards, chatrooms and blogs with their ability to post anonymous messages has taken "free speech" to new lows. No respect. No class. No substance. Never before has the average Joe Jackass had such an open medium to expose the darkest thoughts within them to so many people. It is so much garbage and I don't know why anyone would waste any time to concern themselves with places like a Craigslist forum. I may disagree (usually do) with guys like Mike Plaisted, but at least he puts effort into his posts then puts his name behind it.