In an unusual editorial, especially after a week of over-the-top coverage of the Olathe shooting, the Kansas City Star editorial board conceded that “too many of us define hate crimes and terrorism in a way that depends on who committed the crime and who was victimized.”
That is fair enough, but the editorial quickly wanders into the logical wilderness, comparing the cases of Olathe shooter Adam Purinton and Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub. According to the Star some conservatives insist that Purinton did not commit a hate crime but was instead an alcoholic with psychological problems.
The Star counters: “Mateen, too, had a well-documented history of alcohol abuse and instability. But no, in that case, some on the right expressed little doubt that the crime was a terror attack wholly inspired by radical Islam.”
Terror and hate are different things. Conservatives do not resist the “hate” label being applied to Purinton. What they resist are the attempts to link Purinton to some larger movement, even to President Trump. They also resent the fact that only when white men kill people of color is the word “hate” introduced.
In Mateen’s case, he was admittedly inspired by a larger movement that has been killing people worldwide for at least a generation, often in well coordinated attacks. September 11 comes quickly to mind. Whether Mateen was inspired by “hate” is beside the point.
The editorial also takes one last shot at Trump. Its headline reads, “Like Trump, many of us inconsistent on hate crimes.” As proof of Trump’s inconsistency, the editorial cites his questioning of whether the rash of anti-Semitic terror threats might be false flag operations.
Although the Star dismisses this possibility out of hand, Trump is likely right. There have been more fake hate crimes since his election than real ones. The perpetrators know that the media immediately and almost gleefully rush to report “hate crimes,” especially those moved by the “climate of hate” Trump has allegedly inspired. Indeed, he left has been creating fake “hate” narratives since Sacco and Vanzetti.
That said, the Star editorial is a step in the right direction–a baby step, but a step.