The Lileks Zone

Four points about the (literally) flaming lunatic

1. No one seems to be chewing over the possible rationales for his fellow. Seems rather obvious, no? Anger! He was consumed with fury whe the Western media refused to allow the Ft. Hood shooter the dignity of ascribing his motivations to Islam. This insult cannot stand! Of course, the Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab (translated: Holy Hot Britches) may not stand very well either, having singed his yarbles with his failed attempt to light the explosive.

2. As usual, I first heard of the event on Twitter, where people were chuckling over the “fireworks” some idiot had set off upon landing. I mean, I’m happy when we’re on the ground, but I don’t set off Roman candles. When the seriousness of the event became clear, there was only one thing left: minimization from the left. Sure enough: someone who’d spent a solid week hammering the media for suggesting the Ft. Hood shooter was motivated by his religious beliefs scoffed at the overreaction to some fellow “setting his pants on fire. RAISE THE TERRORIST THREAT LEVEL!”

To these people, any reaction is an overreaction – if it comes from the right, that is. The progressive left is permitted to criticize elements of Islam, but only after everyone’s agreed that right-wing Christianity is a real threat to liberty and Roman Polanski. Besides, the right does not criticize fundamentalist Islam for its totalitarian, misogynist, intolerant aspects; the right just doesn’t like anyone who doesn’t like Jesus. So if you’re for tax cuts and deregulation you must hate Hindus, too. Are we clear?

Trust me, if you believe in this, life is so much simpler.

3. When a fellow from Nigeria caused a disruption on the same flight a day later by staying in the lavatory and refusing to come out, a very well-respected twitter-person said we should translate “uncooperative” to mean “uppity.” Makes sense. Whatever was going through the flight attendant’s mind as she attempted to get the fellow out of the bathroom, it was essentially naked racism. This is why stews let you listen to classical music on your iPod as you land but get really angry if you don’t turn off your portable electronic device if they think you’re listening to rap.

4. The President’s response. From CNN:

“Those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know the United States will do more than simply strengthen our defenses,” Obama said.

Obama said the government was doing “everything in our power to keep you and your families safe and secure during this busy holiday season.”

Ah. Well. So keeping someone on the Hinky List from boarding a plane is not without in our power, then. So taking seriously the worried words of the jihadi’s relations are not within our power. A strange force, perhaps composed of dark matter or MUONs or WIMPs or some other theoretical substance, push away the hands of officials when they pick up a phone to summon whoever’s drawn the duty to run a PETN dowser over the suspect’s underwear.

Come to think of it, WIMPs might well be the problem. The acronym stands for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, which us as good a description of the Federal security apparatus as you’ll find.

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December 2009