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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oklahoman Editorial Board Gets It Right. Finally.

The national spotlight was on Oklahoma because of a now exceptionally controversial AP story that contained the scary term, "militia," so, what was the response of the Oklahoma legislature?  To pass a bill to make it illegal to recruit anyone to join a militia or the KKK.  Somehow, the two get confused by legislators and not only that, with the bill that passed the House 98-1, it is entirely possible that most of the talk show hosts being broadcast in Oklahoma could potentially be charged under this incredibly bizarre knee-jerk reaction.

The Oklahoman Editorial Board and I don't agree on much very often, but this time, they nailed it.  In the editorial piece today (here), they state:

...puzzling is the continued inaccurate portrayals of Timothy McVeigh as a militia member. State Rep. Mike Shelton noted in debate that, "In Oklahoma, we have seen the damage done by militia fanatics.” He added that if groups were "going around terrorizing communities, doing drive-by shootings, using ammonium nitrate to blow up buildings,” they’d be considered unauthorized militias.

But McVeigh wasn’t a militia member. He had acquaintances with militia leanings, but the attack on our federal building was plotted and completed by an anti-government loner, not an anti-government militia. Shelton is the latest in a long line of people who have bent those facts to suit a cause.
This instance alone could be enough for folks like OU Political Science Professor Keith Gaddie to write volumes, yet the average taxpayer in Oklahoma is probably following the Oklahoman's lead in "scratching their heads."  I sure as heck don't understand it.

Too often, media bias on a national level likes to combine terms and thereby created "guilt by association."  For example, in conservative circles, the two terms "liberal" and "Democrat" are used with impunity.  On the other side of the spectrum, the terms "militia" and "KKK" are used as well, with the end result being (at least in Oklahoma) knee-jerk legislation that would end in jail time for stupidity.

Last time I checked, it's not illegal to be an idiot.  As Ted Nugent once said, "stupid people should be allowed to say (or do) stupid things as often as possible so we can continue to identify who the stupid people are."  I don't necessarily disagree with that view because my stupidity is on display every day right here on this website and heard on close to 50 stations daily on my energy report.

Even the "conservative Constitutionalists" are guilty of this kind of knee-jerk garbage legislation and it can be found in things like taking DNA samples at the time of a felony arrest - not conviction, mind you, but an arrest.  Or, the ban on breeds of dogs because their owners are idiots many times.  Or legislation that regulates how dead horses are handled.  Or legislation that would ultimately completely dry up federal funding for roads and bridges in Oklahoma...

But I digress.

The Oklahoman nailed it this time, and you're encouraged to read it here.