Yesterday, a somewhat deranged young man went on a killing spree with an AK47 in El Paso, Texas, killing or wounding a great many people.
I received a tweet from some publication or other, keen to point out that, according to his “manifesto”, the fellow was a “progressive”. Having read the document, which the tweet obligingly included, I would say, as generously as I can, that this was “a stretch”. That said, I was naturally intrigued to try to understand what possible motivation or justification this fellow felt the impulse to document for posterity, so to speak.
Having read it, I couldn’t possibly agree with “the take” of the tweet so I didn’t “like” or “retweet” it. Instead, I saved the image of the document and tweeted it myself with, as far as I recall, the following words:
“Here is the manifesto of the shooter in El Paso, Texas. Obviously he has issues but I found it fascinating to read. ”
I instantly received a machine generated notice of 12 hr suspension, making no reference as to why but locking me out of my account.
Twitter is, of course, bending to the political posturing of partial apparatchiks who feel the need, as they always do, to control public morality, as they see it. I’m sure Hitler felt similarly protective of his people’s sensibilities by burning all the books he could find, especially those with unsavoury references or authorship.
In my country, we have Magna Carta, in Twitterland, there’s the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Both these enshrine the unfettered right to freedom of speech. Nowhere, in either, is that freedom claused to exclude “things we don’t like” or “things that might hurt someone’s sensibilities” or “things that some nutter may use as an excuse for his deranged actions”. There’s a reason for that, because with any of those limitations, speech can no longer be defined as “free”. If you start choosing which books to burn, you’re a fascist, plain and simple. Twitter has clearly chosen its political position, largely out of ignorance and idiocy, I’m sure.
When I say that I was fascinated to read the mad manifesto, I don’t say I was enamoured of it, approving or sympathetic, just fascinated. I’m fascinated watching creatures dismember and devour other creatures. I may be repulsed, I may regret the way the world works but I still want to know about it – especially if that creature isn’t shy of turning its attentions on human beings, like me.
Twitter, though, has other ideas. Even though it is they who served it up, who literally laid it at my door, they determined that I must be punished and investigated because I had the brazen audacity to disseminate it one step further – in a completely non-judgmental and non-partisan manner, unlike the tweet in which it was contained when I received it.
This is the proverbial slippery slope where one person’s right to decide what serves the public good gradually becomes the State’s moral mantra to which all must pledge subservience. It is, to paraphrase a hero, “the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves”. It is precisely why it was the very first Amendment to that amazing document. This issue is an ancient one, wars have been waged, untold blood has been spilled to bring you these freedoms. Cherish them dear. Insult them at your peril.
Here’s the document in question: