Douglas Murray

‘Victim blaming’ after terrorist attacks is a pernicious new trend

'Victim blaming' after terrorist attacks is a pernicious new trend
Text settings

The term ‘victim blaming’ is most commonly used to describe people who claim that a woman walking out in a short skirt is ‘asking to be raped.’ But even this claim is not quite as gut-wrenching as the claim that some people are ‘asking to be killed’ or once killed are effectively ‘guilty of their own murder.’

This most malicious form of ‘victim blaming’ was rolled out in the American press at the weekend by the interestingly named Linda Stasi. In a column in Saturday’s New York Daily News Ms Stasi wrote about one of the 14 people massacred in an Isis-inspired attack in San Bernardino, California (a terrorist attack so terrible that it has made even President Obama admit that a certain type of terrorism might exist. Anyhow – Ms Stasi’s piece is a quite remarkable exhibit on the moral insanity of our time.

Last week after having apparently pledged allegiance to Isis, a husband and wife called Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook walked into a party at Farook’s own workplace in San Bernardino and began gunning down the guests. The couple – now designated as ‘terrorists’ by officials – were then killed in a shoot-out with police. A subsequent search of their home turned up an arsenal of weaponry. So far so bad. But these are strange and confusing times for some people, and Ms Stasi is perhaps the most confused of all.

Or perhaps not. Because her fascinatingly clear insight is that one of Malik and Farook’s victims was a Jew – one Nicholas Thalasinos – who held some beliefs which differ from those of Ms Stasi. Thus the journalist is outraged that this Jew is now 'inaccurately being eulogised as a kind and loving religious man'. And so on Saturday she promptly moved to pour a bucket of poison over his dead body and try to paint him as the moral equal of his killer.

She starts with a really clever and subtle piece of writing:

‘They were two hate-filled, bigoted municipal employees interacting in one department. Now 13 innocent people are dead in unspeakable carnage.

'One man spent his free time writing frightening, NRA-loving, hate-filled screeds on Facebook about the other’s religion.

‘The other man quietly stewed and brewed his bigotry, collecting the kind of arsenal that the Facebook poster would have envied.

‘What they didn’t realize is that except for their different religions they were in many ways similar men who even had the same job.’

If anyone thinks it’s a bit rich to make this comparison, Stasi then goes on to justify it. For the Jewish victim was no innocent but in fact ‘a hate-filled bigot. Death can’t change that.’ Her reason for acting as executioner’s exculpator is that:

‘Thalasinos was an anti-government, anti-Islam, pro-NRA, rabidly anti-Planned Parenthood kinda guy, who posted that it would be “Freaking Awesome” if hateful Ann Coulter was named head of Homeland Security. He asked, “IS 1. EVERY POLITICIAN IS BOUGHT AND PAID FOR? 2. EVERY POLITICIAN IS A MORON? 3. EVERY POLITICIAN IS RACIST AGAINST JEWS?” He also posted screeds like, “You can stick your Muslim Million Man march up your asses,” and how “Hashem” should blow up Iran.

His Facebook page warns that “Without HEALTHY PREGNANT WOMAN (Democrats) would have NO SOURCE of BABIES to SACRIFICE and SELL!"'

Stasi concludes: ‘We have freedom of speech but even so, a city worker should refrain from such public bigotry’.

Indeed. And Stasi has the freedom to victim-blame the dead Jew for the crime of being murdered. But it makes one wonder. For instance is it now the case that if you are not 100 percent fine with partial-birth abortions and you get murdered then you are now deemed to be no better than your murderer? When the next victims of Isis-inspired terror are murdered can we expect the Stasi-file to come back out, scan what the victims said on social media and help us all work out exactly how sad we should be about the killings?

It could certainly fill the rest of her career. There must be so many people who have made ephemeral comments about what they think of the head of the Department of Homeland Security on Facebook. Many more will have said HEAVILY CAPITALISED THINGS and even really stupid or wrong things. But who knew that it would become a journalistic occupation to scour through all this after a murder to work out how much or little sadness should be expended? Of course the strangest thing is that I can think of plenty of people who had only nice things to say about Islam and Muslims – including many Muslims – who have been killed by fundamentalists anyway. So it doesn’t seem to matter. And then there is the problem of the corner Ms Stasi is getting herself into. For if someone now killed Ms Stasi for her column then would her column be used to explain that she and her killer are equals, neither one better than the other, who’s to call, etc etc? I hope not. But so the decline of decency continues, just as decency would have been needed most.

Written byDouglas Murray

Douglas Murray is Associate Editor of The Spectator. His most recent book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity is out now.

Topics in this articleInternationalislamterrorism