A pair of would-be jihadists learned a very important lesson over the weekend – in America, we shoot back.
The men, believed to be radicalized roommates from Phoenix, tried to launch an attack on a gathering of freedom-lovers in of all places – the Lone Star State. It would turn out to be a most unfortunate decision.
The cold hard reality is that we don’t know how many more radicalized Muslims might be living among us – waiting to wage jihad.
It turned out those practicing their First Amendment rights were protected by those practicing their Second Amendment rights. Within a matter of moments – the jihadists were quickly dispatched to the Hereafter thanks to a straight-shooting traffic cop.
Authorities have yet to categorize it as a terrorist attack, but one thing is clear. Police thwarted what could have been an unprecedented massacre on American soil.
The intended target was a contest for cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Among the speakers were AFDI president Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker known for his criticism of radical Islam.
Now, you may not agree with Miss Geller’s tactics. Some might accuse her of poking a bear – and that may very well be true.
But Miss Geller does have Constitutional right to poke the bear. She does have a Constitutional right to free speech. And those who disagree with her have a Constitutional right to disagree.
But they do not have a constitutional right to gun down those who might say or write or draw something that disparages the Prophet Muhammad.
And we should be alarmed at the growing number of pundits and talking heads who are blaming Miss Geller for the attempted terrorist attack.
“Free speech aside, why would anyone do something as provocative as hosting a ‘Muhammad drawing contest,’” New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi tweeted.
He went on to call Geller and Wilders and the American Freedom Defense Initiative “enemies of Islam and Muslims.”
Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich rightly called Choudary an “enemy to human kind.” Amen, sister.
The idea that Ms. Geller is somehow responsible for what happened is absurd.
“The gunmen are fighting against freedom of speech,” she told “Fox & Friends.” “The First Amendment protects all speech – not just ideas that we like – but most particularly political speech. Who would decide what is good and what is forbidden? The Islamic State? Muslim Brotherhood groups? This is the key issue of our age.”
Aside from a brief mention in a press gaggle, the White House has been curiously quiet about the attack. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called on the president to publicly condemn “radical Islam.”
“The truth of the matter is that even though President Obama will not admit it – Islam has a problem, and it is called radical Islam,” Jindal said in a statement. “And the proponents of radical Islam hate our First Amendment, they hate freedom of speech and they want to destroy it and us.”
Jindal also called on Muslim leaders to condemn the violence. He said it’s time for them to step up and “declare that perpetrators of such violence are the enemy, they are wrong, and they will not be rewarded in the afterlife.”
The cold hard reality is that we don’t know how many more radicalized Muslims might be living among us – waiting to wage jihad. Wilders sounded the alarm last week in Washington, D.C.
“I’m warning America,” he said. “Don’t think that what’s happening in Europe today, will not happen in America tomorrow – because it will.”
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The cookie kerfuffle involves little Natalee Pearson. Her teacher sent home a note — informing her mother that Oreo cookies were unhealthy.
“Dear Parents, It is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable, and a healthy snack from home, along with milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation.”
No exceptions. Everyone must comply.
‘They don’t provide lunch for my daughter. I provide lunch,” Leeza Pearson told the television station. “It’s between me and the doctor in terms of what’s healthy for her.”
So instead of cookies, they want kids to show up with a lunch pail filled with veggies?
I’m sure nothing takes the edge off an afternoon of learning your ABC’s – like a carrot stick.
One member of the unnamed group told the Valdosta Daily Times they were desecrating the flag as “a symbol of our protest.”
“When a slave understands his situation and understands he doesn’t want to be in slavery, he does not respect or revere anything his slave master has put in front of him, a VSU student told the newspaper.
Manhart was issued a criminal trespass warning and was slapped with a lifetime ban from the public university campus.
“The flag is an iconic symbol for freedom,” Manhart told me in a telephone interview. “If you are going to fight for a cause and use the First Amendment – how are you going to stomp and trample the icon that gives you that right?”
Valdosta State University, which is funded by tax dollars, issued two statements defending the desecration of the American flag.
“We respect the rights of people to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions,” the statement read. “Our primary concern is the safety of our students, faculty and staff and our ability to carry out our responsibilities to all our students on campus. We are monitoring the situation.”
On Saturday, the president of Valdosta State, sent me this statement:
“The American flag represents everything that is best about our country,” Dr. William McKinney said. “As the Supreme Court has held, one of those things is the right to free speech, which includes the right to disrespect even the symbol of our country. While I firmly disagree with the actions of the protesters, I understand their right to protest.”
In other words, Valdosta State University loves flag burners more so than flag wavers.
Manhart, whose husband is a 21-year airman deployed overseas, admitted that she took the flag.
“It was tattered and torn, covered with mud and dirt,” she said. “I told the demonstrators that it needed to be properly disposed of.”
Manhart learned about the flag desecration last week. A family acquaintance told her the demonstrators had been trampling on the flag for three days. So Manhart called the university to complain. She said she was told the matter would be investigated.
On April 17th Manhart learned the demonstrators had once again desecrated the flag – so she drove to the campus and eventually took matters into her own hands. She brought along her 19-year-old daughter who filmed the entire incident.
“I walked up, picked up the flag and walked away,” she said.
The video shows Manhart being surrounded by angry screaming protesters. An unidentified demonstrator grabs the flag – but Manhart refused to let go.
Campus police ordered Manhart to drop the flag. She disobeyed their orders. It took three police officers to subdue the Air Force veteran.
As they were leading Marhart away, someone on the video can be heard asking the police, “You couldn’t stand up for the flag?”
She was detained for several hours and initially the campus police officers threatened to file federal charges. However, she was eventually set free and banished from the public university campus.
Manhart told me she could just not allow those demonstrators to desecrate the nation’s flag.
“I have seen that flag on caskets returning home,” she said. “It was just the thought of those demonstrators standing on someone’s casket. I was so internally frustrated.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Manhart was reprimanded by the military in 2007 after she appeared in Playboy. She posed wearing her uniform and also draped in the American flag. The newspaper reports she was demoted and quit the Air Force the following year. Manhart told me she was honorably discharged.
The intellectual elites at Valdosta State University should be ashamed of their behavior. They should be honoring brave patriots like Michelle Manhart. Instead, they hauled this brave woman away in handcuffs and banished her from their campus.
The way I see it – her only crime was behaving exactly the way we would expect a veteran of the Armed Forces to behave.
They thought the Iowa Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth was about anti-bullying. Instead, about 1,000 teenagers from more than 100 Iowa communities were treated to a profanity-laced performance by a drag queen along with graphic conversations on oral sex and a transgender tutorial on how to make fake testicles.
The April 3rd conference was sponsored by Iowa Safe Schools, a non-profit group that creates “safe and supportive schools” for LGBTQ young people.
Some parents were furious about some of the sexually explicit comments from paid speakers – including a comedian who told the high school students how “pleasurable it is for gay couples to eat each other’s behinds and how to use different flavors of (oils) to make it taste better.”
Bullying is a terrible thing and it is a very real problem in American public schools – for both gay and straight students. Many of the young people who attended the Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth did so because they cared about their classmates. They wanted to learn how to stand in the gap for others.
“We were absolutely flabbergasted,” one father told me. “It was graphic and pornographic. From a parent’s perspective I cannot think of anywhere this should be an acceptable conversation.”
The parent, who agreed to talk with me provided he was not identified, has a teenage daughter who attended the conference. The 18-year-old is a member of her school’s student support group that helps bullied teens.
“She though the conference would give the group better ideas on how to deal with bullying issues,” the parent told me. “But there was hardly anything about that.”
The parent described sessions about where discussions were held on how to clean yourself before anal sex “and the pleasure you can get from eating your partner’s backside.”
Television Station Local 5 News obtained cell phone video filmed by a student at the conference – where an attendee asked, “Is anal painful?”
“For paid speakers to be in front of a group talking about how to avoid choking during oral sex – I cannot fathom where that would be an appropriate conversation,” the father told me.
He said the teachers and other students in his daughter’s group were “extremely uncomfortable” and eventually the entire delegation left.
“The principal did talk to the kids and apologized to them for putting them in an uncomfortable situation,” the father told me. “If he would’ve known (how explicit it was) he would not have encouraged them to go.”
Tim Miller, the principal of West Des Moines Valley High School, sent me an email confirming that students from his school had attended the event.
“Some students and teachers were surprised by some of the content,” the principal wrote. “Not what they thought they were getting into. That would be the extent of my comments.”
“Anyone with common sense would have to be outraged at what’s being taught to our children,” he told me. “If Iowans heard this – Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative – they would be outraged,” said Bob Vander Plaats, the president of The Family Leader.
According to Vander Plaats’ observer – students were also subjected to a profanity-laced performance by Miss Coco Peru, a self-described drag queen.
Here’s The Family Leader’s take on what Miss Peru told the young people: “People suck. They don’t give a f*ck about you. People thrive on smashing our pride to the ground. People that suck, f*ck you.”
The Family Leader then accused Miss Peru of urging students to vandalize cars belonging to anti-gay people.
Again – this is their version of what the drag queen said: “Reach down inside yourself and give them a blessing – then slash their tires.”
“I can’t believe Iowans of any stripe would endorse this keynote speaker,” Vander Plaats told me.
I had a chance to speak with The Family Leader’s observer. She told me students were given advice on medical transitions from male to female and vice versa – along with information on medication to delay puberty.
“They talked about binders – things that compress a girl’s chest to make it appear you don’t have what is there,” the observer told me. “And they talked about how students can make fake testicles by filling pantyhose with rice and sewing them into their panties.”
I reached out to Iowa Safe Schools but they have yet to return my calls. I will update this column should they do so.
Executive Director Nate Monson told Local 5 News that while some questions were graphic in nature they were still real questions.
“We know that kids don’t have a chance to ask questions in schools,” he told the television station. “When their health class rolls around and they’re talking about sex ed – they’re talking about just heterosexual students. For the first time ever in a lot of these LGBT kids’ lives they had a chance to ask questions about themselves.”
Iowa Safe School posted additional information on its Facebook page and website – blasting The Family Leader and accusing them of distorting the conference and misquoting the speakers.
“Bob’s mean-spirited rhetoric is a reminder that many LGBTQ youth face hostile communities, schools and even homes,” read a message posted on the website. “Bob has a large base of support across the state and uses it to bully LGBTQ youth.”
They said The Family Leader has tried to “bully, intimidate and take away a special event for Iowa’s students, parents and educators.”
It should be noted that Iowa Safe Schools does not specify how The Family Leader distorted the conference or which speakers were misquoted.
There’s no doubt that Vander Plaats and The Family Leader will be called anti-gay for exposing the tawdry side of this teenage conference.
“This isn’t about being anti-gay,” Vander Plaats said. “This is about a destructive conference for children.”
Bullying is a terrible thing and it is a very real problem in American public schools – for both gay and straight students.
Many of the young people who attended the Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth did so because they cared about their classmates. They wanted to learn how to stand in the gap for others.
And yet some of these good-hearted kids were made to feel uncomfortable – and quite frankly – fearful. The individuals I spoke with begged me to protect their identities – deeply concerned about potential backlash from activists.
How sad that a group of young people found themselves bullied at an anti-bullying conference.
UPDATE: The Air Force has now reversed its ban on the words “Have a Blessed Day.” Here’s the full statement I just received from Robins AFB:
“We are a professional organization defended by a professional force. Our defenders portray a professional image that represents a base all of Middle Georgia can be proud of. Defenders have been asked to use the standard phrase “Welcome to Team Robins” in their greeting and can add various follow-on greetings as long as they remain courteous and professional.
The Air Force takes any expressed concern over religious freedom very seriously. Upon further review and consultation, the Air Force determined use of the phrase “have a blessed day” as a greeting is consistent with Air Force standards and is not in violation of Air Force Instructions.”
Military personnel at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia will no longer be able to greet people at security gates with the phrase, “have a blessed day,” according to a base spokesman.
“Someone took offense at the statement,” said spokesman Roland Leach. “As a professional courtesy we had it changed to ‘have a great day.’”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation took credit for the ban. The MRFF is a group of perpetually-offended trouble makers who love to target Christians.
They issued a press release claiming 13 of their cohorts were “outraged” at being told to have a blessed day when they entered the base gates.
“On no less than 15 occasions over the last two weeks, I have been greeted by the military personnel at the gate with the phrase ‘have a blessed day,’” one of Weinstein’s overly-sensitive groupies claimed.
According to the MRFF, the airman is “non-religious.” Hence — the gross offense.
“I found the greeting to be a notion that I, as a non-religious member of the military community should believe a high rower has an influence on how my day should go,” he whimpered.
Dr. Phil would have a field day with this fainthearted fellow.
The airman mentioned in his diatribe that he could not record the actual greeting because it would be “endangering my position and family by doing so.”
Once Weinstein called the Air Force base it took three minutes and 10 seconds for the military to ban the phrase. For whatever the reason, the Air Force is terrified of Weinstein and his minions. I’ve lost count of the number of times they’ve done his bidding and marginalized Christianity within the ranks.
There are roughly 22,000 civilian and military personnel on the base. Only 13 complained. It appears the “non-religious” dude is not the only “sensitive” person on the Air Force base.
In the spirit of goodwill, I asked the base spokesman if I could wish him a blessed day.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said what many of us already knew — the men were shot because they were police officers.
They have become the latest casualties in a government-sanctioned war on law enforcement.
As of the writing of this commentary, there has been no official word from President Obama or Race Agitator Al Sharpton. I suspect, though, if the White House does weigh in – they will find some way to turn this around on law enforcement.
At some point – you have to wonder when the police are going to throw up their hands and tell the good people of Ferguson to patrol their own streets.
For months rampaging mobs have terrorized Ferguson. They have pillaged and plundered and burned businesses. They have hurled bottles and rocks at police officers. And they have been egged on by professional race agitators perpetrating the “Hands up, don’t shoot” lie.
The rule of law has been replaced by the rule of mob.
And I can’t help but wonder how many more police officers must be sacrificed to quench the blood lust of these government-sanctioned mobs?
“This heinous assault on two brave law enforcement officers was inexcusable and repugnant. I condemn violence against any public safety officials in the strongest terms, and the Department of Justice will never accept any threats or violence directed at those who serve and protect our communities—from this cowardly action, to the killing of an officer in Philadelphia last week while he was buying a game for his son, to the tragic loss of a Deputy U.S. Marshal in the line of duty in Louisiana earlier this week. Such senseless acts of violence threaten the very reforms that nonviolent protesters in Ferguson and around the country have been working towards for the past several months. We wish these injured officers a full and speedy recovery. We stand ready to offer any possible aid to an investigation into this incident, including the department’s full range of investigative resources. And we will continue to stand unequivocally against all acts of violence against cops whenever and wherever they occur.”