It has become a new American tradition. A tragedy happens and the race to find someone to blame begins. And since the election of President Donald Trump it has gotten worse.
This past week has been a particularly busy week for those on the left who, as they fight to save the blue trickle that started as a blue wave, want to pin every abhorrent act on the president, his rhetoric and his supporters.
In the past week the United States has experienced three serious attacks that were perpetrated by people with demented political and racial ideologies.
On Wednesday in Kentucky a white supremacist named Gregory Alan Bush walked into a Kroger’s and shot a black man dead. He then walked into the parking lot and shot and killed a black woman. At one point during the attack he said “whites don’t kill whites,” NBC affiliate WAVE 3 reported.
On Sunday an anti-Semite, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered 11 Jewish worshipers during a baby naming ceremony. Prior to the attack he wrote on his Gab.com account “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I’m going in.”
He reportedly told police “All these Jews need to die,” The Washington Examiner wrote.
And for the majority of the week the nation was gripped as another man, a supporter of the president named Cesar Sayoc, terrorized the nation as he mailed bombs to prominent liberals like George Soros, Rep. Maxine Waters, Sen. Cory Booker, John Brennan and others. When he was caught his van was covered in pro-President Trump stickers.
It could have been a perfect storm for Democrats who want to blame the president for these attacks, but the fact that Sunday’s synagogue shooter despised President Trump destroyed that narrative.
The media scrambled to find someone to blame and it did not take long for them to settle on a Boogeyman. The culprit they settled on was a small social media company named Gab.com.
Gab is a site where free speech, which is an endangered species on the Internet, is protected no matter how vile it is. And here is the uncomfortable part. That is the way it is supposed to be.
When the Founding Fathers of the United States decided that free speech needed to be protected it was not popular speech that they were concerned about. No one wants to ban popular speech.
It is the unpopular speech, the words of a man like Alex Jones who some find scary, that need to be protected. Jones was painted as a man calling for people to be attacked. A dangerous man. But anyone who ever heard Jones or read what he wrote was aware that that was a blatant lie. He just said unpopular things.
He questioned the government, he questioned what has been called the deep state and, yes, he questioned the Sandy Hook massacre. I disagreed with him on that, and on other things, but I did not want him silenced.
I don’t want anyone silenced. That is not what America is about. We talk, we debate, we argue, we shout, and we should thank God every day that we are in a nation that allows it rather than a nation like Saudi Arabia where a dissenting journalist could be found on foreign soil and murdered.
Still CNN was not alone in blaming Gab.
The Daily Beast parroted CNN and called Gab “the Alt-Right’s Favorite Social Network.” The author Will Sommer wrote that the company “marketed itself as a home for extremists kicked off of other social-media platforms.”
That is provably incorrect. Gab markets itself as a place where free speech lives. It follows the free speech guidelines of the Constitution. That is not radical. It is what America is based on.
Hours after the shooting Gab was informed that it had been banned from PayPal. As a site that is funded by users this is an attempt to cripple the company. The same formula that was used to de-person Jones.
— Gab.com🍂 (@getongab) October 27, 2018
And the attacks continued from all corners all day.
Of *course* he was on @getongab, who is constantly telling me that the platform doesn’t encourage hate speech, and that hate crimes don’t exist.
Blood. Hands. https://t.co/qS1EIYF6aw
— Will Carless (@willcarless) October 27, 2018
Gab, which someone in 2016 called “Twitter for Racists”, has been a cesspool of shit for some time. I had to close the account I was using to track these assholes last year because it was getting to be too much.
— Amarnath Amarasingam (@AmarAmarasingam) October 27, 2018
Let’s talk about antisemitism online, shall we?
I am a Jew, not secret about it, and I write about the right. I have for awhile. Here’s some posts about me on the Daily Stormer and Gab and the right-wing net. pic.twitter.com/ENP5jT0sQt
— Talia B Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) October 27, 2018
I assumed everyone using Gab was already unstable. Today hasn’t changed my mind.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 28, 2018
CNN’s Jake Tapper was particularly concerned with something the shooter wrote on Gab that read “Jews are the children of Satan.”
4/ The NYDN reports that under his Gab profile picture he had written: “Jews are the children of Satan."https://t.co/l7D2tHipdl
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 27, 2018
But is Tapper or anyone else calling for Twitter to be closed when they have allowed Louis Farrakhan and this tweet to stay on its platform?
Thoroughly and completely unmasking the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan.
— MINISTER FARRAKHAN (@LouisFarrakhan) June 7, 2018
Gab released a statement in the aftermath of the shooting that read “Gab.com’s policy on terrorism and violence have always been very clear: we a have zero tolerance for it. Gab unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence. This has always been our policy. We are saddened and disgusted by the news of violence in Pittsburgh and are keeping the families and friends of all victims in our thoughts and prayers.”
It addressed the media attacks by saying “We refuse to be defined by the media’s narratives about Gab and our community. Gab’s mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people. Social media often brings out the best and the worst of humanity. From live streamed murders on Facebook, to threats of violence by bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc Jr. that went unaddressed by Twitter, and more. Criminals and criminal behavior exist on every social media platform.”
Gab said it has been working extensively with law enforcement in the aftermath of the shooting.
But none of that matters. Gab’s hosting provider informed them on Saturday that they are removing their website likely causing the website to be out of commission for weeks.
“Breaking: @joyent, Gab’s new hosting provider, has just pulled our hosting service. They have given us until 9am on Monday to find a solution. Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this. Working on solutions. We will never give up on defending free speech for all people,” the company wrote on Twitter.
Breaking: @joyent, Gab’s new hosting provider, has just pulled our hosting service. They have given us until 9am on Monday to find a solution. Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this. Working on solutions. We will never give up on defending free speech for all people. pic.twitter.com/YvnBOFoQQn
— Gab.com🍂 (@getongab) October 28, 2018
If that does not scare you it should. This is not a war to save Gab or Alex Jones. It is a war to protect free speech. The concept of “hate speech” is subjective and could be used to ban speech that people disagree with. Anyone calling for the banning of speech simple does not get it.
It started with Jones and has now extended to Gab. Big tech is testing the waters to see how much banning you, the people, will allow. The answer you give them will determine the future of free speech.