Failing The Milo Test (Update)

It makes little sense to me to be proud of living one’s life in a bubble. No one would suggest that it’s wrong of Layla Schlack to choose not to read “Dangerous” when it comes out, but to announce that you’re choosing not to read any books by white males, not because they’re not to your liking, but just because they’re written by white males, is the “hate” you profess to hate.

Milo Yiannopoulos has chosen to make himself the poster boy for outrageous political incorrectness. He was at the University of Washington as part of his “Dangerous Faggot Tour.” As one might anticipate, he was not well-received by all.

Protesters outside of the event, which is part of the openly gay Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” assaulted attendees and threw bricks and other objects at police officers. One victim was a high school senior who said he was assaulted and paint bombed because he was wearing a pro-Trump hat.

Prior to the shooting, Seattle police had recovered hammers, pipes and flares that protesters planned to use outside of the event.

Given the tenor of speech on campus, the fact that Milo was allowed to speak there is a surprising credit to the school. What exactly the protesters planned to do with hammers, pipes and flares isn’t clear, but it doesn’t bespeak tolerance or respect for constitutional rights.

When a shot was fired into the body of another human being, however, it took the intolerance to a new level.

A man suffered life threatening injuries after being shot in the abdomen at a Milo Yiannopoulos event at the University of Washington on Friday.

It is not yet clear whether the victim of the shooting was protesting Yiannopoulos’ speech or if he was a supporter of the anti-political correctness activist. The University of Washington issued an alert stating that the suspected shooter was still at large. He is described as an Asian man around 50 years of age.

Was the shooter for or against Milo? Was the victim there to protest Trump? None of this is known as yet. The natural assumption is that the shooter was part of the anti-Milo/Trump forces, but that’s speculation.

What is not speculation is that the resort to passion as rationalization for action has almost reached its nadir. Somebody shot somebody. They used a deadly weapon out of anger at what another person believed. It doesn’t matter how right you think you are, what paranoid fantasies flow through your head about the anticipated evils of other’s beliefs. You do not try to kill someone else because you disagree with his beliefs.

Defend yourself from physical harm? Fair enough. Defend someone else from physical harm? Very noble of you. But ideas? Words? You are out of your mind. You are the dangerous one.

In 1961, fifty-five years ago, another “dangerous faggot” tried to make a point about this.

For quite a while, I’ve railed against the mindless resort to emotion. Some agreed. Some got it. Many just gushed more irrational emotion. Most, of course, never saw anything I’ve written. But then, I’m just a white male. There are people who won’t read me for that reason alone.

Now, someone has been shot at a Milo talk, of all ridiculous things. The hammers and pipes would have been bad enough, and can certainly inflict terrible physical damage should they be used for that purpose. But shot. Because all your friends on Facebook “like” your passionate gushing? Because your outpouring of feelings wins you followers on twitter?

Because someone with odd hair uses words that make you feel sad? Because someone else with odd hair needs to be defended from protesters who disagree with him?

Stop the violence. Neither words nor feelings justify doing physical harm to another. And neither words nor feelings do physical harm to you. Stop the violence. The ability to hate or love Milo all you want without doing harm to another human being is a test of our humanity. Don’t fail this test.

Update: The shooter is in custody. There is still no information as to the circumstances of the shooting or whether this was a pro- or anti-Milo shooter.

5 thoughts on “Failing The Milo Test (Update)

  1. norahc

    “Stop the violence. Neither words nor feelings justify doing physical harm to another. And neither words nor feelings do physical harm to you. Stop the violence. The ability to hate or love Milo all you want without doing harm to another human being is a test of our humanity. Don’t fail this test.”

    Unfortunately, resorting to violence seems to have been destined to happen. Too much of our society is based on intolerance of opposing view points, and the intolerance and rhetoric has been escalating for decades. Escalation was bound to happen eventually, regrettable and deplorable as it is.

    It’s long past time we stop teaching our children that their feelings matter to anyone other than themselves. When people believe that their feelings are the most important ones in the world we end up where we are now. A society of feelz that is incapable and unwilling to accept opposing viewpoints, and the belief that their cause is the only one worthwhile.

  2. Derick Anderson

    Last night I read the thread discussing this on the more active of the two Seattle subreddits. The shooting was more or less assumed to be anti-Milo, which sort of surprised me. I had thought that the procedure in this situation was to disavow violence and violent actors. But instead I saw a lot of justification for political violence on the basis of (broadly termed) “feelz”. I guess I knew that people who thought that were around, but the old chestnut that nothing is real till it’s close to home holds here.

    1. SHG Post author

      Not to rub salt in the wound, but there is no place on the web where stupid thrives and feeds on itself more than reddit.

  3. R

    The shooter has already been released. Guess it might have been a good self defense shoot, if shooting in a crowd can ever be good.

    “Following investigation of the details surrounding the incident, and in consultation with the prosecuting attorney’s office, the suspects were released pending further investigation. No suspects remain outstanding,” university police said in a statement.

    Seattle Times still has a front page story if anybody cares to look.

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