This might come as no surprise to people here at Redstate, but I think it’s useful to highlight it anyway. E.J. Dionne’s column over at the Washington Post this morning manages to do the almost unimaginable — even for him: first state the law carefully, then offer an opinion masquerading as a definition that fundamentally debases and alters what it means, and then posit the twisted alternative as the truth that people actually believe – as long as it’s a group of people he doesn’t support.
This is one of the most amazing (and uncreative and hacked-up) examples of intellectual malfeasance I’ve seen yet:
I’m talking about “The Right’s Etch-A-Sketch Imperative” in which he first states the relevant text of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and then proceeds to tell people what it “really means” while asserting the NRA and gun owners believe or adhere to his twisted-up, lurid interpretation.
Please read the article in its entirety at the Washington Post’s website, and when you get down to paragraphs 9 and 10 be prepared to witness this astounding feat of projection and transmutation:
…there was a national outcry because under the Florida law, a citizen has a right to use “force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Flash forward (you don’t have to go very far!) to the next paragraph, where he talks about the NRA’s “utopia” based on “feeling threatened” and “no longer counting on law enforcement to preserve the peace.” Neither the NRA nor the Florida law talk about “feeling threatened” or “just shooting.” To my knowledge as a member I’ve never discussed the word “utopia” in connection with concealed carry. And they certainly don’t talk about “no longer counting on law enforcment” either – they talk about using deadly force if it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm “to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” That’s a universe away from Dionne’s assertion that it means: “If you feel threatened, just shoot.” They couldn’t be any farther apart!
Dionne probably knows that the use of lethal force in this case is being scrutinized according to the way the law is written, not what he is imagining it means so that he can project that on others. In fact it would be a travesty of the law and nothing I as a gun owner would support if the law said what he claims it does! Then he has the chutzpah to put one right after the other, without even a few intervening, dissembling paragraphs to play around with the primacy/recency effect. Amazing. He just glues them together and expects people not to notice they’re utterly different, and moreover to buy his interpretation. It isn’t even goodspeak Orwell.
The doublespeak continues, but this is a particularly breathtaking and brazen example. Dionne knows very well that the shooting is being investigated in the context of what the law says. It’s amazing to me that the Washington Post can keep running a column – even from this columnist – that contains such an outrageous distortion of both the law and the facts, wrapped up in a slanderous caricature. [Author’s note: Yes I know that when it’s written it’s libelous, but “slanderous” sounded better at the end of that sentence.]
It’s hard to believe he understands the words he writes, much less publishes them for other people to read in a major national newspaper. Even E.J. Dionne has a certain responsibility as an editor for such a large publication not to further distort and propagandize, particularly when – even at this late date – all the facts have not yet come out and everyone’s tensions are high.