- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 3, 2005

‘Another era’

“Remembering the ‘60s as a time of heroic activism — when ordinary citizens changed the terms of politics — suggests we might be able to recycle those protest styles today. Younger activists are doing that as they march on Washington, against the Iraq War or in favor of abortion rights. …

“It’s remarkable how much these protesters live in another era. Over and over, they use Martin Luther King Jr.’s words to justify their actions. They especially like the following quote (seen on numerous Web sites) from ‘Letter from a Birmingham City Jail’ (1963): ‘Nonviolent direct action seeks to create … a crisis and establish such creative tension so that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.’ …

“But in plucking the quote, these activists ignore its context. … King was explaining how a minority, African Americans, could struggle to make a moral appeal to a majority. …

“The year 1963 was its own time, distinct from 1968 and certainly 2004. … The protesters at the Republican convention of 2004 might have imagined themselves as working in the tradition of King. But the context had shifted so drastically that their actions fell on … deaf ears. It wasn’t even clear what they hoped to accomplish. And when the goals aren’t clear, protest means little more than expressing rage.”

Kevin Mattson, writing on “Goodbye to All That,” last Monday in the American Prospect Online at www.prospect.org

Quotas for cops

“In the furor that followed a daring and allegedly deadly Atlanta courthouse escape March 11, some pointed to the differences in strength and size of the suspect and the female deputy guarding him as a key factor that allowed the man to get a gun.

“But what has been ignored in the case of Brian Nichols is the role that affirmative action has played in hiring standards for police. …

“The problem is that because of large differences in strength and size between men and women, different standards are applied to ensure that there are more female officers. In the Nichols case, the difference was stark: the suspect was 33 years old and 6 feet tall; the female sheriff’s deputy guarding him was 51 years old and 5-foot-2. …

“While creating a more diverse police force may produce some benefits, we still shouldn’t forget the differences between men and women. Just as women officers are better suited for some jobs, there are other jobs that simply call for large men.”

John R. Lott Jr., writing on “Affirmative Action and Cops,” Thursday at www.lewrockwell.com

‘Who’s next?’

“Why not kill [Terri] Schiavo quickly and efficiently, by depriving her of air to breathe? … Why not give her a lethal injection? The law would not have allowed those methods; but the reason nobody advocated them was that they would have been too obviously murder. So the court-ordered killing was carried out slowly, incrementally, over days and weeks. … The nation accepted it, national polls supported it, and we all moved on to other things.

“Next time it will be easier. It always is. The tolerance of early-term abortion made it possible to tolerate partial-birth abortion, and to give advanced thinkers a hearing when they advocate outright infanticide. Letting the courts decide such life-and-death issues made it possible for us to let them decide others, made it seem somehow wrong for anyone to stand in their way. Now they are helping to snuff out the minimally conscious. Who’s next?”

From an editorial Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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