Did Mohammed fans strike again, or at least attempt to? Two men are dead following an apparent attack on a cartoon art exhibit in Garland, Texas. Many details are still sketchy at this time (10:30 p.m. EST on Sunday).
From USA Today:
Two suspects were killed after they opened fire Sunday in a parking lot outside a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, authorities said.
Garland’s city government issued a statement saying that as a Muhammad Art Exhibit event was coming to a close at the Curtis Culwell Center, “two males drove up to the front of the building in a car” and started shooting at a security officer. “Garland police officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed,” the statement posted online said.
The exhibit was placed on lockdown and attendees later moved to a nearby school. Police suspect the suspects’ vehicle may contain a bomb and called in bomb squad experts. Surrounding businesses were evacuated.
The violent outrage follows a sadly familiar pattern.
A group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative [whose executive director is Pamela Geller, pictured, of the pretty-far-right blog Atlas Shrugs, TF] hosted the Muhammad Cartoon Exhibit and $10,000 cartoon contest.
The cartoon exhibit featured “images of Islam’s prophet, both historic and contemporary, and speeches by leading voices of freedom and internationally renowned free speech advocates,” according to a press release by the group.
The website for the AFDI claims that the group
… has paid $10,000 for extra security — nearly $50 for each of about 200 tickets that have been purchased so far [at the time that post was written]. That cost doesn’t include private security the group is employing. “It does speak to the world at large that we have to have this intense security around this art exhibit,” organizer Pamela Geller said in February. “That’s all it is … an art exhibit and a cartoon contest.”
Geller, a theist, jingoist provocateur who waxes poetic about Judeo-Christian values and Zionism, and who excoriates Islam at every turn, is not well-known for nuance or intellectual heft. I find many of her positions (such as her hysterical opposition to the “Ground Zero Mosque“) creepy and over the top.
That notwithstanding, I have zero problems standing up for her (and anybody’s) right to free speech. No cartoon is worth killing — or being killed — over. But if blood had to flow, I’m glad that it was the attackers’, and that, with the exception of a police officer who was wounded on the scene, everyone else got away unscathed.
(Image via Wikipedia)