In the wake of the horrific slaying of 49 people inside an Orlando nightclub over the weekend, I know you’re all probably wondering the same thing I was: What does Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt think?
Only kidding. Nobody was wondering that. But just in case, Laxalt took a break from signing on to lawsuits filed by practicing lawyers from other states to release his thoughts in an Official Statement from the Office of the Attorney General of Nevada, to which was affixed the Great Seal of the Office of Attorney General and everything!
As you might imagine, it’s quite something. Let’s take it from the top, and pardon my italicized interruptions.
“Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt issued the following statement after Orlando’s terrorist attack. As Nevada’s chief law enforcement official and the state’s only constitutional officer who has served in a theater fighting the war on terror he stated:
(For the record, Laxalt was a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General lawyer who deployed to Iraq in 2007 to deal with detainee and terrorism cases.)
“Yesterday, Omar Mateen, an Islamic terrorist, attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He murdered fifty Americans on American soil in the name of the Islamic State. The Islamic State called Mateen ‘a soldier of the Caliphate.’
“Calling this attack a hate crime, a mass shooting or an act of violence fails to properly characterize what yesterday’s shooting was — a terrorist attack perpetrated by radical Islamists. Minimizing the attack neither clarifies our duty as a nation, nor targets the enemies that are responsible. It goes without saying that yesterday’s terrorist attack was a hate crime, a mass shooting and an act of violence, in the same way that September 11th was a hate crime, a series of deliberate airplane crashes and also an act of violence. Nevertheless, September 11th was not about generically preventing hijacked plane crashes and acts of violence. Islamic terrorists threaten the American way of life. Our enemy seeks to kill Americans simply for being Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Our duty is to unite as a nation, properly name the enemy and then destroy that enemy.”
You may be wondering why Laxalt seems so excised about this, given that it happened in another state and (as far as we know now) has no nexus whatsoever to Nevada. Well, here’s why: President Barack Obama, whom the right-wing hates because he refuses to use what they see as the proper verbiage to describe terrorism, apparently didn’t go far enough in his remarks about the attack on Sunday.
That’s why it’s up to folks such as Laxalt to call it correct, lest the American people get the wrong idea, or something. They believe that unless you use the proper name of the enemy — and in case you didn’t figure it out from the above, that name is “radical Islamic terrorism” — then the terrorists win. But this is not the fable of Rumpelstiltskin we’re talking about here. This is a real-world struggle. And when it comes to actually fighting terrorism, the president has done his fair share of it. If you doubt that, ask Osama Bin Laden, or any of the various deputy commanders of ISIS or the Taliban who keep showing up dead in billowing clouds of Hellfire smoke.
Not only that, you should know Laxalt is misleading at best in his statement, because the president DID characterize the nightclub murders as an act of terrorism, as anyone who watched his remarks knows. “Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” the president said. He later added, “The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism. And I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what — if any — inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups.”
One more? Sure, why not: “So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”
Ah, but the president didn’t say the magic words, “radical Islamic terrorism.” All together. In that order. In fact, President Obama has conspicuously refused to use that phrase, apparently fearing that it will be misinterpreted as a declaration of war on all of Islam. And that drives some people, including our attorney general, nuts.
Finally, Laxalt slams the president thusly:
“President Obama and the political left continue to confuse and distort reality, thereby endangering American lives here and abroad. Leaders must unite — not seek to divide — Americans and Nevadans over the second most deadly terrorist attack on American soil in history.”
Hmmm. Let’s see what Obama said in his Sunday remarks to divide America, shall we?
“Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder — a horrific massacre — of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families, who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city.”
“This morning I spoke with my good friend, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and I conveyed the condolences of the entire American people. This could have been any one of our communities. So I told Mayor Dyer that whatever help he and the people of Orlando need — they are going to get it. As a country, we will be there for the people of Orlando today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.”
“So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”
“As we go together, we will draw inspiration from heroic and selfless acts — friends who helped friends, took care of each other and saved lives. In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.”
It sounds to me like it’s Laxalt who’s trying to divide people, and using the mechanisms of his office for a purpose wholly outside his job description. If he wants to hire a political consultant and take potshots at other public officials who are actually doing their jobs, that would be one thing. But if he’s speaking from the bully pulpit of the Office of the Attorney General, he should have enough respect for it to confine himself to official business, no matter how much he disagrees with or dislikes the president.