Darwin awards: KKK edition

The KKK terrorists who can’t even get their bigotry straight.

Note to KKK madmen planning to build a remote-controlled death ray to kill Muslims: you might consider not walking into a synagogue to seek help.

Those who live by Social Darwinism…

(h/t: Steve Benen).

Author: Andrew Sabl

I'm a political theorist and Visiting Professor (through 2017) in the Program on Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale. My interests include the history of political thought, toleration, democratic theory, political ethics, problems of coordination and convention, the realist movement in political theory, and the thought of David Hume. My first book, Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics (Princeton, 2002) covered many of these topics, with a special focus on the varieties of democratic politics and the disparate qualities of mind and character appropriate to those who practice each of them. My second book Hume's Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England was published in 2012; I am currently finishing a book on toleration, with the working title The Virtues of Hypocrisy, under contract with Harvard University Press. A Los Angeles native, I got my B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. Before coming to Yale I taught at Vanderbilt and at UCLA, where I was an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor; and held visiting positions at Williams, Harvard, and Princeton. I am married to Miriam Laugesen, who teaches health policy and the politics of health care at the Mailman School of public health at Columbia, and we have a twelve-year-old son.

17 thoughts on “Darwin awards: KKK edition”

    1. I wouldn’t say friends so much as people who are apparently operating on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  1. Not really sure how you get fom here to there in the context of a Darwin Award. I think there’s probably more than one or two synagogues in NY where an anti Muslim death ray would br quite well received. I’d bet that Pam Geller belongs to a synagogue in New York.

  2. I’m idly curious about the death ray design. The loonies seem to be technically qualified, but a medical X-ray source would surely spread its beam too much to be effective beyond a few metres? There’s no mention in the news report of X-ray lasers, which are secret Star Wars gear you can’t get the parts for on the Internet.

    Plus you have the problem of identifying your passing Muslim targets. A turban or burka recognition device? I know that it’s Sikhs who wear turbans in the USA, but these are the sort of people who wouldn’t know the difference. Did they plan to mount the death ray in a van camouflaged as a spare ribs takeaway?

    “Crawford worked for General Electric, and Feight was an outside contractor for the company, the complaint said. Efforts to reach GE for comment were not immediately successful.” Some of GE’s HR people are presumably too busy consulting their own lawyers.

      1. Please learn some HTML. Your incredibly long “word” has broken the blog, which now features a column width of hundreds of characters.

        1. I took pity on your browser and incorporated the link. Good starter page on HTML. You don’t need much more for blog comments, the host software won’t allow it.

          1. We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.

    1. Reading between the lines, I think the idea was to target places where Muslims tend to congregate such as mosques, religious schools, picnics and such like.

      It also occurs to me that one, apparently unintended but probably not unwelcome, consequence if this device would be successfully in that way is that the American government would likely assume that an outbreak of radiation poisoning among, say, the members of a mosque was an indication that Islamic terrorists associated with that mosque had obtained material for a dirty bomb or even an nuclear bomb. US government and Fox News would go crazy and the resulting wave of anti Muslim hysteria would probably sweep the Republicans back into control of all four branches of government.

      These guys may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer but if they’d found the money to get this going the consequences could have been truly profound and potentially have reshaped The American political scene in a way that would be very much to the liking of the Tea Party/John Birch Society and the KKK. So, again, not really candidates for a Darwin Award.

    2. Brings a whole new sense to the old “We bring good things to life” slogan.

      If you’re talking about killing people while they sleep, you’ve got hours instead of the second or less that a typical medical x-ray lasts. That plus a few kilowatts of power could do some serious damage. And if you have a large enough source (e.g. the side of a truck) you could get a fairly well collimated beam. Maybe.

    3. Yeah, most sources of x-rays aren’t terribly directional; Medical x-ray machines rely on pinhole ‘lenses’, which simply block all the x-rays not headed in the right direction, and are terribly inefficient. I won’t comment further on the subject, because there ARE frequency ranges in which you could build a fairly efficient “death ray”. Though there are sound reasons it wouldn’t have much military utility. (Bullets are still more efficient.)

  3. To an anti-Semite, the idea that Jews would be on board with killing Muslims seems plausible, no?

    1. At one level, maybe. But there’s also the problem that the specific proposition (funding a death ray that these two guys will use to kill Muslims) denies prospective donors both the emotional distance and legal buffers that I think are necessary for this kind of project. It’s very rare for people to directly fund political murder and terrorism. They really do need a “legitimate” middle-man.

      Typically, the fund raising is done by the “political wing” of a movement or, better still, yet more obliquely through a legitimate charity affiliated with the “political wing” (the classic examples being NORIAD and some of the Islamic charities). These two guys seem to have had a vague understanding of the problem because they spoke of “plausible deniability” (although obviously they didn’t really understand it at all). The Jews they needed to approach were people on the fringes of the either the anti-Muslim movement or the Settler movement who had access to money and the ability to obliquely fund the project while maintaining the emotional fig leaf of just giving to a “cause” as opposed to specifically commissioning murder and the legal fig-leaf of finding something these two guy could do for a Settler related charity to create some level of legal insulation from just hiring two right-wing nutters to murder random Muslims.

      Even then, the fundamental problem that they need to specifically, directly ask complete strangers to hire them to build a death ray (probably illegal) and commit murder. Unless you’re Tony Soprano sounding out a boss from another crime family, that a pretty big ask for a first date.

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