Leo Johnson, the hero you never heard of

In response to Get In Their Faces Update: Faces Successfully Gotten Into :

It occurs to me that the Family Research Council shooting, whose one-year anniversary is today, could be fit into this discussion of contempt and worship as well.  The Weekly Standard did something nobody in the mainstream media seems inclined to do, and sat down for an interview with Leo Johnson, the hero you never heard of.  He’s the security guard who rushed crazed left-wing shooter Floyd Lee Corkins and disarmed him, despite taking a bullet in the arm.  The wound involved shattered bone and took multiple surgeries to correct, which was hard on Johnson, because he’s the primary caretaker for his 73-year-old mother and 103-year-old grandmother.

Corkins, who wanted to kill some people in the name of gay marriage and planned to rub Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their lifeless faces, chose his target because the psychopaths at the Southern Poverty Law Center targeted it as an anti-gay hate organization, on par with neo-Nazis.  They do this sort of thing all the time – it’s their stock-in-trade.  Anyone they politically disagree with is lumped in with the Klan.  As Mark Hemingway at the Standard puts it:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was once a laudable civil rights
organization that sued racists and violent extremists. Now it regularly
demonizes anyone who runs afoul of its knee-jerk liberal politics, and
despite this it is still regularly cited by the media as a “nonpartisan”
watchdog. Some of the SPLC’s newly targeted “hate groups,” such as
pickup artists, are merely kooky or distasteful. Others singled out by
the SPLC, including Catholics who go to Latin mass or Christian
organizations similar to the Family Research Council, are well within
the mainstream. Tellingly, the SPLC doesn’t just name the Family
Research Council on its website–it posts the council’s address on a
refused calls to take it down after the Family Research Council

But if you put the SPLC on a map of organizations with a documented link to political violence, you’d probably be accused of a hate crime.  As the Standard points out, the SPLC map is what the media falsely, hysterically, and almost unanimously claimed Sarah Palin’s crosshair-festooned political map was.  The SPLC map really did inspire a violent attack, which would have been a mass murder if Corkins had his way.  Corkins would have gotten his way if Leo Johnson wasn’t so courageous and determined.  But Johnson is not lionized as a hero in the media, and the FRC shooting is absolutely never discussed as political violence, if it even gets discussed at all.

Reverse the political polarities of everyone involved – make the FRC a liberal group and Corkins a deranged right-winger – and there is no doubt that Leo Johnson would be hailed routinely in the press as one of the greatest heroes of the decade.  He’d be fielding offers for his own TV show right now, or perhaps consulting on a movie about his life, Corkins’ miserable existence, and the fateful day their paths crossed.  (In reality, he still works for the FRC and speaks very highly of them.)  He’d probably have enjoyed Presidential honors, having single-handedly halted a shooting spree..  But he gets none of that, because the media will not countenance right-wing heroes, or left-wing demons. 

In much the same way, if the Blacklisted Rodeo Clown had been targeted for personal destruction after mocking a Republican president, he’d be celebrated as a Hero of Dissent and Icon of Free Speech.  He’d be lauded on magazine covers, just like the Dixie Chicks were.  Remember them?  They were supposedly victims of intolerance, their plight igniting a thousand chin-stroking mainstream media meditations on the perilous status of free speech after 9/11… just because people stopped buying their records after they loudly criticized President Bush on foreign soil.  And unlike the Blacklisted Rodeo Clown, they were millionaires before their “martyrdom,” and remained millionaires after it was over.