Killing on Camera

Mark Steyn

By Mark Steyn

Published August 31, 2015

 Killing on Camera Alison Parker a few seconds before her murder.

A 24-year old reporter, Alison Parker, and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were murdered on camera this morning during a "live shot" for WDBJ Channel 7 in Roanoke, Virginia. Their killer was a "disgruntled" on-air colleague "Bryce Williams", whose real name was Vester Lee Flanagan. After uploading additional video of him shooting his co-workers to Facebook and Twitter, Flanagan attempted to take his own life but, as I write, is reported to be still alive. The victims are white, their killer is black - and Tweeted after murdering her that "Alison made racist comments". The stoking of phony grievance by race-industry hucksters has real consequences. [UPDATE: In a further complication for the identity-group grievance-mongers, Flanagan is black and gay.]

Other than that pathetic pretext, it is a horrible story for the families of the victims that doesn't seem to have any wider significance - although, even at the press conference, before the killer was identified, reporters were putting questions about gun control to the Governor. But a murderer posting video of the murders to social media is novel, and I wonder where Flanagan got the idea from. Just because he was a TV reporter? Or because the Islamic State and other groups do it and disaffected young men across the western world think it's super-cool, and it would be unreasonable to expect such an innovation to remain confined to the head-hackers? If it's the latter case, it would be a further grim marker on the transformation of murder into vaudeville. These guys seem more serious about the uses of "social" media than the rest of us.

One other curiosity to me: Why is the ATF - the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - one of the investigating agencies?

~I mentioned this New Hampshire poll on Rush's show, so you know the highlights. On the GOP side:

1) Donald Trump 35%;
2) John Kasich 11%;
3) Carly Fiorina 10%;
4) Jeb Bush 7%; Scott Walker 7%

On the Democrat side:

1) Bernie Sanders 42%;
2) Hillary Clinton 35%;
3) Jim Webb 6%;
4) Martin O'Malley 4%

So Hillary can't poll more in what's essentially a two-man race with Sanders than Trump gets in a 17-man field. As for the idea that it's all just "angry men", it doesn't look that way when you get into the weeds of Trump's numbers:

He leads with Tea Party voters (44%), men (39%), independents (36%), conservatives (36%), voters who are most concerned about electability (35%), both younger voters and seniors (at 34% with each), evangelicals (32%), women (30%), and moderates (29%).

On Monday I mentioned the way the experts have been assuring us all summer that Trump has a "celing" - 20%, no 25%, okay 32%... and that once the field had narrowed to Trump vs Mister Establishment Candidate, he'd be done. But right now it's Trump and not Hillary who keeps shattering those glass ceilings:

Trump has a 56/32 favorability rating and he also leads when you match him with the other Republican hopefuls head to head- it's 47/39 over Ben Carson, 53/35 over Scott Walker, 53/34 over Marco Rubio, and 56/33 over Jeb Bush.

The super-sophisticated consultant wisdom has had it that Trump is good for Bush, in that he'll suck all the air out of more viable anti-establishment campaigns - Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, etc - ensuring that their campaigns will die earlier than they would have and primary voters will cluster round Jeb as the most viable non-Trump. But that calculation appears to be off:

Bush is really struggling. Only 38% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of him to 41% with a negative one.

I said some time ago that I did not think Hillary would be the Democrat nominee. I expanded the thought on Rush, observing that Obama is the only guy who's ever successfully taken out the Clinton machine, and it seems pretty clear he's ready to do it again. As I told listeners, she could withdraw in a private deal for any pardons for her, Huma, Cheryl and the gang that might prove necessary by January 2017. But it's also looking more likely that Jeb isn't going to make it either. Even with all that dough, you can't be as lousy on the stump as he is. Unless he ups his game fast, he'll be gone before Iowa.

~I'm generally well-disposed toward Ted Cruz, and I'm often asked why I haven't written about him much. On most of the issues facing America, he's on the right(ish) side. But this interview with Megyn Kelly was not impressive. The senator was asked:

If you have a husband and a wife who are illegal immigrants, and they had two children here who are American citizens - would you deport all of them?

That's a direct question and, despite several attempts by his interviewer, he did not give a direct answer, eventually complaining:

Megyn, I get that that's the question you want to ask. That's also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask.

It's an entirely fair question. I have the advantage on Senator Cruz in that I'm an immigrant - a legal immigrant, that is, and so an asshole from the Department of Assholian Security once threatened to deport my then middle-school daughter, who's also here perfectly legally and in full compliance with the Bureau of Compliance. So, unlike all the sentimentalist sob-sisters of the media, I know that America's dysfunctional and incompetent immigration bureaucracy is not shy about deporting minors, or at least threatening to. Nor are they shy about deporting anchor babies: as I told Sean Hannity, they threatened to deport Deena Gilbey and her two US-born children a week after her husband died in the World Trade Center.

Why? Because, as any third-rate "family court" judge from Maine to Hawaii can tell you, the government long ago assumed the right to decide where minor children get to live. If two parents found to be in the country illegally are deported back to, say, Guatemala, the assumption is that their kids would go with them - at least until they reach the age of majority. Only a week ago, on the self-same Megyn Kelly show on which Ted Cruz was unable to give a straight answer, an American actress called Kelly Rutherford had her American children ordered overseas by a New York judge to live with her German ex-husband in Monaco. American courts do this all the time.

That's my answer. But as I say I've already been threatened by the United States Government with the deportation of my kids so I don't recognize all this teary pap about "Golly, deporting children? That's not who we are." Actually, it's exactly who you are: you split up families every day of the week - husbands, wives, parents, children - with nary a thought. It's only the illegals who are exempt.

I don't suppose Ted Cruz agrees with me on that, so he should come up with another answer. But as a serious candidate he surely can't whine that he's entitled not to have any answer to the question at all.

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Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human rights activist. His latest book is "The Undocumented Mark Steyn: Don't Say You Weren't Warned". (Buy it at a 32% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 50% discount by clicking here. Sales help fund JWR)