The Attorney General ‘Recalibrates,’ but Not Enough

Here is the headline at Politico: “Lynch recalibrates message on hateful speech.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday appeared to recalibrate remarks she made last week that suggested the Justice Department could investigate speech deemed hostile towards Muslims.

“Of course, we prosecute deeds and not words,” she said at a press conference Monday to announce an unrelated civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

Of course it should be that way if American law still holds sway. But that is not what the Attorney General said before. She spoke of punishing speech that “edged toward violence.” Also, in response to seventeen homicides, she said her “greatest fear” was that rhetoric might lead to violence against Muslims. What about the violence that has been already inflicted?

She hasn’t “recalibrated” her message enough.

Lynch’s comments Monday seemed to better capture that balance by focusing on those who might act out, rather than those who may be fomenting trouble.

Or she walked back her comments threatening to prosecute speech because people who care about the First Amendment pointed out how dangerous her rhetoric was.

But then she says this:

“We always have a concern when we see the rhetoric rising against any particular group in America, that it might inspire others to violent action — and that violent action is what we would have to deal with,” Lynch told journalists at Justice Department headquarters. She also urged Americans “not to give into fear” in the wake of the apparent terrorist attack in California. “So, [what] we’re focused on, obviously, is protecting all of the people under the ambit of the Department of Justice.”

But why does a hypothetical possibility cause more concern than the real attack that took the actual lives of people?

Lynch is still resistant to labeling the San Bernadino shooting as a terrorist attack.

In an interview Sunday about the San Bernardino shootings that killed 14 people, Lynch said she was “not sure” which ideology the San Bernardino shooters were driven by. However, hours later in an Oval Office address, President Barack Obama discussed the shootings and the need for the U.S. to “destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant group.

Asked by POLITICO why she was reluctant to publicly say even that the shootings were inspired by ISIL, Lynch stressed the need for investigators to keep an open mind to all possibilities.

“At this point…we’re not prepared to limit any particular ideology to what may have inspired these individuals,” the attorney general said. “There are a number of groups that are on social media, looking to encourage people to commit acts of violence within the homeland, so at this point we simply do not want to rule anything out.”

No wonder people are afraid. The government that is supposed to protect them is more worried about politically correct fantasies.