Lovers of baseball will most certainly know Curt Schilling as the All-Star Major League pitcher who helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004. Meanwhile, the other 90% of America who has moved on to the great sport of Football probably couldn’t pick him out of a lineup and forgot the man even still exists. That was until last week when he became a trending news story for sending out a Tweet that seemed to draw a comparison between Muslims and Nazis. Specifically, he tweeted “Only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” And with that, ESPN pulled him from his on-air coverage of the Little League World Series and suspended him until further notice. Now, you might have gleaned that I care very little about baseball, that is another debate, and I most certainly had no intention of ever glancing at the Little League World Series. But there are two major questions America must answer today about the Schilling tweet and since we know the internet is a place where difficult debates can be handled in a civil manner, sigh, let’s just do this already shall we.
Thought versus Tweet
I am 1000% confident that there are public figures, private citizens, and celebrities whom would be shamed off the face of the planet were they to tweet everything that comes into their head. In fact, just think about yourself. Visualize yourself spending just one day, 24 hours, doing or saying the very first thing that popped into your head. If such a world frightens you, then you might be human.
However, is Curt Schilling in trouble for having such thoughts about Muslims or is he in trouble for sharing them? Are we as a society appalled that people with such thoughts exist or are we appalled we just had to see them with our frail eyes and soft ears? For it is entirely possible that you are sitting beside such a human today at the coffee shop, on the bus ride home, or even your own home. Is it appropriate to punish the thought of public personalities should they actually get tweeted?
Inference versus Statement
Curt Schilling didn’t call Muslims Nazis. He said a similar percentage that were extremists was numerically on par with the number of Nazis in 1940 Germany. He then asked how it turned out. The answer is poorly for the world in 1940. Yet for Islamic radicals in 2015, we honestly don’t know yet? Is that a fair question to ask whether the internal war the Islamic faith has with its extreme element will end as poorly as Germany’s did with their Nazi minority?
Look, I am not calling Muslims Nazis and I am not defending Schilling. I am simply asking as to whether or not it was a fair question. The man thought it, tweeted it, and was punished for it. However, no one stopped to consider the question itself. Much of America is wrestling with what to think of those who take part of a mainstream faith and use it to justify violence. Terrorist attacks worldwide are a weekly if not daily occurrence and Curt Schilling at a minimum seemed to ask how it might turn out and whether history offers a reasonable comparison. Or perhaps he just thinks Muslims really are Nazis. I don’t know, but that is the debate for the civil internet world to have and I turn the rant over to you now.